Newsroom & Blog

Apr 23, 2019   |   Blog Post

What happens when communities come together? They give.

Cyclone Idai, Mozambique, evacuees in Beira, 21 March 2019 (Denis Onyodi: IFRC/DRK/Climate Centre)

By Sarah Yu

Associate, Communications

Cyclone Idai hit over a month ago and while the news cycle is winding down, the struggles to rebuild the communities and the stories of those impacted have only just begun. Numbers can hardly express the level of impact that the cyclone has had on the lives of Mozambicans. It is reading first-hand stories – like the story of baby Sara who was born in a mango tree while flood waters rose – that show the impact of the storm.

Communities both near and far come together

Catastrophic events rip communities apart, but they come back together and heroic stories begin to be told. One such story was about Mozambican fisherman Adamo Sulemene who used his boat to rescue neighbors along with others who risked overloading their own boats to save many more lives. But even farther away, the African diaspora – Mozambicans and Zimbabweans – came together as a community to provide “homegrown aid” to help their former neighbors in Beira and other locations.

Now more than 10,000 miles away, in Washington State, I saw an opportunity to connect my community to the affected communities. As a mission committee member at New Life Fellowship (NLF), I wanted to raise awareness of Cyclone Idai and its devastation to my fellow committee members.  Our church has a commitment to bless communities around the world through finances, prayer and serving others.

An outpouring of unexpected support

Following the storm, I shared the magnitude of the damage with my congregation via a news video of a church, like ours, that was still meeting and singing despite the destruction. I invited the congregation to respond in love to the incomprehensible tragedy families across the world were facing at that very moment. People started giving – and then giving more. Church staff decided to match the total amount of contributions that our community gave as a whole. We raised over $16,000 in individual and matching donations as a result of the overwhelming generosity of our community.

Generous donors make an impact

Along with the donation made by NLF, additional generous donors have shown their support. The Remala Family Foundation gifted $6,000 to VillageReach, which was used to replace much needed cold chain equipment that was damaged. It will ensure that current and future health needs are met in the communities around Beira.

I believe wholeheartedly in the power of people – communities – coming together. And while the news cycle is on to the next disaster, I am so grateful to know that my community was part of the humanitarian response that will help the affected communities for years to come.

If you want to be a part of the community response, you can donate to VillageReach to support our supply chain programs and other interventions that strengthen the health system in the areas hit by the cyclone. No amount is too small when your heart is big.


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