2 Canadian Mennonite January 25, 2010
Editorial for girls in Afghanistan as an alternative
Make it long-term giving to North America’s military efforts to stop
the Taliban, that I was tempted to think
our own Mennonite relief efforts there
were insufficient and ineffective.
Dick Benner That was until I remembered the
conversation over lunch with Allen
N othing quite focuses our collective more sustained effort of relief.
attention like an earthquake that
Sauder, director of the bi-national MEDA
Denominations, sometimes more wor- (Mennonite Economic Development
obliterates one of the most impoverished ried over institutional turf in their relief Associates) operations and the enthusi-
countries in the western hemisphere. work than in meeting human need on asm he showed for the micro-financing
It is now four days after a vicious act of the ground, forgot their differences and they are doing primarily with their
nature levelled much of the small island worked side by side among church relief Women for Women and Through the
of Haiti in about 35 seconds, causing mil- agencies and with Red Cross and other Garden Gate programs in Afghanistan.
lions in damage, killing hundreds non-governmental agencies to find Small loans of $150 (a lot of money in
of thousands and leaving over bodies, bring emergency medical that culture!) are made to women to cap-
1 million without shelter. With supplies and personnel, water and italize their jewelry-making, embroidery
national, international and local food to Haiti. and chicken-raising enterprises—an ef-
media telling the gruesome story Praise God for this unanimous fort made possible by donations by North
non-stop, it seems as if nothing else show of unity when dramatic need Americans and that keeps on giving.
was important but the giving to, stares us in the face! When paid back, the women are encour-
praying for and going, in some cases, to But what about a sustained relief effort? aged to make loans to other women.
offer some relief to these tortured people. As John Longhurst counsels us (page 22): Mennonites don’t need to be smug or
While overwhelmed with this outpour- “Long after the media is gone, the needs self-righteous about all of this. But we
ing of compassion for desperate persons in Haiti will remain; relief groups will do need to rally around and support our
suffering unspeakable pain and grief, I was need your donations in summer, and fall, agencies’ relief efforts because they have