The Eucharistic Convention is supporting the non-denominational Foundation,
Open Home International at this dinner function.
A donation from ticket sales to the Dinner in Support of Suffering Christians Worldwide will be made to the founder of Open Home Foundation International in New Zealand Mr Ewen Laurenson.
Ewen and Gillian Laurenson established Open Home Foundation (OHF) in Wellington New Zealand in 1977 to provide care and protection services for children and young people at risk of neglect and abuse. Services included social work, foster care, kinship care, counselling and parent education. Subsequently OHF launched and grew in 14 centres around New Zealand.
Ewen and Gillian sitting round the kitchen table with their three adopted children in 1991.
In 1991 Open Home Foundation International (OHFI) set in motion when people from Manipur in Northeast India requested OHF New Zealand’s (OHFNZ) assistance with the care of impoverished children.
Early 2000, OHFI and OHFNZ became distinct operations after more countries began asking for assistance. OHFI has its origins in OHFNZ and linked through a common history. Today they are independent charitable trusts with their own boards and governance, working in India, Romania and in a number of African countries.
Eric and Suzanne of OHFI have a story to share with us about 14 year old Rehema….
Compassion: Rehema and Suzanne
Rehema is one of the girls we help in Kwarikwari Centre in Bukedea district. Her Muslims father is a committed drunkard which has led to the failure of this family. We discovered her while a volunteer, Erica Hoffman, from New Zealand was doing assessments. She was also brought before brother Ewen for prayers and help. She is now 14 and for my case when I met her she was still walking and talking very well.
People of God you will have to agree with me that we have done our best to make this girl live up to today. Once we took her to Mulago, our national referral hospital. They found nothing until we were referred to the orthopaedic department. We met a Dr Madeo who diagnosed her and found out that her spine had bent and that one of the veins from the shoulder had gone straight to the neck and if it was tampered with there would be a problem.
That same doctor emailed a volunteer in Japan to make sure she gets on the list for their visit. The doctor’s advice, who is a saved man and says his work is to prolong peoples lives, not to kill. Meaning that if he operated she would die. We had to leave the hospital with not further resolution.
Later we also tried a Catholic home for abnormal kids in Mukono Nkokonjeru. They sent us to Corsu for diagnosis. With the aim of being committed to a home to enable her access to schooling and a change of environ-ment from home. People I need to tell you that the doctor refused and we had no op-tion apart from bringing her back home. I made an arrangement with a nun and we went back and they said they needed some-one who would walk to school and back with her, and if this was not possible she said sorry but they would not be able to help. I swallowed and we returned.
Rehema cannot walk anymore, she can’t stand for long periods, all she can do is sleep and whenever I visit she is inside the house and rarely comes out to watch birds and sun bathe. She has now a deep wound which we are treating but it seems it’s not healing as fast as I wanted. Otherwise she’s fine and eating well. The parents are also fine but the father has not stopped drinking. Hoping Brother Michael will be in Africa soon. He could take photos to show you the state of affairs.
We thank you all the sponsors of this girl and the prayers you send her. May the Almighty bless you abundantly.
Based on its vision, OHFI holds to the following misison that:
- Children everywhere will enjoy their God-given right to belong to a family where they know they are precious, safe and loved.
- Families, especially poor and broken families, will be surrounded by a network of love which will empower them to develop strong and nurturing relationships with their children.
- Wherever possible children will grow with their own immediate or wider family where there is commitment to their nurture, security and wellbeing.
- Children not able to live within their own family networks will be found a committed and loving family with a non-relative family, while still maintaining links with their family of origin.
- Children will receive health care, which ensures their physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, and an education, which enables their potential and giftedness to flower as they grow into adulthood.
- Children will be proud of their cultural inheritance and able to fully participate within it, especially being fluent in their oral and written language.
- Children will grow in the love of God as reflected in the lives and teachings of those who care for them, so they know in the depth of their being they are loved by God and His people.
- Children will be proud of who they are and able to stand tall in their families, in their culture, in their communities, in God.
Thanks to everyone who attends this Fundraising Dinner – you are assisting a great cause.