Elsewhere in the world…
Elsewhere in the world…
Singapore—On Aug. 1, Captains Ian and Isobel Robinson, Western officers currently serving as program secretary for the Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar Territory (Ian) and director for Peacehaven Nursing Home (Isobel) will take new appointments as the regional officers in Myanmar. They will be heavily involved in relief efforts, helping the victims of early May’s Cyclone Nargis.
Portugal—Chief of the Staff Commissioner Robin Dunster recently led the Portugal Congress—“Mission in Action.” In addition to speaking at the meetings, Dunster visited Lisbon’s homeless shelter, which hosts 75 people every night and is run by the Army in partnership with Portugal’s social services and the City of Lisbon.
One highlight was the commissioning of the re-formed Portugal Command Band. Dunster presented a certificate and specially designed epaulettes to each member; many of the band’s young musicians are under age 25.
During an interview on Portugal’s national television, Dunster defined The Salvation Army in Portugal as, “a small Army with a big heart.” She went on to describe the mission of the Army and its commitment to proclaiming the gospel and alleviating human suffering.
Congo—Chief of the Staff Commissioner Robin Dunster recently announced that General Shaw Clifton has accepted the proposal that the name of the Congo (Kinshasa) Territory be changed, effective June 4, 2008, to the Democratic Republic of Congo Territory. The Congo (Brazzaville) will retain its current name.
The name change acknowledged local feeling in the territory that to identify the name of one particular city—Kinshasa, albeit the capital—does not represent the entire territory.
India—In eastern India, The Salvation Army has set up feeding programs in the state of Mizoram, where many people are suffering due to a little-reported disaster. A phenomenon called the “Mautam” occurs in this area every 48 to 52 years. During every cycle, a specific strain of bamboo produces fruit, which becomes food for rats. The resulting massive population of rats attacks the crops that would normally supply the food for the area. When this happens, it is said that a farmer will go to bed having fields full of ripe crops, only to rise in the morning with his crops completely vanished.
When this occurs in this rural area, the local economy becomes unsustainable; little food is available. In the past, the hardship has caused rioting.
The Salvation Army has launched a “Fair Deal centers” scheme, where local communities can purchase food and grain at a much-subsidized cost—typically half price. Any income generated will go directly back into the fund to purchase the next month’s supply. The plan is for a six-month program, costing US$312,000 and funded by the Sweden and Latvia Territory.
Major Mike Caffull (field operations officer, IHQ), said: “This is an excellent and innovative scheme. It is typical of the way The Salvation Army tries to tailor its relief programs to each individual situation and, where possible, set up proactive projects that will enable people to survive emergences with their dignity intact.”