Everyone in the area knows Maria Trinidad (or Fela, to those who really know her). For years they have come to her home at the top of a hill in Ciales, Puerto Rico, for school uniforms and party dresses, for trouser hems and alterations. Mrs. Trinidad could look out the window above her sewing machine and see the whole neighborhood. For over four decades, she has looked out over the place she calls home as she has created clothes for her neighbors.
In September of 2017, Mrs. Trinidad’s home was destroyed. When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, Mrs. Trinidad took shelter with her sister in the back room of the house--the only part of the structure made of concrete--as the wind and rain howled through the hills. After the storm, the two women found the rest of the house in ruins. Debris was strewn everywhere. Yet, in the middle of the fractured rafters and twisted roofing stood a table and on it, Mrs. Trinidad’s sewing machine.
In partnership with Week of Compassion, the Iglesia Cristiana (Discípulos de Cristo) en Puerto Rico is helping her piece things back together. Though she received financial assistance from federal programs, the funds would not cover the cost of the extensive repairs. Mrs. Trinidad did not know what else to do when a neighbor referred her to the local Disciples congregation. Disciples leaders soon met with Mrs. Trinidad and began coordinating resources and volunteers to rebuild her home so she can get back to the sewing she loves.
Through the Programa Edifiquemos, your gifts to Week of Compassion are strengthening congregations for disaster response, rebuilding homes damaged by the hurricanes, and helping restore communities. Your gifts do more than we can imagine!
Week of Compassion partner, IMA World Health, has announced a merger with the Lutheran World Relief. These organizations are combining operations to dramatically increase their impact on breaking the cycle of poverty and promoting healthier families and communities around the world.
The organizations integrated on January 1 with a single CEO, leadership team and staff, and a shared board of directors. The combined organization mobilizes a joint staff of 550 people in 21 countries around the world.
Week of Compassion was one of the first member organizations of IMA World health, and enthusiastically supports this new relationship. “It made sense,” says Executive Director Vy Nguyen. “They both are strong ministries and merging will make their impact even stronger. As a long-term partner of IMA World Health, we will continue to see our impact grow through this new relationship.”
In addition to its ongoing work serving more than 35 million people around the world, the combined agency is expanding programs to improve water and sanitation and thwart cholera in Haiti; prevent the spread of Ebola along the Ugandan-Congolese border; and provide treatment for pediatric and cervical cancer in Tanzania. Their combined resources and complementary work in public health, rural livelihoods and emergency relief greatly extend their reach around the world.
At Week of Compassion, we know that the landscape of our work is changing due to many factors, including the role of government, private sectors, and faith-based organizations. We are extremely grateful that our partners, such as IMA World Health and Lutheran World Relief, are positioning themselves to continue their work in an even more effective and compassionate way. As a ministry of the church our work has always been ecumenical, and with this new relationship, we will continue to implement our work together.