Sunday, May 28, 2006

15 September: Solis Dinner , Amsterdam

SOLIS Amsterdam is a Zolder50 initiative to help the poor. SOLIS is a non-profit organization focused on ending poverty and creating economic sustainability in developing communities.

I have mixed feelings about presenting SOLIS Amsterdam. On the one hand I’m excited to introduce you to a concrete project to help the poor. On the other hand I’ve been struggling with a sense of being overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the problems we’re talking about. We’re talking about poverty issues, hunger and social injustice.

I wondered how I should present this project. Should I perhaps use Bible verses, to convince you that it is good to feed the hungry? – I am sure many of you already know these verses. Should I perhaps invoke your compassion by speaking out emotionally? – But it’s not about us, it’s about what God has to say to us. This morning I struggled with these questions. I started to have an headache over all this thinking, I realised I could not really communicate what I wanted to communicate, because my mind was not at peace. So I switched on the TV.

There are moments when God seems to speak so clearly to me, and this was one of them. Our brothers and sisters of the Evangelical Broadcasting Company (EO) reported on the situation in Kenya. Persistent drought has caused food shortages. Now 3,5 million people need food aid. A woman working in Kenya for an aid organization told us about how people craved for food, how huge the needs were, not only for food but also for schooling, future prospects. The programme makers also reported on two kids who have lost their father. Elephants killed him, as they were competing for scarce water resources. Parents helplessly watch their children suffer sickness and starve...

I think it is important to understand that helping the poor is more than about giving money. We could for in instance commit time. We can also raise other people’s awareness for these issues, which is what we’ve been doing this month at our Church.

15th of September we plan to organize a fundraising dinner at our church. All profit we make will be for business starting & community projects by the Village Enterprise Fund. Of course, we will have great food, but also performances and a DJ.

We hope to raise funds for the micro-enterprise fund and community grants.

Micro-enterprise funds help to create sustainable small businesses in developing communities in Kenya. The Micro-Enterprise fund will provide small loans to help people to start small businesses for instance metal recyclers, farms, taxi services, retail shops, etc.

Community grants are invested in community development. An example would be helping churches that have to take care of adopted aids orphans.

To organize this dinner we need your help. We need to fill the following tasks:

  • Food and Beverage: choosing recipes, preparing food, serving
  • Entertainment: performances (DJs, bands, …)
  • Decorations: tables, cutlery, etc.
  • PR: making and distributing brochures, making menu cards
  • Prayer
  • Sponsors: buy food and decorations.

In the orange room at the Zolder you will find lists where you can sign up I you want to volunteer the 15th of September. Please sign up if you feel you could contribute something. For more information you can mail or phone me.

Long-term Commitment

Finally there are a couple of things I would like to mention shortly. This year some people in our church will visit Kenya, to see what happens with our projects. We want to build a long-term relationship between our Church and a Kenyan community. We think we will better understand the needs of people as we get to know them better. We also think a long term relationship will raise our awareness for poverty in this world. So, as we are ending our May Awareness month, the raising of awareness still goes on. In June we will organise Rich Man Poor Man dinners at the Home Groups of this Church. The idea is that the dining table represents the world, some people get food in abundance, others will have to do with a spoon of rice. Maybe you’d feel uncomfortable sitting at that table, but then again I think we should not feel comfortable about social injustice in this world.


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