|Rock Star Returns From Africa With Report of "AID" That's Actually Working
21 February 2006
Grammy Award winning rocker, REBECCA ST. JAMES read Saturday's New York Times front page feature, Chad's Oil Riches, Meant For Poor, Are Diverted (Feb. 18 edition) with particular emotion. Just back from a mission to Rwanda and Kenya as part of her work as a global spokesperson for child sponsorship organization Compassion International, St. James has seen with her own eyes the effects of "aid" that is actually working in Africa.
In contrast to the diversion of funds in Chad as reported by the New York Times, St. James is quick to point to the work of Compassion she just witnessed. "The Compassion program can be tracked as a reliable process that guarantees the monies are not diverted to corrupt regimes or taken up in overhead. I saw firsthand the funds actually reaching and being utilized in devastated communities and making a difference in the lives of children," she noted from her current concert tour stop in California.
St. James added that through Compassion 82% of all support earmarked for the world's neediest children throughout Africa and other developing parts of the world, actually reaches the children for whom it is intended with more than 650,000 children currently receiving tangible benefits globally. The successful implementation of aid comes through partnerships on the ground with indigenous Christian churches-a network of more than 3,100 of them representing more than 65 denominations.
Her experience in Africa is one she won't soon forget.. "It was one of the most powerful moments in my life to not only see the work of Compassion's people in action but to see how the children are actually being benefited on an everyday basis. In Kenya, we visited a slum area that represented the most intense poverty I've seen anywhere in world. In the middle of this desolation Compassion has built a project-a school filled with wonderful, joyful children that are being given love and hope," she noted.
Equally moving to the Australian born singer was seeing first hand the implementation of Rwanda's ‘No Revenge Policy' a policy seemingly in direct counterpoint to current world headlines.
"Rwanda as the world knows is a country where major genocide took place with neighbor killing neighbor and even family members killing family members just ten years ago. It was a country that was destroyed from the inside with violence that left over 1 million people dead. Now you sense a change has taken place."
"What I learned on my visit was that Rwanda's current President-who is a Christian-has instituted a national policy of 'no revenge.' People are actually not allowed by law to seek revenge. They've adopted a policy of forgiveness that has allowed a huge healing in their country to take place and allowed an open door for an aid organization of integrity like Compassion to make a profound contribution."
Now on a forty day tour throughout the U.S. part of Rebecca St. James' concert each night spotlights her work with Compassion as she hopes to take the message of "aid that works" wider. As screens onstage behind her in her rock concert setting flash stark images from her visit to Africa, she nightly performs her song Beautiful Stranger-dedicated to her one of own Compassion sponsored children, ‘Sam' who lives in Rwanda. "He's 12 now and hopefully he will have a chance to live his dream to go to college and become a doctor or lawyer or whatever he wants to be," she notes. Through her efforts in concert more than 30,000 of the world's neediest children, like Sam, throughout the 24 countries served by Compassion, have found sponsors.
Compassion International, St. James is convinced, has a global mission the world needs to know more about. And with record sales in the millions and her name recognized internationally, she has a voice to get the message out. Following her tour of the U.S. she will go international with music and message, performing a concert series in her native Australia in April, then continuing to Europe for a two week concert tour of the continent.
Resource Rebecca St. james online: www.rsames.com
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