Across the world, food insecurity is an ongoing struggle that has been exacerbated in recent years by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and large-scale weather events. Between 691 and 783 million people face hunger and food insecurity.
When families don’t have access to food, they are more susceptible to malnutrition and other illnesses that can lead to chronic health issues. Children who experience chronic hunger are less likely to attend school consistently, and adults are less likely to be able to work, which makes access to nutritious food more challenging.
This year’s NCM Christmas Project supports compassionate initiatives that provide food relief in emergency situations and training and mentoring programs to help farmers find success. Whether in Ukraine, Malawi, Burundi, Armenia, Benin, Zambia, the Middle East, Sri Lanka, or beyond—when you give, you will stand with people who are hungry.
Asya, 31, is a mother of three. She and her husband moved to Armenia two years ago and have struggled to find a steady income to support their daily needs, including providing food for her family.
In Armenia, local churches are partnering with Nazarene Compassionate Ministry to help their communities increase food security through vocational training programs and savings groups. This integrated program is focused on working with refugees and women who can learn entrepreneurial skills, business management, interview techniques, and more. When combined, these skillsets create long-term solutions for attendees to foster their economic resilience and increase their access to consistent food.
Asya connected with a local Nazarene church and was invited to participate in focus groups, financial literacy training, and career development training.
“I gained self-confidence, which helped me a lot for my job interview,” she explained. “I gained information that I didn’t have before. Knowing new things about finances, work relations, and other aspects that were discussed during our training helped me have confidence during the interview.”
While the trainings Asya has participated in so far have been helpful, now that she has a steady income, she has developed additional dreams and goals for her family.
“I want to start a business, that is why I am looking forward to the business trainings ... We have had so many difficulties. Now for our children we don’t want them to experience the same,” she said. “So, we want to do everything to save them from the challenges that maybe they will face when they become older.”
Asya is convinced that her involvement in these trainings will not only help create stability for her family now, but will also assist her children as they grow, benefitting all of the generations to come. Indeed, one of the goals of the food security project in Armenia is that the positive effects of education, job training, and access to nutritious food would empower young people as they approach working age. Annie*, age 16, is one such young person already experiencing these benefits.
When Annie and her family were forced to flee Lebanon due to the economic crisis gripping the nation, their future in Armenia seemed uncertain.
After attending the vocational training classes, Annie’s life and the lives of her family changed significantly. She began attending the local Nazarene church and found hope and support. With her certification in social media marketing, she is able to begin a career and help support her family as they restart their lives in a new country.
“Starting this program was like God’s light shining upon my family and me with his love, mercy, and grace,” Annie said. “I was delighted because, finally, I will be able to change our lives.”
When you support the 2023 NCM Christmas Project, you will provide even more opportunities for God’s light to shine in Armenia as people find food security and economic stability through local churches. Learn more here: ncm.org/christmas.
*Children's names are changed for protection.