July 2020: Graduates in Action Around the Globe

Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. Click here to download a PDF version.

Written by Marie Lanier, Promotions and Marketing Coordinator

SIFAT has been training community leaders in development for 41 years. As community needs change, our graduates’ ministries often shift their focus. A global pandemic? That is definitely a call for adaptation to meet immediate needs. Around the world, governments are enacting strict lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, which has led to economic hardships and job loss, inflation and food shortage. We reached out to a few of our graduates  for updates, so we can better understand the challenges they face, but also to see the ways they are thriving, despite unexpected circumstances.

Awon (center) leads a Bible study with a group of college students quarantining together in India.


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Happy Easter from SIFAT

Download a PDF copy of this Easter 2020 mailing from SIFAT

Written by Kathy Bryson, SIFAT’s training director

I have met many incredible people who have overcome adversity and are determined to make a difference in the lives of others. I want to share Anner Sagustame’s story with you. Anner is from rural Honduras and has been doing an agricultural internship with us in Costa Rica, helping to set up demonstration models for family gardens and conserving soil and water. He will return soon to graduate at his agriculture college in Honduras. He wants to learn more at SIFAT about appropriate technologies in water purification, solar energy, simple water pumps for irrigation, preventing malnutrition in children and community development.

Anner and his grandmother


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Bolivia: April 2015 Quesimpuco Update

Ivan “Boo Lee” Roman, our Latin American Project Coordinator, will be sharing about SIFAT’s Quesimpuco projects each month. This is his first update, and we are excited to be able to share about the wonderful work our graduates are doing in this isolated community high in the Andes Mountains. SIFAT began working in Quesimpuco in the mid-90s. Many young professionals who lived in the SIFAT-sponsored boarding home and attended our high school moved away for higher education, but are returning to serve their own communities. More than 10,000 people live beyond Quesimpuco in the Chayanta Valley, accessible only by narrow foot trails carved into steep mountainsides. Quesimpuco is in the province of Chayanta in northern Potosi. One of the poorest and most remote areas in the Americas, the average annual income is $97.

Challenges for the Elderly in the Chaupirana Valley

Life in Quesimpuco and other villages in the Chaupirana Valley is not easy for anyone especially the elderly. With no markets or steady influx of goods from far away productive areas, our people there live on the verge of a tragedy should a prolonged rainy season or drought hit the area. Most of the elderly population live by themselves. The distance to their small plots bears a heavy load on their everyday struggle to survive. Facing a shortage of firewood, they walk great distances across rough terrain to collect a few sticks to cook the small yield their farms produce. With such insufficient nourishment, their health is poor and they are more than likely to skip a medical visit the few times doctors are available.

Dr. Mamani with one of our elderly, Brother Lucas.


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Learn & Serve: Fall 2013 Retreats Wrap-Up!

It’s been a busy fall for Learn & Serve at SIFAT!  We have had so many wonderful groups from across the southeast come to our campus in Lineville, AL for L&S programming.  As we slow down for the winter season, we wanted to share a glimpse of this past season with you!

During Fall 2013, we had 1,903 participants experience a variety of Learn & Serve retreat programs.  This is a 37% increase from participation in Fall 2012 Retreats!  Here are a couple of highlights from our fall retreat groups:


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Learn & Serve: Birmingham Youth Support SIFAT Training Graduate in Nigeria!

Pastor Ogbatabo is a pseudonym for one of our SIFAT graduates and trainers in Nigeria. Because of his work in a violent area, we want to protect his identity for his safety. Pastor Ogbatabo submitted a proposal to SIFAT, which was approved as a SIFAT international project. 

SIFAT’s Learn & Serve department pledged to help Pastor Ogbatabo fund his project through educating North American youth on the issue of smoke inhalation around the world and allowing them the chance to partner with SIFAT through financial contributions.  Several L&S staff members and leaders from various participating groups have contributed.  One inspiring story of a group committing to fund Pastor Ogbatabo’s project comes from Canterbury United Methodist Church of Birmingham, Alabama.

When students from Canterbury UMC met Pastor Ogbatabo while at SIFAT during Summer 2013, they decided they wanted to sponsor his project in Nigeria. After telling their friends and parents about Pastor Ogbatabo and his work, they decided to take up an offering once a month at their Sunday night youth program.

Canterbury UMC students keep a tally of the amount raised each month on their prayer (chalkboard) wall in a drawing of the rocket stove.


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