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World of Difference

Across the world, your faithful support is reducing rubbish, creating jobs and tackling poverty.

Photo of Francois collecting trash which he will sell to. Democratic Republic of Congo. Credit: Tom Price/Tearfund
World of Difference stamp - rubbish edition


Around 2 billion people worldwide have no safe rubbish disposal, and people in poverty are suffering the worst impacts. But, thanks to your faithful support, churches are uniting to take local and global action.

The start of Genesis shows what life should be like, with God, humanity and creation in perfect harmony. But, that all changes with the fall. The result is broken relationships, not just between us and God but with each other and the whole of the natural world. Your support is helping to restore these broken relationships by supporting people to live in harmony with creation.

Keep reading to be amazed at how you're making a World of Difference in communities in Bangladesh, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where your regular gifts are supporting local churches to reduce waste and earn income from recycling...

Watch this short video to find out more about how your support is creating clean, healthy communities.

How your support transforms lives

Where are Bangladesh, Brazil and the DRC?

Bangladesh in South Asia is highly vulnerable to climate change. Brazil is the largest country in South America and the world's fifth-largest country by area. The DRC in Central Africa is the second-largest country in that continent.

Plastic pollution in numbers

Bins brightening communities in Bangladesh

In Northern Bangladesh, your regular support is inspiring young people to tackle the long-term problem of plastic pollution...

Mim, 19, from Parbatipur, Bangladesh. Credit: Magnet Jambil/LAMB/Tearfund

Mim, 19, from Parbatipur, Bangladesh.

Illustrative stamp of plastic cup with straw

Mim, 19, from Parbatipur, Bangladesh, has watched plastic pollution creeping up in her community. Plastic bottles and bags litter roads, railways and riverbanks. Cattle graze amid the waste and families inhale toxic smoke from burning plastic. But Mim, alongside other young people, has woken up to the dangers, the disease and the flood risks of plastic pollution. And she’s determined to tackle it.

‘We want to make everyone aware how harmful plastic is,’ says Mim, who is president of a local Youth Green Club. ‘Because the water, soil and air are being polluted.’

These Youth Green Clubs, which have risen up across the district, are part of an ambitious project from Tearfund partner LAMB, working alongside the Government and local authorities.

They’ve set up the first-ever bin collections in Parbatipur. Brightly-coloured containers encourage households to sort their waste into organic, non-organic and plastics. Waste collectors empty and transport the contents by bike to a processing hub. LAMB has also trained hundreds of young people in waste management, with the goal of transforming attitudes to ‘waste’ in every single home in Parbatipur.

The Green Campaign rally across Parbatipur town.
The Green Campaign rally across Parbatipur town.

Top: The Green Campaign rally across Parbatipur town. Bottom: The Green Campaign rally across Parbatipur town.

‘Before, we had no idea how to manage our waste,’ says one of Mim’s fellow group members. ‘We used to dump it in random places. As a result, we suffered from its negative impact. People didn’t know much about this. Even if they did, they didn’t really care.’

Now, they really do care. As well as encouraging people to use the community bins, the young people are teaching their community to compost organic waste, feed their plants and create organic vegetable gardens. 

And on dates every year such as the 5 June, World Environment Day, they set out in cavalcades of tricycles with loudspeakers and banners, or hold rallies urging people to ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’.

‘I have been influenced first,’ says Mim. ‘Now I influence my family and older people, my neighbours, the influential people in the locality, and gradually my friends and students.’

‘‘I want a beautiful and clean environment for future generations’
Mim, a young environmentalist from Bangladesh

Thanks to kind supporters like you, LAMB is starting to provide sewing machines to women from self-help groups, so they can recycle plastics into products such as tissue-packet covers and plastic folders. The young people are also finding ingenious ways to reuse and recycle plastics by creating recycled goods such as wall mats and plant pots.

‘Those who have not changed, we will motivate them,’ says another group member. ‘Earlier, people dumped waste into ponds, rivers, and the water got polluted, but now it is not happening.’ 

The young people are aware of the ongoing UN talks to develop a plastics treaty. They feel strongly that businesses need to be encouraged to produce sustainable alternatives to plastics – and they want to see tighter laws on plastics. (Scroll down to the end to add your voice to demand an end to plastic pollution.)

Mim and her fellow club members talk a lot about the future: the infertility of soil choked with non-biodegradable plastics and the impact on their ability to grow enough food. But, they’re optimistic too that things can change in Parbatipur.

‘I want a beautiful and clean environment and good natural resources for future generations,’ says Mim.

‘This project came to inspire us to do good things. It's a blessing.’

The Youth Green Club.

The Youth Green Club.

Photo of pastor Jose Marcos

Pastor José in his church, Coqueiral Baptist Church, Recife, Brazil.

Rescued from the chaos

José Marcos is a pastor at Coqueiral Baptist Church in a community on the outskirts of Recife and Jaboatão dos Guararapes, two of the largest cities in the northeastern state of Pernambuco in Brazil. On 28 May 2022, the region had the highest rainfall on record and the resulting flood damage was made much worse by the tons of plastic waste dumped in the rivers.

‘The city turned into chaos and Coqueiral, and its surroundings, became the chaos of chaos. The river overflowed much more than usual, reaching 500 metres on both sides. In our region alone, two thousand homes were affected. People lost almost everything they owned.

‘Because we were accustomed to the floods, Coqueiral Baptist Church, in partnership with Tearfund, had already made plans in case of such a disaster. Tearfund had already helped by training 200 people in the community on how to respond and create a preparedness plan in the event of an emergency. So, when it happened, we knew what to do.

‘We got 420 people out of their houses. We had only one death during the floods. We would certainly have had many more if it wasn’t for the actions of the church and community. If it wasn’t for Tearfund's financial and technical help, there would have been more than a dozen deaths.’

‘He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, even the princes of his own people!’
 Psalm 113:7–8 (NLT)
Photo of plastic waste

A man approaches the plastic waste piling up by the river in Recife, Brazil.

This is the kind of life-saving difference that your giving is making possible.

‘For ten days we served an average of a thousand meals a day and provided tons of clothes here to people made homeless. After that, we set up a task force because people became sick both emotionally and physically. We literally set up a hospital... we were able to support 350 people with medical services, in addition to psychological and psychiatric support.’ Thank you for equipping churches to be salt and light in their communities.

Rubbish Campaign logo

Join our campaign to develop the first-ever global treaty on plastic pollution.

Join our Rubbish Campaign

Our world has an urgent rubbish problem. But Christians are uniting to take global action.

During 2023 and 2024, more than 150 governments are meeting to develop the first-ever global treaty on plastic pollution. But it’s not a done deal. Please add your voice to demand an end to plastic pollution and its harmful impact on people living in poverty. Please join us by signing our petition today. Poverty is not God’s plan. You are. 

Through your prayers and your giving, you are empowering our local church partners in communities like these in Brazil and across the world to prevent lives being lost through plastic pollution. Thank you.

Photo of landscape. Credit Tom Price/Tearfund

Revisit previous destinations

While you wait for our next destination, please take a look at other countries where your support is having a fantastic impact for good with World of Difference.

See destinations

©2024 All Rights Reserved. Registered Charity No.265464 (England and Wales) No.SC037624 (Scotland). Tearfund, 100 Church Road, Teddington, TW11 8QE 020 3906 3906 [email protected] Images and copyright: Bangladesh photos: Magnet Jambil/LAMB/Tearfund | Brazil photos: Mocah Films/Tearfund | DRC photos: Alphonse Mata/Tearfund | Top and bottom images: Tom Price/Tearfund

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