When Cyclone Idai hit the coast of south eastern Africa in March, it left a trail of death and destruction. Tearfund’s staff and partners responded immediately, and one partner has now been recognised with an award for its response.
In Zimbabwe, 377 people died and 270,000 were left in urgent need of humanitarian aid. Tearfund partner ZOE (Zimbabwe Orphans Through Extended Hands) was quickly on the scene in Chimanimani, one of the hardest hit districts.
They distributed blankets, clothes and food hampers to over 400 families. Families living in makeshift tents received solar lamps and 100 girls received sanitary kits, containing a six month supply.
Pastor Never Femai oversaw the emergency response for ZOE. During their work he met an 11-year-old boy called Revise. He was the sole survivor after his family was washed away in heavy flooding, and had injuries to his eyes and face.
'Being compassionate does not end in seeing how bad the situation is.'
Through ZOE, Revise received psychosocial support as well as spiritual and emotional guidance through a kids’ clubs. He is now able to talk about the loss of his family.
Courage in a crisis
During August’s National Heroes Day celebrations in Harare, Pastor Never was awarded a medal for bravery for his and ZOE’s response to Cyclone Idai.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa presented the award, saying: ‘Pastor Never Femayi is awarded the silver medal of bravery as a result of his actions. His role and that of the church has moved us to give him the Humanitarian Award of Bravery.’
On receiving the award, Pastor Never said, ‘Being compassionate does not end in seeing how bad the situation is. It calls for you to take practical action with the few resources you have, even if it means sacrificing your life for others, to prove how Jesus would respond in the situation of Cyclone Idai.
‘I am continually inspired by the words of Matthew 25:35-36 that are shared in our ZOE meetings. These words motivate me to know that when I'm doing what I do, I'm following Jesus’ way in expressing His love to humanity with all my heart.’
Praise God for people like Pastor Never who have shown great bravery and compassion in responding to the cyclone.
• Lift up in prayer the people of Zimbabwe, as well as Malawi and Mozambique – also affected by Cyclone Idai. Pray that the pain and loss faced by many will be healed in Jesus’ name.
• Pray that Pastor Never’s example will inspire a new generation of courageous and compassionate humanitarian workers.
• Thank God for the fantastic response to Tearfund and the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal for Cyclone Idai. Together we have raised more than £41 million so far.