United Methodist Committee on Relief
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is the not-for-profit global humanitarian aid organization of the United Methodist Church. UMCOR is working in more than 80 countries worldwide, including the United States. Our mission, grounded in the teachings of Jesus, is to alleviate human suffering—whether caused by war, conflict or natural disaster, with open hearts and minds to all people.
University UMC is proud to partner with UMCOR by encouraging donations in response to natural disasters.
U City Micro-Credit Club: Making a Difference One Small Loan at a Time
The U-City Micro-Credit Club is led by UUMC members Tom Mitchell and Rich Wymore, utilizing the Kiva system. The club is open to everyone, regardless of religious affiliation or views.
The U-City Micro-credit Club held its first meeting on September 15, 2009, and since that time has loaned to entrepreneurs in over 60 countries using the Kiva system of microcredit loans. Kiva partners with existing non-government organizations around the world who have expertise in micro-finance and a mission to alleviate poverty. These Field Partners know their local area and clients and do all the work required to get Kiva loans to the Kiva web site. The Field Partners disburse the loans as soon as they are granted. The Field Partner collects information about the entrepreneur, pictures, and details about the loan, and uploads them to Kiva. Kiva then posts them to Kiva.org along with information about the Field Partner. U-City Micro-credit Club meets periodically to review the loans available on Kiva.org and select the ones we would like to help fund. We typically loan $100 but may loan less depending on funds available and the risk we see in the loans. Kiva then aggregates the payments from the various participants and provides them to the Field Partner. The Field Partner collects repayments from the entrepreneurs, as well as any interest due, and notifies Kiva if the payment is not made as scheduled. Interest rates are set by the Field Partner. As repayments are made to Kiva, the principal is returned to us, allowing us to re-loan those funds to additional entrepreneurs.
Ghana Mission Project
Patience Naa Kai Kanyi, UUMC member and University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) student, is partnering with Dr. Kim Song and Dr. Angela Coker, UMSL professors, and students to organize a drive/project for children and their parents in deprived villages in Ghana. Villages include:Oshiyie, Kokrobite, Ahintia,Osimpo, Jei Krodua, Obrachire, Obom, in the central and eastern regions and Achimota, a suburb of Accra.
In 2012, the Mission and Social Justice Team invited UUMC members to participate in this project by donating backpacks filled with spiral notebooks, ballpoint pens, and simple addition and subtraction flash cards.
These donations were provided to the villages in Ghana. See the results in these photos!
Rukwa Partnership for Health
In late 2012, our church took on the goal to raise $10,000 to purchase a boat for the Rukwa region in Tanzania. This boat will provide critical access to emergency medical services, especially for women who give birth in that region.
We are thrilled to announce that by the summer of 2013, we have exceeded our goal, raising a total of $11,224.30 to purchase the boat!
The Rukwa region of Tanzania is one of the poorest and most isolated regions in this country located on Africa’s east coast. In a country plagued with health problems and a desperately low government budget for health care services, many women fear developing serious problems during pregnancy. In talking with women, it’s clear that it’s not being pregnant or giving birth that is frightening but the prospect of not having access to care if the need should arise. The Rukwa region only has paved roads in town and many villages in the region are located on the shores of Lake Rukwa and Lake Tanganyika. The fastest way to reach a health center is by boat. But many communities lack access to this life-saving resource and the local health care administration has been forced to prioritize other health care needs in the budget. Thanks to the efforts of UUMC members, inhabitants of the Rukwa region will benefit from access to medical services for years to come!
To see photos of the boat in action, check out this article about the boat and its use. The page is in Swahili, but if you access it through Google Chrome, a toolbar at the top of your web browser will let you opt to read the page in English.