There are places around our world where people are burdened by the most severe aspects of poverty and injustice: where people face not only a lack of food or income, but oppression, religious persecution, discrimination, displacement, violence and exploitation.
At Tearfund, we call these “hard places”.
Yet these are exactly the types of places where we are called to bring hope and be God’s salt and light. We are inspired by the life of Jesus, whose ministry went beyond the people and places seen as comfortable, popular or easy to support partners who demonstrate Jesus’ love in these hard places. This includes speaking on issues of justice that may be unpopular (e.g. climate justice). Despite the complexities of working in these places, we are proud to work with courageous local Christian partners who are present with communities as they work towards hope and transformation in the face of incredible hardship.
We use the Multidimensional Poverty Index - a global tool that measures the deprivations people face in their health, income, education and standard of living, to prioritise work with the poorest.
‘Hard places’ might be countries as a whole, or regions within countries, that are facing chronic instability or crises.
Our ‘hard places’ focus also directs us to work with particular groups of people who are marginalised and vulnerable, such as minorities, people living with disabilities or internally displaced people and refugees.
Currently, we partner with Christians organisations delivering community development projects in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, and West Papua.
As people who follow Jesus, “the light of the world”, we should be people who radiate that light into darkness. Even the smallest light can transform the most powerful darkness. This is a powerful metaphor for the impact of our partners who are working in “hard places”.
Matthew Maury explains Tearfund’s focus on working in “hard places”.