Having introduced us to the ministry of the Boaz Trust and how it seeks to assist those who are disempowered, the Boaz team now discuss the matter of funding and share about some of the fruit of the ministry.
Boaz has three main areas that require regular funding:
- The maintenance and running costs of the housing programme
- Day-to-day clients’ expenses
Our funding comes from a variety of sources. We are grateful that a number of Charitable Trusts have chosen to support our work including Cross Pollinate Foundation. We have benefitted from two large donations from them in the past which have enabled us to expand the project.
We have run campaigns for regular givers to fund our food parcels, and were able to develop this by encouraging supporters to become ‘Friends of Boaz’ and to give a gift each month. This has created some sustainable unrestricted income for our work.
Other fundraising ventures included participating in the 2010 Greater Manchester 10km run. One of our Ethiopian clients easily outstripped staff and volunteers!
We are also grateful for the many generous gifts in kind that we receive, including food and toiletries. Local churches have given donations of bedding, clothes, sewing machines and material, garden equipment and furniture.
We look to God to guide us in setting a realistic budget each year.
Fruit of the Ministry
The fruit of Boaz can be seen in the changing lives of the clients. As so many individuals present with such a variety of problems, this is a very holistic enterprise. Nearly 500 clients have been housed, hosted, or accommodated in the night shelters since we began. This number is particularly remarkable considering that some long-term residents have been with us for four or five years.
Many have received regular support of food, bus fares and ESOL classes (English for Speakers of Other Languages), as well as advocacy support. It has been wonderful to see an increasing number of our residents given leave to remain in the UK, and we hope and pray that we will see many more given this opportunity in the future.
There are also encouraging signs of spiritual fruit. Some clients have come to faith and been baptised, a steadily increasing number are attending church and others, notably the men in the night shelter, have recently made commitments to Christ. Many of our clients are grateful for offers of prayer and many more are relieved to find themselves within the circle of God’s family.
However, we must never be complacent. Daily heartache and uncertainty surrounds many of our clients as illustrated by the following story:
Zena* arrived in the UK from Ethiopia in 2006. At the age of sixteen she had been taken from her home because of her mother’s association with a political pressure group. She was imprisoned, abused and raped before being released from jail, with the proviso that she became a false witness against other Oromo people. Once out of jail she was warned against returning home, and guided to a safe house where money was raised for her to flee to the UK.
Although she was still only seventeen and technically a minor, her case was dismissed and she was unable to access any benefits. Four long years passed, during which she tried to integrate in the UK by attending English and Maths classes, volunteering for various charities and making friends in churches in the areas to which she was moved. After her appeal failed in September 2010, she was admitted to hospital having attempted suicide. Shortly after this she lost her accommodation and was referred to the Boaz Trust by another service provider a week before Christmas.
Zena is currently living with a Boaz host, uncertain about her future. She still has no idea what happened to her mother or three siblings, and suffers from bouts of severe depression. However, as a committed Christian, she is deeply grateful to God for what He has done for her and has a measure of security through the Boaz Trust.
* name changed
In the final part of this report we will look at some of the lessons learned