Friday, April 05, 2013
INTEGRAL Q & A
Working for a Better Future
Jana Bieliková is the Marketing Director at Integra, Integral's member in Slovakia based in Bratislava. Jana represents Integra on the Integral Marketing Group.
What has been your most interesting job, apart from your current one?
My most interesting experience has been my time spent in Pakistan, where I was working with poor farmers in Sindh region. We were helping them through a local NGO with zero interest microloans, as well as further education in agriculture and livestock. The plan was to step by step assist the farmers to get out of the poverty cycle and start building their livelihood for the future. At the same time, I was also participating in projects focused on relief works after the 2010 and 2011 floods.
What is the main motivation for your work?
My main motivation has always been the meaning of my work. I am grateful to see that we are helping children for a better future and I believe it is my purpose in life to help others in need as much as I can.
What has been your most memorable country visit with work, and why?
I will again mention Pakistan here, as it has grown on me. I was most surprised by how humble the people are, and how hospitable and positive. I met a friend of my colleague who’s family house was completely destroyed by the floods, as was half of the city where they lived. I had to ask, how she kept a smile on her face in such terrible circumstances. She replied simply: “Things come and go. Our home will be rebuilt in the future if God wills so. There is no need to be sad.”
What do you enjoy the most about your current job?
I mostly enjoy the opportunity to bring news to the people and public about the wonderful work that Integra is doing in Africa. I appreciate all the challenges that come with such a work in the conservative society of Slovakia. Integra has come a long way in the last 8 years of development work in Africa and there is still a long way for us to go.
What do you find the most challenging?
Most challenging has always been to overcome the skepticism that comes with development projects. Slovakia finds itself with many internal struggles and people facing difficult situations. It is always difficult to find the right message, which will raise interest despite the fact that the problems are on another continent.
What has been your work highlight so far this year?
One highlight came in December last year, when one of our sponsors, who’s recently deceased daughter was also a sponsor of a child in Africa, made a collection on her own with family and friends. The lady came to us with a donation which enabled us to build two extra classrooms in our school in Nairobi slum. That was a surprise that no one expected.
What do you find inspiring about Integral?
Integral offers the opportunity to share not only knowledge but also work on the field. I was very happy that we could join the activities in the field of humanitarian assistance, and it was through Integral that we were able to join World Concern in their activities in South Sudan last year. I am looking forward to see more of Integral cooperation, which can help all organisations to grow and achieve better results in aiding the ones in need.
How do you relax?
My most favourite activity is baking. However, my family members now refuse to eat too many sweets, which adds to the happiness of my colleagues. ;) Other than that I enjoy living in a small village near Bratislava, so nature walks are what brightens my day.
What skill do you have that many don’t know you possess?
Whenever I’m free I work on my handicraft skills, such as porcelain painting, glass painting, knitting etc.
What’s your favourite quote?
”Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde
What is the most useful piece of work advice you ever received?
If there is something important to discuss, always do it in person. An email is far too often misinterpreted.
More Value Than Gold
This month we report on an Integral cooperation between Tearfund (UK) and SEL France in Mali. Working through local partner TNT, funds were given to provide emergency grain to tide over conflict-affected communities in Timbuktu and Gao until harvest-time. TNT, in collaboration with representatives of these communities, offered 20 tons of rice to the most vulnerable households. The following testimonies, taken from the end of project report, give us a clear picture of the benefit of this humanitarian relief project.
Maimouna Cisse is the mother of seven children. She did not hear from her husband for more than three years when he left Gao in search of a job in Nigeria. When the crisis came, she and her children lost their home. She says, “I never thought that the crisis would last so long. We literally had nothing. We always heard that help was given by a particular organisation, but my family and I have never received even a pot of rice. I want to thank the people who brought this aid to us. Today is a blessed day - thank you for remembering the poor and needy.”
Abdoulaye Abubakar is a tailor by trade. He says, “Since the rebellion broke out, nothing happens - nobody sews clothes for parties, weddings or social events. It is no longer possible for me to make a living from my business. I tried other trades, but everyone knows me as a tailor - our whole family have done this job for decades. I could not feed my family. This is the first time in more than eight months that I have brought home a bag of 50 kilos of rice. Thank you very much. This rice bag has more value than gold for me and my family."
Alassane Issasa was born in Gao and worked as a city employee collecting taxes. She explains, “I have not received a penny from the town for more than nine months. I have a family of 12 people. In addition to my wife and my children, I have the family of my younger brother, who died a few months ago from typhoid, to look after. I do not know how we have all survived. Your help is welcome and has brought us a great respite. I dare not even describe this crisis. Thank you very much for your help. I hope you will not forget us.”
Hawa Musa is a widow with four children. She says, “My husband was a mechanic and he died before the outbreak of the rebellion. My children were forced to go around the houses of various relatives in the city in order to eat. There are days when they had nothing and had to sleep on empty stomachs. The shortage is so great that the solidarity that existed in the past has disappeared. Now it's every man for himself. Thank you for thinking of others and for this bag of rice.”
The end of project report speaks about the benefit of collaboration and cites it as a key learning: “There is strength in collaboration. The combination of partners helped to implement the programme in a timely and efficient manner, and the commitment of each partner and their desire to see the programme succeed were key elements of the success of the distribution.”
Join the Discussion?
Integral Newsletter Archive
Friday, April 05, 2013
INTEGRAL Q & AWorking for a Better FutureJana Bieliková is the Marketing Director at Integra, Integrals...
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
INTEGRAL NEWS'Sign Here for Peace'The Kenyan elections took place on March 4th 2013, and for many this would have...
Thursday, February 07, 2013
INTEGRAL MARKETINGWhat's Your Cause? Consider. Discern. Declare.Eric Frans is the Director of Philanthropy at World...
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
INTEGRAL Q & ABeing the ChangeInger Lise Hansen is the new Marketing and Fundraising Director at Norwegian Mission...
World Relief Canada’s Mission is to respond to the relief and development needs of the world’s poor in the name of Jesus Christ, through our global network of Christian organizations, in partnership with Canadian and overseas Churches.
World Relief Canada’s Vision is to see people responding, with compassion and justice, to the needs of the poor, oppressed and suffering in ways that bring healing and transformation in the world’s poorest communities.
World Relief Canada's Core Values are the essential cornerstones upon which we do our work and are reflected in the following six areas.
- Economic Justice
- Empowerment and Equity
- Environmental Integrity
- Mutual Independence
- Financial Accountability