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Hope remains Amos Day 2012 Come and See I am somebody – Brazil 2014 amos news no.122

New Dawn in Durban – changes for Umthombo

Palestine Now Garth Hewitt online

Summer 2012


amos news summer 2012

amos news

amos news

amos news summer 2012

ascension by the wall Chris Rose Director

As we got off the bus at Wi’am Conflict Resolution Centre in Bethlehem, I was reminded that it was Ascension Day. We had spent the day in Hebron, a place where people’s inhumanity and the worst aspects of religious belief are so powerfully demonstrated in the treatment of the local Palestinian community.

Tonight was a chance for the group to kick back, chat to Wi’am’s founder Zoughbi Zoughbi, his sons and the rest of the Wi’am team and to celebrate ascension in the Wi’am garden, next to the separation wall, illuminated by the spotlights from the watchtowers. Amos’ alternative pilgrimage groups always visit Wi’am, but as this group sat and ate, it became clear to Zoughbi and I that there was something far more than a barbeque

being played out that evening. There was a “real presence”, something in the air. And as I thought about it I realised this evening was a sacrament – a visible symbol of an invisible truth. In the face of the most terrible reality we were in the midst of a far deeper truth – “This is my Body”. The ascension call leapt out: “Go and be my witnesses. Tell them what happens to the least, happens to me. Tell them that injustice cannot last and that, if we open our eyes and our hearts, a very different way forward is possible.” This challenge to speak out the truth and be witnesses is echoed in Kairos Palestine, the call for solidarity and action from Palestinian Christians. Amos’ response to this Kairos call is to: 1. Take more people to visit. See enclosed our Visit Palestine flyer for details of our 2013 trips. 2. Get more young people involved through our Palestine Now initiative. Read about our visit to Palestine for young people on pages 6 & 7. 3. Work with artists to find creative new ways to raise awareness. In March, for example, working with the Greenbelt Festival, we led a trip for 15 artists. 4. Establish Kairos Palestine UK to take the message to UK churches and to challenge theologies that deny the rights of the Palestinians. 5. Promote non-violent responses such as BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) which challenge the on-going illegal occupation.

Opposite In April Chris Rose met Palestinian campaigner and politician Mustapha Barghouti. He will be speaking at the Greenbelt Festival this August. © Amos Trust

Alongside our commitment to Palestine, so far in 2012 we have also welcomed the Brazil 2010 Street Child World Cup team to the UK (you can read about this on pages 8 & 9), I have visited South Africa to respond to the changes there (Details on page 4 & 5) and, as I write, Amos supporters are preparing to cycle the Dunwich Dynamo as part of the Amos Road Club. Join us on Saturday 29 September for Amos Day. Our theme is ‘Hope Remains’ and non-violence campaigner Sami Awad from our partner the Holy Land Trust will be with us, as well as Palestinian spoken word artist Rafeef Ziadah. (See enclosed flyer for details.) The Ascension Day call is a call from all the situations and places Amos supports – Palestine, rural communities in Nicaragua, street children in South Africa and Dalit communities in India. It is a call to be witnesses, to get involved and to let forgotten voices be heard. And it is your on-going support that allows us to respond, transform lives and to paraphrase the words of the Kairos call – bring hope where no hope exists.

Stop press – New home for Amos

At the end of last year the Diocese of London approached Amos Trust to see if we would be like to take over and make St Clement’s Church, Eastcheap our home for the next 25 years. We were very excited by this opportunity and so, at the end of August, we will be moving into temporary accommodation for a year, while St Clements is being renovated in preparation for our arrival. NB Our postal address won’t change as our post will be forwarded from All Hallows and our phone number will remain the same.



amos news summer 2012

south africa

south africa

amos news summer 2012

new dawn in durban Chris Rose Director

Below Umthombo surf school © Wilf Whitty / Amos Trust

For many years Radio Durban’s morning show started with a song by Garth, Dawn Down in Durban. The last few months have seen major changes at Umthombo Street Children and it really is a new dawn for their work. Tom Hewitt decided in March to step down as CEO, so that he could concentrate on advocacy work, both for Umthombo and on the wider issues surrounding street children internationally.

This change prompted the Umthombo trustees to take on the difficult but essential job of reorganising Umthombo and responding to on-going financial difficulties facing the organisation. They decided that it was right to offer all staff the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy. A number decided to do so including Biza Madolo and co-founder Bulelwa ‘Mandi’ NgantweniHewitt. The Trustees also asked Umthombo’s chair Mpendulo Nyembe if he would step in as CEO to see the organisation through this period of change

There is now a real sense of excitement among the remaining staff team that after a period of waiting and struggling, they can once again move forward. Each time I visit Durban, I am struck by just how much the situation has changed since my first visit in 2006 and how much of the credit for this lies with Umthombo. Back then there were hundreds of children on the streets, often in large groups which could be intimidating. The authorities saw them not as frightened children but as a problem which had to be brutally responded to. Umthombo’s team took the simple step of befriending these children and setting up programmes to reintegrate them back into their homes or to provide them with an alternative to street life. Over the past six years, the number of children living on the streets has more than halved. Umthombo has also transformed people’s perception of these children through a combination of Tom’s courage in speaking out publicly against policies that brutalised children, and Mandi and the team of former

street children using their stories to help people understand why children are on the streets. In addition the publicity from the Street Child World Cup and Umthombo’s surf programme have secured a very different response from the police and the Municipality. While the situation has improved, children still come to the streets and Umthombo’s role remains as vital as ever. As South Africa deals with a recession it is these children who are suffering most from society’s mistakes and failings. Now is the time for Umthombo to respond to this changing landscape and find new ways to build upon the success of their work by grasping opportunities to work with the Durban Municipality and other local charities and street child projects. I have no doubt that the best way we can thank those who are moving on for all they have done is to continue our support of Umthombo Street Children as the project enters this exciting new phase, as a new dawn breaks.

Mpendulo Nyembe

Tom and Bulelwa ‘Mandi’ Ngantweni-Hewitt

Umthombo’s new CEO Mpendulo Nyembe is a qualified social worker, an experienced community worker and licensed Methodist lay minister. To take on this role he had to step down from the Institute for Healing of Memories, (part of South Africa’s Fellowship of Reconciliation’s ongoing work) and as Umthombo’s Chair. We are pleased to confirm that Mpendulo will be speaking at the Greenbelt Festival this August.

We are all delighted that Tom will be able to continue his advocacy and fundraising work for Umthombo while bringing his skills, passion and experience of campaigning for street children’s rights to a wider context. Bulelwa ‘Mandi’ has wanted to move on from Umthombo for some time. She is very proud of her journey from street child to establishing Umthombo, but she is also keen to enter a new phase of her life, which is not defined by being a former street child.



amos news summer 2012



amos news summer 2012

visit palestine Nive Hall Operations Manager

“In   order to understand our reality, we say to the Churches: Come and see” Kairos Palestine call, December 2009. Amos Trust has been taking people to see the “facts on the ground” and to encounter the “living stones” in the Holy Land for many years. These trips give the perfect opportunity for participants to deepen their understanding, see the situation first hand, meet inspirational organisations and activists as well as visit the land where Jesus walked. This spring we have been exceptionally busy leading three very different trips in Palestine. In March we took a group of key contributors from Greenbelt Festival, in April we took a group of young leaders from the Methodist Church and in May we ran our own annual alternative pilgrimage.

I was fortunate to be leading the Methodist youth trip and was privileged to see the effect the encounters we had on the young people, both in terms of their understanding of the injustices they saw and also how their faith demanded a response.

Palestinian houses all have black water tanks on top of their roofs; this is because they don’t have regular access to the running water. We were taken onto the roof of one house in Hebron, and saw three gunshot holes in their water tank from Jewish settlers.That’s the kind of injustice that no one ever hears about.

We asked members of the group to share their reflections on the trip. Sam the current Methodist Youth President wrote:

Matt’s response was informed by his recent degree and an online debate during the trip:

Spending a week in the Holy Land was one of the most amazing, most inspiring, most challenging, most angry weeks of my life. For me, the most powerful conversations were those with young people, people who are at the same stages of life as us. I’ve never really encountered injustice before. I spent most of the time trying to work out what to think. The one story I like to tell is about water.

One of the main things I’ve realised came from a discussion I had on Facebook with an old school friend while I was out there. I commented that our hotel was out of water, and he responded saying that he hoped I wouldn’t be ‘one of those people who blame Israel for everything.’ He then spoke a lot about history and how Palestinians had done things wrong. I responded with some of the stories that we had heard; of limited water and how a boy saw the wall go up in Bethlehem in three days. Suddenly, the issues surrounding Palestine were no longer geopolitical as I studied International Politics in a lecture theatre in mid-Wales. It was now all about people. The issues have become about justice,

Right Spray painting the wall Opposite The group at Wadi Qelt © Sharon Rowe Relaxing with a barbeque at Wi’am © Matthew Collins

peace and freedom, rather than statistics, resolutions and borders. A key component of Amos’ campaign for a just peace for Palestine is to take more people to Palestine to see the situation there for themselves. Enclosed with this newsletter is our new Visit Palestine flyer with details of the three trips we will be running in 2013, including one specifically for young people. So in 2013, come with us to Palestine, come and see! I’ll leave the last word to people who have been on recent trips. A team member from the 2011 Home Rebuilding trip wrote: A life changing experience. What a privilege to be part of such a wonderful group of people, both my fellow volunteers and the wonderful Palestinian team. I am ready to join any future build! And finally, from another young Methodist: This was the most life changing thing I’ve ever done. And I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity.



street child world cup

amos news summer 2012

street child world cup

amos news summer 2012

street child world cup update Joe Hewitt

Below The Brazil team meet the Bishop of London Opposite The Brazil team at the Houses of Parliament © Stefano Cagnoni

What do you get when you cross seven former street children from Brazil and the Bishop of London? A bishop doing kick-ups in his cassock and wide-eyed teens asking if St Paul’s Cathedral was where ‘Harry Potter‘ was filmed. Such is a day in the life of the Street Child World Cup. This April seven former street children from Brazil braved the elements of the British spring to sample British culture and football and remind us that no child should live on the streets. Vicente, Thamires, Alexandre, Josilene, Rodrigo, David and Douglas (ages 15 to 19) were in the UK to launch the 2014 Street Child World Cup. Having taken part in the inaugural Street Child World Cup in 2010 all have left the streets with the support of the Quixote Project in San Paulo, and are in either education or employment. A further

three from the original team did not make the trip to London, and their absence is a reminder of how difficult it is to leave street life for good. Thamires explained “Brazil is wonderful but like most places it has two sides and unfortunately there are many children on the streets. They face violence, neglect, drugs, racism and a lot of social problems.” Action for Brazil’s Children (ABC) Trust organised 10 days of activities which kept the team busy and their noble translators even busier! Highlights of the trip included visits to Premiership football games, a reception at the Brazilian Embassy and a trip to the Houses of Parliament. The team also shared their stories at community-based events hosted by Street Child World Cup supporters. They were special guests at the Suits and Boots business football tournament in Cambridge, and visited St Luke’s Church, Holloway to eat Brazilian cuisine and remind us poor It was thrilling to meet the team. I heard about grim experiences in early life and the power of support and friendship to open up new hope and aspirations. Bishop of London, Richard Chartres

Brits how dancing is really done! Candles were also lit to remember children still on the streets around the world. The team also had the opportunity to meet students from South Camden Community School and play them in a friendly. One student told BBC reporters at the match: “Playing the Brazilian team we witnessed a master class. The football they play, I think that is the voice that they need.” As the Street Child United team embark on the Road to Rio 2014, the Brazil team’s determination and positivity was the inspiration we needed. The team were walking proof that when children on the streets are given the protection, support and opportunities they are entitled to, they can break the vicious cycle of homelessness before adulthood and realise their potential.

is a call to action for each of us, not just street children and former street children. Whoever we are, wherever we live, and whatever we do, we can each make a difference. I am somebody and I am a supporter of the Street Child World Cup: No child should have to live on the streets. Do you or someone at your church work for a company with a corporate responsibility programme that could get involved? You can help make another Street Child World Cup a reality for street children around the world. Visit and get in touch.

When the young Brazilians visited the Houses of Parliament they held a banner, which read: “I am somebody”. This slogan

Football is a way of helping street children to change their future. They may not necessarily become footballers but it keeps them away from the negative influences like drugs. Rodrigo, former street child


amos events

10 amos news summer 2012

founder news – garth hewitt

We are pleased to announce the launch of a website specifically for Garth’s music, The site features information about Garth’s ever growing catalogue of music and books, as well as drawing together articles, talks and sermons Garth has written, past and present, and includes a focused spirituality section. A goal of the website is to eventually make available all of Garth’s music produced over the last forty plus years, including rare early material. Garth will be touring once again from September 2012. The Let Justice Roll tour will run into early summer 2013. If you would like Garth to come to your local church or community venue email or contact the Amos office for details. We provide all the support and information you need to host a concert.

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amos news summer 2012

palestine now appeal

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Amos’ founder Garth Hewitt returned from his three month sabbatical in April and continued his 2011/12 Hymns of Liberation tour, which including several new venues in places as varied as Inverness and Southampton. The tour concluded with a concert on Iona in Scotland. It was Garth’s first visit to the island and he was privileged that his concert was held in the beautiful surroundings of the Abbey. The concert was during a special conference looking at what response we in the UK should make to the Palestinian churches call for action, Kairos Palestine. The conference speakers included Canon Naim Ateek from Sabeel and Jewish academic Mark Braverman. The conference issued a special statement The Iona Call, which outlines the decision to start the Kairos Palestine UK network. Amos will be playing a central role in the creation of this new grassroots network and we will post updates on our website as things develop. You can read the Iona Call in full at

summer appeal 2012

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palestine now appeal “Studying   International Politics back home in a lecture theatre in mid-Wales the issues were all geopolitical, but standing in Palestine I realised – it was all about people. The issues are not just statistics, resolutions and borders, they are justice, peace and freedom.” Matt, student, Methodist youth trip

They told us that they often feel like lone voices in their churches, CUs and universities, that they lack the resources they need to talk about Palestine to their peers, and that they feel illequipped to answer difficult questions.

Palestine NOW is Amos Trust’s new network for young people campaigning for a just peace for Palestine.

Kairos Palestine asks Christians around the world not to ignore the suffering of the Palestinian church. We need to ensure that here in the UK, our young people have the support they need to speak out for Palestine. Their voice and their solidarity with young people in Palestine is vital now and even more so in the future.

We invited 20 of these young Christians to come together to set the agenda for Palestine NOW and tell us how we could support them.

We require your support to build this network of young campaigners and to work with them to create the resources they need. Thank you.

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Above Amos group at Wadi Qelt © Sharon Rowe Cover Banksy grafitti © Amos Trust

2012 Summer Amos Trust Newsletter  
2012 Summer Amos Trust Newsletter  

All the news from Amos Trust's partners around the world for Summer 2012.