Heather Johnstone, Tanzania

Heather Johnstone, Tanzania

Helping to empower the most disadvantaged women and children in Mara through the Rehema Project.

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The Rehema Project benefits women and children in crisis – who don’t have food, clothing or shelter and who are susceptible to all sorts of illnesses because of malnutrition. Many of them struggle with the effects of HIV or AIDS and sometimes have suffered from abuse, rape, theft and mistreatment; they are trapped in poverty, with little hope. As Christians we are compelled, through Christ’s love, to show love, compassion and mercy. It is my privilege to manage the different elements of Rehema and to share life with the amazing staff.

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Heather’s story

Rehema has three income generating enterprises to provide assistance to women in desperate need – a local Tanzanian food outlet, a cafe selling dishes with a more international flavour and a workshop, with an accompanying craft shop. Women are employed to work in the food outlet, the cafe or to create handmade products for the shop. They are trained in different skills to help them to become self-sufficient and care for their families.

I am South African by birth and British by naturalisation. In 2011, after almost 30 years of working in banking, account management and HR management, I was made redundant from my senior role in a business risk consultancy in London. I felt called to do something completely different, something that made a difference, and after praying about it I went to Tanzania on a short-term mission trip. I was introduced to Rehema and couldn’t help but become involved. This experience further cemented my call; I firmly believe that God called me to short-term mission to give me a taste of life in long-term mission. After training with Church Mission Society I returned to Musoma and I’m delighted that I’m able to share the love of Christ with the Rehema ladies long-term.

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