West and Central African countries are rich with diamonds, gold, oil, uranium, and other minerals, but the people are among the world’s poorest. The abundance of natural resources often becomes a curse rather than a blessing to the local people. The misuse of these resources results in limited infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, electricity, and other services, and this frustrates people who are struggling to survive. This frustration has led to many rebellions and conflicts, which in turn displaces millions of people and leaves them facing malnutrition, insufficient access to safe water, inadequate sanitation, and a future without hope.
In search of an income, many women travel to other countries looking for work. Some are then forced into prostitution or held for ransom until their families pay for their release. Girls attending schools in hope of better lives are sometimes kidnapped by rebels, many of them child soldiers also searching for a way out of life’s horrible conditions.
Women in this region of Africa often suffer from the cultural practices of female genital cutting and child marriages coupled with limited health care that can cause high rates of maternal death. Many of those who survive their pregnancies suffer from the debilitating problem of obstetric fistula. In addition, preventable or easily treatable diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, and respiratory infections remain the main killers of women and children.
Spiritual darkness also grips the people of West and Central Africa with fear and bondage to fetishes, voodoo, witch doctors, and controlling cultural and religious practices. Limited education has further darkened the lives of unreached people groups and oral cultures, making it difficult to reach them with the gospel of Christ. TWR’s radio broadcasts reach into their darkness and despair. Women of Hope programs offer lifesaving advice, love, and hope through Jesus Christ.
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