Sunday, July 22, 2012

Brot für die Welt and Bread for the World

There is a German faith-based organization called Brot für die Welt whose mission is to address hunger and poverty and seek justice.  Sound familiar?  

Yes, our two organizations have the same aims, but different approaches. While Bread for the World in the United States places a strong emphasis on legislative advocacy and education, Brot für die Welt primarily funds and supports projects and programs around the world run by local churches and partner organizations.

Another key difference is that Bread for the World in the U.S. has a stronger  grassroots emphasis in its home country. Still, there is a strong element of advocacy and empowerment in Brot für die Welt's mission. The German organization joins with local groups and partners to advocate for the rights of the poor.  In fact, it's motto is justice for the poor.

Because of the common name, our organizations sometimes get confused with each other, especially when Brot für die Welt wants to connect with English-speaking audiences and offers a translation of its name. The truth is that Brot für die Welt has been around almost two decades longer than Bread for the World. The German organization was created in 1959 by the regional Protestant and Free churches in Germany and their diaconal ministries. Organizationally, the German organization is part of Diakonisches Werk der EKD (the Social Service Agency of the Protestant Church in Germany). Brot für die Welt is funded through private donations and church offerings.

So do our organizations connect? For the most part, we go about our work separately. But there has been at least one area of convergence. Brot für die Welt has provided a grant for the annual hunger report published by the Bread for the World Institute on at least one occasion.

I really like the way the German organization defines the word brot
The word “Bread” does not only refer to food. Martin Luther interpreted the request for daily bread“ in the Lord’s Prayer as a request for everything needed to keep body and soul together – like food, drink, clothes, shoes, housing, farms, land, cattle, money and property. Our “daily bread” stands for all the basic necessities of life which should be available to everyone in the world.

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