SIFAT to offer 48-hour slum experience


Searching for dynamic youth events to motivate students? SIFAT's "48: A Slum Experience" is an event you should consider for your group. The fifth annual retreat will be held January 17-19, 2015. It's the weekend of the Martin Luther King holiday, so school will be out that Monday. Students and leaders will experience life as nearly a billion of our brothers and sisters around the world live every single day.

For 48 hours, participants who live in SIFAT’s simulated urban slum are challenged to interact with characters played by staff and volunteers in order to meet their basic needs of food, water, and shelter. After the experience, participants are challenged to reflect on what their new connection with the developing world means for them. This event is an extremely challenging experience and a great opportunity to connect students to areas in our world that they may never get to experience otherwise.

"I loved SIFAT so much," said Kennedy Martin, a participant with the youth group from Birmingham First UMC. "It was an awesome feeling to conquer that 48-hour experience, but it was also sad. I only had to endure it for 48 hours, but my brothers and sisters around the world have to endure that day in and day out. It really taught me what being blessed is all about. Saying I am blessed to live where I live excludes so many people. Are they not blessed too?"

Kennedy's mom was impressed by what her children learned from their SIFAT experience. "When I picked my kids up that first year, they were exhausted," Lori Martin said. "Even so, they couldn't stop talking. What sounded miserable to me was absolutely incredible to them. They learned so much and developed a new perspective on poverty and wealth."

But it it didn't stop there. The Martin kids immediately started talking about the next year, and could hardly wait to do it again. "It certainly opened the door for some meaningful conversations in theMartin household," Lori said.

       When: January 17, 11 a.m. – January 19, 1 p.m.
       Cost: $65 per participant
       Registration: Email

SIFAT (Servants in Faith and Technology), a nonprofit Christian organization, provides training in community development in hard places in our world. Christian leaders learn self-help skills for basic human needs including physical, spiritual, social and economic.

SIFAT raises awareness of needs and global issues, providing opportunities for people to get involved personally, both to learn from and to serve alongside those with scarce resources. Since its founding in 1979, SIFAT has trained church and community leaders from more than 80 countries and helped thousands of North Americans leave their comfort zone, cross into other cultures and social strata to become one in Christ.

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