Changing behavior in Dutch-speaking Suriname with hope

By April 16, 2012

(IBS/MNN) — Being young in Suriname isn't easy. A staggering 70% of the people in that country
live below the poverty line. Unemployment is high for youth, with over a
fifth of the population aged 15-24 years without work.

programs have helped drop the HIV/AIDS rates, but teen pregnancies remain an
issue. As 10% of all teen girls have babies during their school years, this
means the lack of education perpetuates the cycle of poverty, substance abuse,
and the family unit breakdown.

the main religion is Christianity, many people can't afford their own Bible.
Besides Christianity, old beliefs in ancestor spirits are also strong. Often
these two belief systems are mixed, frequently resulting in teens having a
distorted view of the message of Scripture.

a Bible of their own, they are unable to study Scripture for themselves.
Fortunately, schools are open to evangelistic activities, making it possible to
teach young people Scripture and biblical messages related to sexual education.

in the Netherlands has translated the Reach4Life New Testament in Dutch–the only official
language in the Netherlands and the main language in Suriname. This New
Testament contains many studies on life issues for young people, promoting sexual
abstinence and sharing biblical principles in practical ways.

200 church leaders have been trained to use Reach4Life in classroom settings. The first edition
has been used in Brokopondo as part of the sexual education program. The proof, so the saying goes, is "in the
pudding." According to Biblica's ministry partners,
there are reports of a drop in teen pregnancies in Suriname among those
participating in the Reach4Life program.

hunger for Scripture and education on life issues is evident: partnering
organizations have requested another 15,000 Reach4Life New Testaments to hand out to Suriname

ministry is hoping to raise enough to reach another 15,000 teens with the Gospel
and promote a safe and healthy lifestyle for them. Expansion of the program
to the Dutch Antilles will soon also take place.


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