In Cape Town, South Africa, (a.k.a. the “Mother City,”) H.E.L.P. is working closely with groups of local churches to train township pastors and create job opportunities. The Church is, in many South African contexts, the backbone of community life and has the Biblical mandate to pursue justice and reconciliation. So H.E.L.P. is aggressively pursuing the release of the Church’s potential toward the ends of economic justice and sustainable community development.
Specifically, we have developed training materials in local languages that teach township pastors and church leaders about God’s concern for the poor and His call for the Church to be involved in the pursuit of justice and transformation. The four-month training concludes with teaching leaders how to develop grassroots, asset-led development plans for their communities. In the future, we hope to be able to make grants available to the best project ideas where funding is needed to put immediate action behind the training period.
In addition, H.E.L.P. has worked with a consortium of local churches to develop a new approach toward job creation in Cape Town’s poor townships. We are pioneering a job scout/mentor project that targets high performing entrepreneurs to aid them in growing their businesses and hiring more people.
In the past year, just one full-time job scout has directly led to 10 new sustainable jobs being created, with a dozen or more further new jobs created indirectly. Our vision is to rapidly expand this program and link it to the pastor training so that our entrepreneurs share business experience with the pastors and the pastors spend time guiding the entrepreneurs on their journey of faith.
Without efforts to Renew communities through holistic sustainable development we will forever be faced with a flood of vulnerable children. By attacking the root causes that lead to the abandonment of children, and by doing so primarily through the auspices of the local church, we hope to be drivers of long-term systemic change – change toward the ways of God’s Kingdom.