Earlier this year, H.E.L.P. officially returned to the place of its birth by bringing Steven and Amy Nicholson on the team to lead our community development efforts in Africa. It was on a trip to Zimbabwe and South Africa with the Nicholsons back in 2007 that Chris Marlow committed to found Help End Local Poverty to address the crisis that extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS had wrought in this beautiful land. H.E.L.P. is now carrying on the work that Steven and Amy began in Africa in 2005 to Rescue children, Restore their hope, and Renew communities.
In Africa, H.E.L.P. works alongside local churches who are already at work in their communities. Development works best when it’s locally grown and not imported from the West. This is why we spend years developing deep relationships of mutual trust with local church leaders who are already fully committed to the long work of sustainable development. You won’t find many H.E.L.P. logos on our projects in Africa, but we are there in the background – supporting, encouraging, and building capacity in the local church.
In Zimbabwe, H.E.L.P. partners with Family Praise Fellowship in Marondera, a small farming community to the east of the capital, Harare. Family Praise has been a part of a local cooperative caring for orphaned and abandoned children for more than a decade. Due to the world’s worst performing economy and high rates of HIV/AIDS, the number of children the church cares for has grown from just over 40 to over 100 in only 5 years. H.E.L.P. supports the church by providing for the educational needs of the children, and is about to launch a new program with full-time staff to teach life skills, provide remedial tutoring, and create job opportunities for the children of Musha weVana.
In the historic township of Soweto, Johannesburg, in South Africa, H.E.L.P. is launching a new child sponsorship program in conjunction with Soweto Community Church. This exciting new church plant was founded with community development and a love for vulnerable children at its core. The church is supporting Mama Ethel, an elderly woman who has cared for orphaned and abandoned children in her home for decades. Her home now has more than 30 children at an age when most grandmothers are well past retirement. Soweto Community Church is standing with her, and H.E.L.P. is privileged to be a part of this incredible story.
In Cape Town, South Africa, H.E.L.P. is driving a program of training local township pastors in Biblical community development. To date, more than 30 pastors in the poorest parts of this great city have been taught about God’s concern for the poor and His call for all followers of Jesus to be active in fighting injustice. Alongside a local church’s training center and a church-led job development project, H.E.L.P. is a part of a consortium of local believers encouraging the churches in Cape Town’s poor neighborhoods to be drivers of their own development.
This is just a taste of H.E.L.P.’s involvement in Africa. Over the coming weeks, we will be highlighting more of the partnerships we are creating and inviting you to participate with us. You can visit HELP One Now to sponsor a child in Africa, or Garage Sale 4 Orphans to learn how to host a fundraiser to help one of these partnerships.