As we have previously shared, Help End Local Poverty has a new sponsorship program in place with Soweto Community Church near Johannesburg, South Africa, as they serve Mama Ethel and the 30+ children she is caring for in her home. Pastor Sihle from SCC grew up in Soweto and is deeply committed to seeing God transform this vast township into a place of justice, hope, healing, and reconciliation.

Despite Pastor Sihle’s passion and Mama Ethel’s perseverance, enormous challenges remain for Soweto’s children.

Specifically, we are struggling with the question of what will happen to this family of Mama Ethel’s when she is no longer able to care for them. SCC is rushing through the red tape of becoming legally recognized as the responsible party, but this may or may not happen in time, as the process is expensive and time-consuming.

A further challenge is one that is common to all developmental situations: sustainability.

Pastor Sihle not only leads the church he planted in his hometown, but he is training church leaders and new church planters in Soweto. One of his passions, which we at H.E.L.P. share, is training the pastors to be involved in community development from a Biblical perspective, which includes caring for orphans and widows.

Pastor Sihle is confronted daily with the issue of sustainability: How can churches in Soweto care for the tens of thousands of orphaned and abandoned children in their midst without being completely reliant on outside funding? In other words, how can they create a sustainable model built on global cooperation instead of local dependence?

At H.E.L.P., we are committed to walk with Pastor Sihle, Mama Ethel, and others like them to find real answers to these challenges. Currently, you can sponsor one of Mama Ethel’s 30+ children for $35 a month through Help One Now and give some stability to their household income to provide for food, clothing, education, and medical care.

But in the future, we want to work through the process of finding sustainable and reproducible models for orphan care in Soweto with local churches.

How can we be a part of family reunification and support, adoption and fostering, and small family sized homes of children? How can we support local churches without creating dependence? How can we learn from Soweto to empower and grow our own churches?