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We work through partnerships with local communities and organizations. We provide at-risk children with caring homes, health care and education.
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In the Soweto Slums in Kenya, East Africa, extreme poverty means that basic needs such as food, shelter, medical care, and education are not readily available. Children, particularly females, are often exploited and abused as a result and, unfortunately, the situation isn’t improving.
Owing to the high poverty levels in the slum, the majority of the mothers spend most of their time either at casual work or in their small businesses. Teen girls are thus left with the responsibility of doing all household chores including cooking, washing, and caring for younger siblings.
These girls are prone to sexual abuse and violence including rape, especially where the mothers are addicted to alcohol, hence failing to provide care and guidance to their daughters. The girls are discriminated against in education as the boys generally secure most of the education opportunities. Most teenage girls do not have access to sanitary napkins, a factor that adversely affects their school attendance and performance. Girls are forced to drop out of school. Some girls are exposed to drug and alcohol abuse either due to peer pressure or parent neglect. There are parents who are not keen on sending their girls to school and often prefer to hire them out as house maids or for other forms of child labor. Older women target teenage girls with the explicit aim of recruiting them into prostitution. Some teenage girls are forced to get pregnant and give birth so that the babies can be sold to child traffickers.
HOPE partner, Hope and Bright Future, is working to protect those girls by creating a housing solution that’s affordable and will provide care for the children living in the slums. Hope for the Nations is liaising with the relevant government departments regarding a piece of land which can be developed as a housing and educational facility for these young ladies.
The complex is being constructed using modified shipping containers and will house 4 bedroom units for 24 residents, seminar and training rooms, an office, and a unit for residential staff. The goal is to provide safe housing for girls coming off the streets, a safe and supportive environment for rehabilitation, and provide a loving community for single teens and their children. This facility will also provide an opportunity for the leadership of Hope and Bright Future to oversee the project while being accountable to and receiving mentorship and oversight from Hope for the Nations staff.
Visit the project page to learn more about the container housing project and lend your support!
Edwin Henkel, better know as ‘Ed the Can Man’, first joined HOPE after his daughter and grandchildren visited Swaziland and he was moved by the stories they brought back with them. Ed and his wife, Evelyn, started out by sponsoring a child but quickly found they could constantly contribute to HOPE projects by collecting recyclables. We got the chance to sit down with Ed to hear his story . . .
1) Tell us about yourself before you came to be involved with HOPE?
I've always been independent. I was self employed for the better part of my life. I did lots of volunteering - Over 17 years with the RCMP and 15 years serving on different city committees.
2) How did you get involved with HOPE?
Through my daughter and grandkids (age 10 and 12). They visited the Swaziland home for a couple of weeks and it really left an impression on me. Our grandson really inspired me to get involved. When he was in Swaziland, he kept a diary with journal entries and drawings from his time there. When he returned, he turned that into a book and had it printed. Hearing them talk about it got me thinking that we (my wife, Evelyn, and I) should do something. We started sponsoring a boy in Swaziland (and still do) and started collecting bottles. We would go for walks through the community, collecting what we found, and it just grew from there.
3) At what point did you become an Ambassador and how did it come about?
When HOPE started the Ambassador program, they asked me and I said, "Why not?"
4) Is there a specific story or action you can recall of how your work has helped influence change in the areas where you work?
There are two main projects we support. One is the Bethlehem Children's Home. A few years back we had heard that the neighborhood dogs had gotten onto the property and killed over 100 of their chickens. We raised funds to build a gate to secure the property.
We also support the work in Nairobi at Hope & Bright Future Center. We've bought a cart for the pull-cart business they’ve started. We've helped pay for textbooks and birth certificates. The children need birth certificates to take their exams at a certain level, but usually don't have one. We're now in the process of setting up a program for girls, since the guys have the pull-cart business. We are going to be helping create mobile vegetable stands. We also give money each month for teacher salaries. It gets divided among the 9 teachers there at the school. And we send money for the lunch program so the children are getting a meal every day in school.
5) What are your plans for the future?
Just keep doing what we're doing. Hoping people will carry it on when I'm not able to do it anymore.
6) What’s next for you?
It's always been a dream of mine to see other groups do the same thing to raise money for a charity. I'd definitely be willing to spend time to help others get started and set up.
Other Can Man Facts:
Ed’s truck is parked in the Trinity parking lot for drop offs. They do make the odd visit to homes, if there are numerous bags for pick up. A few high rises in town have contacted them to do their pick ups.
80% of their cans and bottles comes directly from the church.
On Thursday mornings, the team (7-8 people) come to Trinity to sort everything from the week’s donations. It's a very well organized operation - everyone has a place in the sorting line and they get through it pretty quickly.
On average, they end up with 15-20 bags each week. Recent weeks have made over $300/week.
Many of you already know our faithful Financial Manager, Tony. He is one of HOPE's longest standing employees and just celebrated his seventh year anniversary here with us at HOPE.
Tony provides a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and expertise to both our partners and staff here in the local Kelowna office.
Tony is responsible not only for the regular accounting responsibilities of a busy office, but also for overseeing all of the funds that come into the office, tracking and wiring out funds to the various 57 partners at the end of every month.
We are thankful for Tony's spirit of excellence and commitment to making sure that everyone receives their funds on time in order to facilitate the work of all of our partners serving Children at Risk all around the world.
HOPE helps support over 57 partners, each with various projects that are benefitting children, families, and communities all over the world. ‘AK-47’ operates in several different regions with a focus on the rescue of child soldiers and their rehabilitation and reintroduction into society, providing care, education, and new opportunities.
KIDS WANT TO ATTEND SCHOOL
One of the exciting but hard situations we’ve encountered is an overflow of children in our Myanmar projects. In our Northern Children’s Center, we have 25 children officially registered. But we also have another 40 children coming to attend school from the local area. The kids spill out onto the porches. It’s so hard for our staff to say no – they give them paper and pencils and try to feed them a bit of lunch.
The same thing is happening at our Shan State Community School, where we have about 120 children in our care. But approximately 200 children are showing up from the surrounding regions. In classrooms where we should have 25 to 30 children, we have 45 to 50 crowding in from wall to wall. This is an especially tough space because the government feels it can come and take children whenever it pleases.
But we know every child educated is less likely to be poor in later life or end up a front line soldier. These kids are incredibly hungry for knowledge. It’s a good thing when our projects are successful and children are being impacted, even when it stretches us a little thin. We look forward to expanding our Myanmar projects and welcoming even more children!
Learn More about how you can support AK-47
Urgent Need - Donate to our Shan State: Hope for 16 Project
We caught up with Nadine Willis, HOPE ambassador for Kenya, and found out a little about her history, her plans for the future, and how she first got involved with HOPE.
I was a regular, stay at home mom of 6 children. I have two sets of twins and two other children as well, and had all of them within 5 years.
I saw Ralph Bromley speak at Life Tree Church in Victoria BC. I immediately felt stirred to action but began through prayer. When I moved to Ontario, I asked myself "What do I bring in my heart to my church." I knew it was children at risk, so I shared about Hope for the Nations with my pastor and we did some fundraising for a project.
I corresponded several times with Ralph and he asked me if I would be interested in being an Ambassador of Hope. I said "Yes!"
The largest impact I have initiated in the lives of girls is providing safe options for girls that are menstruating. A girl is not permitted to attend school while menstruating and often due to a lack of finances, they are unable to secure sanitary napkins. Unfortunately, that leads to creative ideas about how to handle this problem. Rags, corn husks, and dirt are just a few items used to try and absorb the fluid. There are always men with sanitary napkins willing to trade for favours which should never happen in a world filled with options. I have helped to create businesses making and providing a reusable pad for the girls. This creates employment as well a solution to an important issue.
My plans for the future are to continue to dream of ways to help children to become children of change.
7) What’s next for you?
I'm currently working on leading a team with Ralph to Kenya to bring hope and healing through various people like midwives, counsellors, art therapy, yoga, and handymen.
Click here to find out how you can get involved with Nadine’s work in Kenya