HEALTHY FOOD FOR ORPHANED KIDS
‘Gardens are being planted, families are rejoicing and are again filled with hope, as tomorrow these baby seedlings will feed their family and bless their community’. These are the reports we are getting back from our garden planting team, part of New Hope Centre’s, Operation Hope. In February of 2012 we received a grant from the US Embassy to conduct a yearlong youth leader / Hope Club and garden planting program that would continue to be a sustainable and income generating project for some of the neediest orphaned children we have worked with around Swaziland.
The garden planting program first started on Bethany Mountain (our Judea) where we encountered great physical need and hunger within our own community. By assisting community members to build a fenced 5x5 meter garden, supplied with hoe, watering can and garden rake, start off seedlings and ongoing support, community members were not only able to have an ongoing nutrition source, but also increase in confidence and self-worth as they cared for the garden and started to feel they were capable and independent. In the community we planted over 100 gardens and saw consistent positive results, (which are still going strong years later).
As the Children’s Ministry team worked with children and volunteers around the nation, the ongoing issue of food security arose. With a huge percentage of the nation living off WFP food (World Food Program) even though Swazi’s have historically been farmers, it seemed natural to spread the garden program nationally, a vision given to Dr Elizabeth, the Director. And communities north and south jumped at the idea of receiving gardens and more orphan support.
This season we are planting 50 gardens, each supplied with around 80 seedlings, a watering can, tools and a secure fence of high quality materials. Experience and research has shown gardens planted in selected community member’s homes are far more successful than group owned school gardens, as ownership and value occurs when a family is responsible. We have chosen children who have attended our Hope Camps, already selected as the neediest orphans in their schools, to receive the gardens. Together with our team, grandmothers, and children have toiled to prepare the ‘plots’ and have given thanks with tears of joy at the end of planting. Some have shared how they haven’t eaten for 2 days, yet now have a safe garden (safe from goats and cows), which promises food for tomorrow, a brighter future.
Wow. We anticipate that as community members, youth leaders and children continue to care for the gardens of the vulnerable and the vulnerable that self-confidence will increase and little by little, circumstances in children’s lives will turn around. We have planted 50 gardens this time thanks to the US government. But many have a crying need for similar gardens around the nation. Gardens are not expensive to establish, but are long term investments benefiting the families and community, empowering them to take action, not making them reliant on hand outs or foreign cash. Your assistance in pray or funds for more gardens is needed, you can find out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
-GARDENS IN ACTION – 3rd September 2012
So far more than 12 gardens have been planted by our Children’s Ministry Team, youth leaders and community members around Swaziland. Running operations on the ground is Bhuti Thokozani, a young man with a heart for God and a passion for psychology, who has pulled up his sleeves and is leading groups of our Abraham children in vegetable gardening planting. As we draw closer to the wet season we have been planting beetroot, onion, cabbage, tomatoes, pumpkin and green peppers, knowing that these are favourite vegetables used in Swazi cuisine and easy to grow.
Youth leaders with the children in their Hope Clubs have prepared the soil prior to the New Hope team arriving with the fencing and tools. All have commended the excellent work of the youth leaders in assisting the children to prepare and understand how to care for their gardens. Keep up the great work guys!
At the end of each planting, all come together to pray over the seedlings and the land and bless the soil, that it will bring forth a mighty harvest.
We are especially thankful for the help of Caleb Abraham who assisted the garden team with driving, planting and encouraging everyone for the last 2 weeks while he was on vacation from school. We thank Steel and Wire International, for their assistance with delivering the fencing materials. We thank God for the team effort of our children and the Hope Club children in the schools, also the head teachers for helping with the logistics of planting during school holidays. May the rains come (and actually as we write we have had 3 days of wonderful soaking rain) and the smiles and thanksgiving continue!
Uncle Edward and Phoebe teaching Hope Club children about garden planting, from Ebholi Primary school, Big Bend area.
Everyone working together being encouraged by Youth Leader Nsika, from Ebholi Primary.
A proud and hard working garden team, including Hope Club members, Youth leader Nsika, and Uncle Edward, Bhuti Thokozani, Keziah and Phoebe from New Hope Centre.
Praying for the garden at the end. This garden is planted in a community called Game 5 out of Big Bend, Eastern Swaziland.
Hope Clubs initiated by New Hope Centre in 20 primary or elementary schools in the southern and eastern part of Swaziland are specifically to help orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) in the schools to work through issues of grief, loss, abandonment, discrimination, bullying etc and to help develop confidence overcoming fear and despair so that they will know they can be resilient as Jesus Christ promised "we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us"
In November 2009, Tirzah and Noah Abraham each aged 15 launched the first HOPE CLUB on Bethany mountain on the backside of the mountain where our home is located. They met in a wooden structure with corrugated iron roof, had about 40 OVCs form the squatter camp community and had a wonderful time. Tirzah was an absolute star as the master of ceremonies and led the activities, while Miss Rachael the co-ordinator of children’s ministry actually explained the vision and purpose of the club and Noah led the prayer and blessed all the founding members. Hallelujah what a day, one huge step for Bethany and for Tirzah and Noah. They were the camp managers of the psychosocial camp we ran in July for orphan children and after the camp they asked if they could serve as youth leaders for the local HOPE CLUB. And now it is a reality. Please pray for these two to be confident compassionate wise leaders and pastors to orphans who are not adopted into the Abraham family but need all the blessings and skills and love that God has in His heart for them.
The Operation Hope Project is our outreach to orphaned children in 40 schools in all four of the regions(provinces/states) of the Kingdom of Swaziland. This year the United States Embassy ahs funded one portion of the Project which is the training of the Youth Leaders who are key to the whole project. The youth Leaders run the weekly Hope Clubs in the schools focusing on helping the orphan children with school work, socialization, friendships and recovery from the loss and despair and grief of loosing their parents. They are also key to the running of the Hope Camps which bring three of the most needy orphans from each of the 40 schools we were with for a week long camp in resilience building and psychosocial care.This year we added a second full time team member onto this project. Sis Tandzi Mokoena and she has done great things as Youth Leader Coordinator in these few months. This week she mobilized 24 of the 40 or so youth leaders trained a couple months ago to go to KwaSiza Bantu for a week, this is wonderful as it costs E400 to E500 per person for transport down there so she has done very well, pray that each youth leader is thoroughly born again, sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit this week. This will give the fire of passion to love and care for the orphan children in their schools and the creative wisdom how to run their Hope Clubs effectively bringing change in the lives of the youth leaders, the children in the school and the communities. We are delighted this has become a reality and we look forward to great things.
The United States Embassy has also provided funds to plant a few vegetable gardens in some of the children’s homes at each school and this will go a long way to providing better nutrition helping them eat better, perform in school better and learn to live more responsibly as they provide for themselves and their siblings.
There are two vitally important areas now we need for our children to be able to effectively be involved in helping the orphan children around that country. 1) funds for being able to go out each week in our Toyota Venture to minister in School assemblies bringing hope and a sure confidence that all will be well and all manner of things will be well as we put out trust in the loving God of our Fathers. It costs us about USd150 per trip to visit 4 schools, run the school assembly then meet and counsel with orphans who are members of the Hope Clubs and our goal is to go out each Tuesday and Thursday each week of the winter term when the weather is dry and the roads passable.
2) Funds to run the week long Hope Clubs that bring such transformation in the lives of the depressed or lost or grieving children ho came. These camps are run by the youth leaders and the Abraham children of New Hope Centre the team of 24 ExtraOrdinary kids(read all about them in our latest book they have written called 24 Extraordinary Children). These camps cost us about USd150 per child for a week and we try to run a week long camp with 60 to 90 children each time. Your prayer and thoughts about supporting this amazing life changing experience for children who otherwise will have no hope of making it in life. This investment in a child and a leader of tomorrow will bring winds of change in Southern Africa and you can be a part of such a significant change.
Our trusted Toyota Venture was gift from the Canadian International Development Fund. SO God has used both the United States and the Canadian Dominion to help us make life changes in the lives of future citizens of our nation and we are so very thankful, may God bless the citizens of these nations.
As of May 2012 Operation Hope has been a great success, reaching out to many orphaned and vulnerable children. Operation Hope has visited many schools, provided youth leader training, held many Hope Clubs and made countless direct visits to those in need in Swaziland. In our latest report on Operation Hope provides a view into this successful program.