I have spent several days working in the informal settlements in Johannesburg, South Africa. Wall-to-wall poverty, sewage running down the streets and shacks with dirt floors and kids playing in the streets. Recently violence has scattered across several informal settlements in South Africa due to xenophobia that has targeted migrant workers and linked to other socio-economic problems. More and more orphans in Africa due to AIDS, malaria, and Ebola. Lots of problems and lots of needs and lots of challenges.
Despite these challenges there is great news from our recent Country Director’s Meeting in Johannesburg! They came together to review our existing OVC (Orphans and Vulnerable Children), ECD (Early Childhood Development) and WEE (Women’s Economic Empowerment)programs, discuss new program developments, set goals for the future, and discuss donor and partner opportunities. We have some amazing Country Directors! Recently Steve Clark from the UK has become the Country Director for Zambia and his home church the Thames Valley Church has generously expanded their support to HOPE worldwide Zambia. Steve is self-supporting and is moving his family to Zambia in August! Dr. Solange Balou and her team and its community partners in the Ivory Coast reached 22,000 orphans and vulnerable children in the during 2014. Violet Mojo who leads our program in Zimbabwe. reached 1712 orphans and provided Early Childhood Development to 533 young kids ages 0-6. Eleven small businesses have been started there that employ 55 women. Amazingly, Violet is the only staff member there!
Vision 2020: As we think ahead about the collective impact we can have, our Africa leadership team estimates that together we can reach 80,000 additional orphans and vulnerable children by 2020. A further 120,000 youth can be reached with skills building and HIV prevention. Our goal is to reach another 26,000 women and caregivers with training and empowerment during the same period across Africa. Despite great challenges, there is Great news and great plans.