“More than half the population of South Africa is food-insecure, either at risk of hunger or already experiencing it.” This is according to Country Director for HOPE worldwide, Dr Marc Aguirre.
Dr Aguirre says the most recent South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES) shows that only 46% of the population are food secure. A hefty 28% are on the brink of hunger and 26% are actually experiencing hunger right now. In fact over 3.3 million of these hungry South Africans are children. Young children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of poor nutrition. “What happens in early childhood will matter for a lifetime. They need a good start to life, which they can’t do on an empty stomach – we must act early,” continues Aguirre.
HOPE worldwide is an international charity that changes lives by harnessing the compassion and commitment of dedicated staff and volunteers, to deliver sustainable, high-impact, community-based services to the poor and needy. One of their priorities is to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable children, their families and communities by addressing hunger as a primary concern.
Dr Aguirre says, “Our work focuses on improving services to orphans and vulnerable children through three levels of interventions, at the child, family and community levels. There are over 12 million South Africans that are food insecure, so our work is cut out for us.”
INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S BOOK DAY FOR MANDELA DAY: HOPE WORLDWIDE
On 5 April 2014, HOPE Worldwide and its local community partner, the Philisa Isizwe Foundation, hosted 250 children at their kids’ club in Diepsloot in celebration of International Children’s Book Day for Mandela Day.
The event was supported by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, KFC and Coca-Cola and encouraged learning, literacy and leadership development, using Nelson Mandela as a role model.
The children participated in fun, interactive activities that taught lessons from Madiba’s leadership example, and each received a copy of Long Walk to Freedom, the children’s version.
KFC, which supports feeding at the Diepsloot Kids Club, provided a healthy breakfast for all, while Coca-Cola, a long-term supporter of the club, is actively involved in such events that promote youth development.
South Africa’s democratic vision is about giving our youth a fighting chance and giving every person the opportunity to try. Education is still the foundation of this opportunity, and the most basic building block that holds this foundation together is still literacy.
In world where knowledge truly is power and literacy is the skillthat unlocks the gates of opportunity, we all have a responsibility as parents, caregivers, educators, leaders and citizens to instil in our children the critical love of learning so that we can give them the chance to fulfil their dreams.
Charlotte and I thought it was a great time to meet with Nelson Mandela. I was leaving South Africa and she had worked with Graca Machel, his wife, on several programs while employed by Hope Worldwide. We both wanted to thank him for all of his work with the children of South Africa. Graca had visited our Soweto AIDS Program several times. She was awesome and our staff really loved her. She loved our work in Mozambique, her native country.
She set up the meeting at Mandela’s office in Houghton. Charlotte and I went in together to have tea with Madiba (his tribal name). We spoke about his family and his grandchildren. We spoke about my family and my children. We spoke about Charlotte and her health. She was HIV-positive and faced different challenges with her health. Mandela was very interested in how she was doing. We spoke a lot about the children of South Africa, Mandela’s love and concern for them, and all the work we were doing for them.
Mandela expressed a lot of interest in them and our work with them and he thanked us for all of our efforts. I asked Mandela if I could ask him several questions that Marc Aguirre’s boys had given me to ask him about the future of South Africa. He welcomed them and sat up very straight in his chair and in a very dignified manner he gave us a short speech about the future of South Africa and the type of leaders that it needed. From the warm and caring grandfather to the great leader and politician! It was awesome! I thanked him for the birthday card that he had given me for my father at the Global AIDS Conference in Thailand.
We had spoken several times at meetings and conferences about the children of South Africa and I had been to his house in Houghton for meetings several times. Once as the President of South Africa he called my house to accept a hand-made duvet from the women affected by AIDS in Soweto. The couple who was staying with our kids thought it was a joke and almost hung up on him. I met him several times at McDonalds in South Africa where he was enjoying birthday parties with his grandchildren. He was truly a humble and gentle man of the people and a great and powerful force for good and justice.
Six weeks ago I was speaking at a church service in Johannesburg about Isaiah 58. I realized that we weren’t far from his house so we went over to his house in Houghton to express our concern for him. There were a number of family members there and we didn’t want to disturb them so we left a note for him and Graca which thanked for all of their work for the poor with this quote which I think applies to him:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke? . . .
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
It takes a Village! It takes a City! It takes Columbia, South Carolina to raise a child!
We have mobilized a great village in the US to raise a child! Columbia, South Carolina! I recently visited Columbia to ask for help with orphans in Africa. it was one of the most incredible trips I have ever had! Paul Ramsey, Scott Kirkpatrick, Paul Fant, Zack Wise, and Dr. Mesha Waleh have mobilized businessmen, doctors, politicians, grant writers, IT experts, researchers, and church leaders to help orphans and vulnerable children in Africa. We had the following meetings:
1. Governor Nikki Haley – to discuss the needy communities in South Carolina that we could assist and corporate donors that we might contact through her office.
2. Columbia Infectious Disease Forum – to discuss technical assistance with HIV Clinic in Africa
3. Medical Grand Rounds at Richland Hospital – to meet with professors and residents who could help in Africa
4. Businessmen’s Fundraising Dinner – to raise funds from business executives in Columbia
5. Christian Professionals Breakfast with friends – to discuss volunteer opportunities in Africa
6. Visit to Claflin University – to meet with top AIDS researchers and grant writers
7. Grief and Bereavement Group – to discuss challenges with the holidays
8. Columbia Church of Christ – where I spoke on Jesus the Healer
9. Medical School of South Carolina – to met with the former Dean and the Head of Global Health Program to discuss ultrasound and resident opportunities in Africa
The response that we received from these professionals was amazing! Zack Wise who has worked with security at the Capitol for many years arranged the meeting with Governor Nikki Haley for us.
The Governor would like us to assist several disadvantaged counties of South Carolina where her foundation would like to develop and empower communities with our experience from our work in Africa.
We want to thank Zack, Paul, Paul, and Mesha for their tremendous work and we hope and pray that we will utilize this visit to really help the children of Africa. This mobilization effort will also inspire and encourage other cities in the US pursue opportunities to help these children as well.
HOPE worldwide Africa Fall Newsletter: Out of AfricaDr. Marc Aguirre and I had two exciting meetings in Africa in the last month. Firstly, we met with the Country Directors from around Africa in Johannesburg in October, and then met with the HOPE Ivory Coast team and their community partners in Abidjan in November.In Johannesburg we met with Country Directors from Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Mozambique, Ivory Coast, and South Africa for 3 days to review the progress of our Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) programs supported by Coca Cola and other donors. Each child in is followed with a Child Status Index that tracks their vulnerability and progress in terms of nutrition, education, health, shelter, psychosocial support, and child protection. It is exciting to see the progress and all the efforts that the staff have made to serve the children in need.As part of our capacity building efforts, we also discussed expanding our Early Childhood Development and Women’s Economic Empowerment Programs. Women’s Economic Empowerment has also been an incredible benefit to our community sites in Africa! The African programs have already trained 743 women in business and vocational skills and now 1125 women are running their own businesses. Also 1240 women are now involved in Savings and Loan Clubs to support income generating activities.We hope to expand all these programs across Africa through corporate donors and we are excited that these programs will stabilize thousands of households that support orphans and vulnerable children in the desperately poor informal settlements where they live. Another critical discussion we had was on the importance of developing strong Risk Management policies and practices within our organizations. Marc Aguirre and I also just visited the incredible work of HOPE Ivory Coast (HOPE CI) where we work as consultants with Dr. Solange Balou and her team under the CIERA grant.The CIERA grant focuses on ensuring quality care and support to OVC and promoting HIV Prevention. CIERA is funded by the CDC. The HOPE CI team and their community partners have assisted 17,003 orphans and vulnerable children with care and support and they have provided HIV prevention activities to 40,456 adolescents, families, and high risk individuals over the last 3 years. They have also written the National Manuals for the Psychosocial Support of Children and HIV Prevention for HIV-Positive Individuals which will be used across the country.They have also started 156 small businesses for 339 local residents after the recent civil war these small businesses have done a lot for the women of the Ivory Coast who have been in desperate need of help after the war and their 321 children. The AIDS Clinic in Abidjan has treated over 22,000 patients since it opened in 1990 and many of the patients have been women and children. They have followed 2631 patients on ARVs to date and 5515 patients who receive palliative care.
Solange and her staff have done a tremendous amount of work to “look after orphans and widows in their distress” and we thank God for all of their efforts. We want to thank them and all the Country Directors and their staff for their tremendous work! Many thanks for all of your help and prayers!
Dr Mark Ottenweller
Announcement Medical Outreach in Kenya in February 2014
The Kenya Project which is a partnership between Hope Worldwide UK, Hope Worldwide Kenya, and Hope Worldwide ltd will launch its Medical Outreach to the Mukuru Slums outside Nairobi on February 19-23, 2014.
The website is www.thekenyaproject.info for more information. The deadline for registration was October 31, 2013.
The Kenya Project has the following aims:
• To provide a twice yearly 5 day free community medical clinic to some of the poorest Kenyans
• To focus on screening and providing/signposting free treatment to some of the poorest Kenyans with Diabetes, Hypertension and Cervical Cancer.
• To provide a free 5 day programme to children that focuses on early learning development
• To provide free training to local teachers in early learning development
• To provide a music programme for traumatized young people
• To work with small business owners to support them with sustainable business plans.
Here are some other highlights from Africa:
Kenya: HOPE worldwide Kenya has provided HIV/AIDS counseling and testing for more than 200,000 Kenyans. The HOPE worldwideKenya staff manages two medical clinics for the poor and assists five other clinics with prevention services. They have assisted over 12,000 orphans over the last five years and provided job skills training to more than 500 caregivers. All of this was made possible with your support and generosity. Again, many thanks!
Ivory Coast: HOPE worldwide Ivory Coast has treated more than 7,000 HIV/AIDS patients with ARVs and assisted over 20,000 orphans. The staff is training twenty local NGOs to provide care and support for orphans and HIV prevention activities for the local youth. They have written the “National Guidelines for Psychosocial Support for Children in the Ivory Coast.” They also started 150 small business for 300+ people affected by the civil war that occurred there two years ago.
South Africa: Dr. Marc Aguirre and his team have launched an Early Childhood Development (ECD) program to help children from birth to 6 years of age with nutrition education, character building and child protection. they have just received large grants for ECD from Walmart and Yum! Brands and an ECD training program for theHOPE worldwide Country Directors was held in Southern Africa during June 2013. We hope to replicate these ECD programs across Africa in other communities that we serve.
Botswana, Kenya, Ivory Coast and South Africa: The staff of HOPE worldwide assists the National OVC (Orphans and Vulnerable Children) Steering Committees with national policies and strategies. In those countries, they are having a national impact on the lives of millions of orphans. So much has been accomplished because of the wonderful support we have received from so many. Thank you again for your kindness and generosity.