Stories & UpdatesOne Home Takes in 30 New Children Impacted By HIV/ AIDS From Kibera Slum in Kenyaby susantanderson

Serving Orphans Worldwide is honored to partner with the Oasis of Hope Home for Children, a place of refuge with a specific mission. This ministry aims to serve orphans who have been impacted by HIV/ AIDS from the Kibera Slum in Nairobi, Kenya.

        

The Kibera slum is the largest slum in Africa with over a quarter of Nairobi’s residents living there. With an estimated 60% of Nairobi’s population occupying only  6% of the land, living conditions are poor and unsanitary.

There are a whole host of issues that affect the people living in the slum, including extreme poverty, substance abuse and addiction, disease and crime. There is no access to clean water, systems for sanitation, or services like healthcare or schools. This is because the land technically belongs to the government, and most of the people living there are unlawful tenants.

Among these issues is the alarming rate in which people are becoming infected with HIV. Latest studies and reports have shown that Kenya had the fastest-growing number of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa in the past decade. The high rates of sexual violence against women and children further escalates the HIV pandemic and trauma.

    

This past week, Oasis Hope Home for Children received a new group of 30 children who have been orphaned or abandoned from the Kibera slums.

Ayub, who also goes by Job, joined the Oasis Hope family this week. His father died around five years ago, and he recently lost his mother several months ago. Up until now, he has been living with his 18 year old sister who also attends high school full time. She works hard trying to wash enough clothes each Saturday to make enough money to be able to pay their rent in the Kibera Slum, and to put a little food on the table. Job also has an eight year old brother, who they are currently trying to locate. Once they locate him, they will petition to also take him into the orphanage.

Ayub’s existence, until now, has been one of survival on a day to day basis. Now, he has a home, regular meals, friends, and an opportunity to finish his education which will give him the chance to pursue his goals of becoming a bank president one day. As a part of the resident program at Oasis, Ayub is also participating in a spiritual growth track which focuses on teaching about true identity and worth in the eyes of God.

Paul Stockard, Director of the home and his wife are excited as they prepare to take in these children. They worked as missionaries in the South American country of Paraguay for 16 years. While they were in Paraguay, they began a ministry that served children living in the city garbage dump, often referred to as “children of the dump.” This ministry grew and developed into a primary school dedicated to serving the poor who would not otherwise have access to education.

                

As they follow the Lord’s direction to oversee this ministry in Nairobi, right next to one of the largest slums in the world, they ask our SOW family to keep them in your prayers! Pray that the Lord will use them and this ministry to give hope, and show these children the never ending, unconditional love of God.

 

A Story of Rescue: How Siblings are Healing and Finding Hope in Kenya

by susantanderson

Kenya is often known for its stunning landscapes, diverse terrain, and fascinating wildlife. Yet, despite the beauty, there are many underlying issues that adversely affect its citizens. Systemic problems such as high crime rates due to unemployment, lack of access to clean water and adequate social services makes the poor living conditions difficult to overcome.

Kenya continues to be one of the most HIV affected countries in the world. With approximately 1.6 million people currently affected by the disease and 36,000 AIDS related deaths reported in 2016, many children are left without family. Unfortunately, due to the stigma that surrounds these deaths, extended family are reluctant to care for these children because of fear that they might bring the disease into their homes.

Despite these challenges, Serving Orphans Worldwide is proud to support Agape Hope Children’s Home, whose purpose is to provide a safe, nurturing environment for vulnerable children in Kenya. Every child who calls Agape Hope their home has a different story. Some have lost both parents and have no relatives or close family friends to take them in. Some have been abandoned due to gender preferences, disabilities and extreme poverty. Many of the children have also been rescued from sex trafficking, forced labor, displacement due to armed conflict and child abuse. No matter the story, Agape believes that each child deserves to be loved, and that they are not defined by their circumstances.

Alina is a happy, healthy nine-year-old with big dreams of becoming a doctor. She hopes that through this career, she can help bring healing to her community. Bursting with pride, Alina often shares with other children that Agape Hope, the place she has called home for the past six years gave new life to her.

     

When Alina arrived at Agape Hope, she weighed just three kilos. Her growth was stunted because she did not have enough food to eat. When she was rescued, she received immediate medical attention and was put on a special diet. Over time, staff at Agape Hope were over joyed watching her gain weight.

            

Alina’s mother was stigmatized and shunned from her family. With no other support systems in place, she turned to abusing illicit substances to cope. She was unable to care for her children or provide for their basic needs as the stress of life drove her deeper into drug abuse. One day, Alina’s brother went out and never returned. It was discovered later that he had drowned trying to find food to feed Alina and her older sister, Ruth.

After the death of their brother, Ruth took on the responsibility of caring for Alina. They were left alone with no food or water for over a month. During this time, Ruth would climb out of the window to beg for ugali from anywhere she could find some. She would bring it back home and share it equally with Alina. However, many times they still went hungry and became desperate.

Alina and Ruth were rescued by Agape Hope Center, right before their mother sadly took her own life. Their father is incarcerated and therefore unable to care for them. This year marks six years since their rescue.

Today, Alina weighs a healthy 25 kilos. Along with the other children at Agape, she receives regular health visits, recommended immunizations, attends school and enjoys three meals a day.

Both Alina and Ruth are thriving, with high hopes for their future. Despite their circumstances, they have been given a new hope and shown the Love of Christ. We look forward to seeing them reach their full potential and the rich life the Lord has planned for them!

             

 

Like Alina and Ruth, Agape Hope is currently helping over 100 vulnerable children, most of which have lost both parents. They are giving the children hope through the knowledge of who they are in Christ and that they are unconditionally loved.

Story by: Susan Anderson

Three Homes Work to Bring Hope to War-Torn Ukraine

by susantanderson

War, drug addiction and disease have exposed the children of Ukraine to trauma that will last them a lifetime. Hope is scarce but Serving Orphans Worldwide is proud to support three children’s homes who are working to change the fate of the children left abandoned and orphaned as a result of the harsh realities they face.

Eastern Ukraine is still involved in a conflict that has left much of the country devastated. Since it began, thousands of civilians have been killed, and 1.7 million have been displaced. As with most systemic problems, they are interwoven, with one prompting another, creating a whole host of problems for its citizens.

Substance abuse is one of the most prominent issues in Ukraine, with heroin being the primary substance of abuse because of easy access and high availability. According to the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), released by the US Department of State, 68,220 drug addicts were registered in Ukraine as of May 2015. However, the report also estimated that the actual number of people with substance abuse disorders in Ukraine could be as high as half a million. With drugs flooding the nation, the country has been ranked as having one of the highest rates of HIV infection in all of Europe.

Pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko knows these realities all too well. In the city of Mariupol, Pilgrim Republic Children’s Home is located just nine miles from the front lines of the war. Many of the children who have been rescued by the ministry were abandoned because of drug addiction and other devastating issues. They were left defenseless on the streets, exposed to crime, drug abuse, sexual assault and violence. Pastor Gennadiy believes that an integral part of the healing process is to restore trust and build positive relationships between the children and law enforcement, and to overcome any negative associations that the children may have because of past interactions.

The staff and volunteers at Pilgrim Republic have been working in partnership with the local Police Department, creating a series of events designed to get to know the children, educate them about resources available and inform them of their rights. Most of all, these events aim to rebuild trust, and help the Pilgrims see the police as a helper and friend.

This past month, the children were nominated by the police for positive attributes like academic studies, appearance, behavior and many others. The winners received personal gifts with police logos and certificates.

 

     

 

The city of Slavyansk, also in Eastern Ukraine is home to another refuge for children that SOW is proud to partner with. Sails of Hope also rescues children who have been abandoned and orphaned because of these same issues.

Recently, Lisa, Nastja and Sascha came to Sails of Hope, and for the first time in three years, they are regularly attending school and they are beginning to see hope for the future.

Four years ago, Lisa, Nastja and Sascha’s parents had a successful business and lived comfortably. When the war started, they had to flee. With the crash of the Ukrainian economy, they lost their business and their mother became sick. After several months of suffering, and without access to medication, their mother died. Their father couldn’t cope and turned to alcohol. For the next two years, their father moved them from city to city in search of income and to find healing from the past, but was unsuccessful. Since reaching out to Sails of Hope, their father is attending church, going through a rehabilitation program and has been sober for two months.

Pearl Orphanage is located in Alexandria, a small village in Northwestern Ukraine. Home to 37 children, Pearl Orphanage is a much needed refuge. Though giving care and love is their top priority, their ultimate goal is to find a permanent placement for their children, so they have a forever family to call their own. This month, they were able to celebrate the adoption of four of their children- Alina and her sister Alexandra, and brothers Roman and Maxim. We are truly blessed with such a wonderful news.

To learn more about how you can get involved or to designate a gift directly to one of these homes in Ukraine, visit: soworldwide.org/donate and 100% will go directly to meeting the needs of these children in Ukraine.

  

Story by: Susan Anderson

A Big Win for the Children & Staff at Shalom in Tanzania

by Reece Anderson

A recent study by the Center for Health Policy and Inequalities and the Duke Global Health Institute looked specifically at the rates of “Poor Health Among Orphaned & Abandoned Children and Their Caregivers.”

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has visited a children’s home in the developing world that conditions are less than favorable in most of these environments. When Serving Orphans Worldwide comes alongside a partner home, we want to do more than just send money each month when there is a real opportunity to increase the quality of life for both the children and staff.

Our four focus areas are Home, Health, Education, and Faith. When we make investments in those areas, children can have a foundation to build on.

In the summer of 2017, we identified a need at Shalom Children’s Home in Tanzania. For the 73 children plus staff who live on the campus, there were only three toilets and no shower stalls on property. One staff toilet and two other toilets shared by all 73 children can become a major health concern.

Thanks to a special gift from a family in the US, they have just completed a major update to their campus and have enough facilities for all children, staff, and even future visitors!

The Story of Shalom:

Edwin’s Story – Dreaming Big in Guatemala

by Reece Anderson

At the age of 7, Edwin and his two siblings were taken to Casa Shalom orphanage in Guatemala after their mother fled the country during a time of civil war and their father was involved in a tragic motorcycle accident.

Before coming to Casa Shalom, he had never been to see a doctor. Edwin loved to play soccer, but he struggled to catch his breath and keep up with all the other children. As part of the intake process, Edwin received medical care, and a life-threatening heart condition was discovered that required immediate surgery.

After multiple surgeries and years of recovery, Edwin was able to experience life to the fullest and participate in sports after school with all of his friends. There was still an emptiness in Edwin’s heart that he carried from losing his family, but God was able to do an amazing work in Edwin’s life.

Having every excuse to settle for mediocrity and to live in a place of bitterness and depression over what was a very traumatic childhood, Edwin decided instead to have joy. God promised him a future and a hope.

After High School, Edwin was able to attend University and live at the Casa Shalom campus for a few more years. His dream for many years was to save up enough money to start a business, so he studied Business Administration. Once he obtained his degree, he got a job as a teller at a local bank and saved up enough money to import a car from the United States and re-sell it for a small profit.

Using the knowledge and tools that he learned from University as well as Casa Shalom, Edwin has been able to build a thriving business that now also employs other former Casa Shalom children including his little sister.

He dreams about a day when his country heals from some of the wounds still left over from the civil war and economic hardships of the past. He believes that God will continue to use him to make a difference in the lives of more young adults who need a hand up and a chance to work and earn a living.

On November 10th, 2017, Edwin travelled to Texas to attend the World Without Orphans Gala where he was presenting with the 2017 Innovation Award.

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