Stories & UpdatesJennifer and Gomathi: Overcoming Obstacles and Pursuing their Dreams of a Career in Nursingby susantanderson

The caste system, gender biases, child marriage and poverty are just some of the factors that contribute to the deprivation of education among girls in India, especially for orphaned and abandoned girls. In fact, only 1 in 100 girls will complete the 12th grade.

Girls are at a higher risk for abandonment than boys in India, especially for families who are poor and marginalized. With limited systems of support for the elderly, many families see boys as superior as they provide the best protection against problems as they age, such as loss of mobility, poverty and lack of access to health care.

Boys can provide financial support and guarantee a future wife to bring into the family to help with domestic duties. Meanwhile, cultural norms require parents to save money for an expensive dowry and costly wedding for girls. In addition, as their daughters get married, they will leave, along with their labor to serve another family. In this male dominated society, a girl’s future is often spoken for.

The staff and children at Destiny Village Children’s Home know these realities too well. Located in Tirunelvelli, an ancient city in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, Destiny Village is an oasis in the dessert and home to 39 children who have been orphaned or abandoned. Of these children, many are young girls who would otherwise have to face significant disadvantages, especially when it comes to education. Regardless of gender, all children at Destiny Village are enrolled in public school until they complete the 12th grade and are provided with safe transportation to and from the campus.

Investing in better access to education for girls in India not only improves their lives, but their local community as well. Research shows that girls in developing countries who complete secondary school have much better outcomes. They are healthier, more independent and their children have an increased likelihood to succeed. Furthermore, they are likely to actively participate in the labor force and be empowered to be voices and decision makers in their families and communities.

Jennifer and Gomathi have already defied the odds by completing their high school education. Jennifer came to Destiny Village when she was 12. Her father died when she was young, and she became fully orphaned when her mother passed away from unforeseen illnesses. Gomathi also grew up at Destiny Village. When she was three, she lost her father from a car accident and her mother became sick shortly after. They both learned that despite their circumstances,  they have a God who is able to give them strength to overcome and pursue their dreams.

           

Both girls have a big dream to complete nursing school. They would like to pursue their degree via a three-year nursing course at the Salvation Army Catherine Booth Hospital and School, located in Nagercoil, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu India.

The total cost to cover tuition, accommodation, transportation, books, supplies, uniforms and bills for three years is $7,800 USD (or $1300 USD per year, per child). Jennifer and Gomathi believe that despite the message they have heard all their lives, girls do have the right to learn and the power to lead their families and communities.

If you are interested in sponsoring Jennifer and Gomathi through nursing school, please click here. You will receive updates on their progress and see how your dollars are literally changing their lives and opening doors to new possibilities.

One Home’s Unique Approach towards Sustainability amidst Orphan Crisis in Eastern Ukraine.

by susantanderson

War, substance abuse, unemployment, and poverty have fueled the growing orphan crisis in Eastern Ukraine, leaving communities burdened without the capacity to care for them.

Although we know that adoption and family reunification achieve the best outcomes for orphaned and vulnerable children, it is not an immediate option for most children in Eastern Ukraine. That is why high-quality children’s homes are a necessary part in the continuum of orphan care. However, when children’s homes begin to work alongside their community, sharing resources and knowledge, they can together become empowered to develop systems of care that are not only culturally appropriate, but are also long term and sustainable. This is the approach that Sails of Hope, one of our partner homes decided to adopt to improve sustainability for them as well as achieve the best outcomes of orphans in their city.

Slavyansk, located in Eastern Ukraine has struggled since the collapse of the Soviet Union. While conditions have improved in recent years, the people continue to grapple with poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse, and high HIV and crime rates. Many are incarcerated, leaving children on their own and too often, parents die early because of poor access to healthcare.

With limited spots, and with so many children needing immediate care, Sails of Hope had to work in collaboration with their local community. With the economic uncertainty brought about by the war, fear became the biggest barrier that prevented local and extended family members to take in children long term. Despite this fear, some families in Slavyansk have stepped up to foster and adopt, giving Sails of Hope the freedom to take in those who have the most immediate needs. Although still an issue, it alleviated the burden of having to decide which child needed care the most and which child had to return to the streets.

Knowing the economic turmoil, and that in many cases, children who belong to struggling families end up being dropped off at the orphanage, Staff at Sails of Hope realized that perhaps, by investing in a program that supports and empowers families who have taken in orphaned children through the difficult times will in turn, help them with their own sustainability plan. This would be both cost effective for the home and gives the child the benefit of being part of a family.

They got creative and found a way to stretch their support dollars to develop a livestock program. The aim of this program is to get these families, many who have taken in orphaned children through these uncertain times by generating a stream of income and putting food on the table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This livestock program has been extremely helpful to Anya. Anya’s father was killed in the war in 2014. Her mother suffers from substance abuse and addiction, leaving Anya to care for her own baby and younger siblings with little to no support. As part of the livestock program, Sails of Hope wanted to empower Anya to continue caring for her family by purchasing 20 chicks to help support her and her family.  She will be able to produce eggs, sell them on the market and provide food on the table.

              

In addition, they purchased two beehives for the Khamidulnik family, who took in two disabled children, so they could produce and sell honey on the market.

Serving Orphans Worldwide is proud to support Sails of Hope, along with two other homes in Ukraine. Currently, Sails of Hope is caring for 39 children who are long term residents and are about to receive 3 additional children. They not only provide basic needs such as shelter, nutritious meals and a warm bed, but they also provide access to healthcare, education, and extra-curricular activities and programs such as summer camps, hiking, bicycling and much more. Bible studies and Christ centered activities give all the children the opportunity to know that they are loved unconditionally by their heavenly Father, and that they have a promising future despite their circumstances.

         

Sails of Hope and the recipients of the livestock program are continuing to care for these children, impacting the orphan crisis in Slavyansk one child at a time.

 

 

 

 

Orphaned Girls in Tanzania Defy the Odds through the Power of Education

by susantanderson

Quality education can be a powerful agent for building stronger communities and bridges out of poverty. As the number of orphaned and abandoned children increase, their communities become less capable of addressing their basic needs, including their ability to access education.

Education gives people more than the gift of knowledge. It allows them to acquire skills to effectively advocate for themselves and provides a way out from the cycle of illiteracy and poverty.

The truth is, skilled, passionate, and hardworking individuals exist all over the globe. However, for many, opportunities to receive quality education and training are scarce, and in some parts of the world, non-existent.

A recent United Nations report shows that orphaned and vulnerable children in developing countries are less likely to finish primary school, with Sub-Saharan Africa leading the way with the highest rate of children dropping out of school in the world.

Poor health, social oppression, early marriage, lack of transportation and trauma are just some of the barriers that prevent successful completion of school among orphaned children, especially girls. In fact, 28 million girls between the ages of about 6 and 15 across Africa are not in school and many will never have the chance to ever enter a classroom.

Recognizing this crisis in their own community, a group of Tanzanian women established Olof Palme Orphans Education Centre, which later became Bethsaida Orphans Education Centre, in 2005. Their vision was to address the barriers that prevent orphaned girls from becoming educated. Their vision was to provide a quality secondary and/or vocational education program along with free housing, food and counseling, so that these girls can have the best chance at succeeding.

Today, Bethsaida serves over 160 orphaned and vulnerable girls from different communities in Tanzania. During their stay at Bethsaida, the girls will study English, Kiswahili, history, math, and several sciences.  At completion, the girls will have the opportunity to participate in scientific activities, develop competitive analytical and problem-solving skills and advance to tertiary level programs. For many, even if they defy the odds and complete high school, they don’t see tertiary programs as a viable option. This is due to the high fees associated with tuition and supplies due upon admission. Without access to post-secondary education and vocational programs, they risk continuing to be dependent in adulthood, and potentially returning to the same harsh environments, without the skills or opportunities to change their circumstances.

Bethsaida aims to change this. This past month, 16 girls from Bethsaida were selected by the Tanzanian government to attend an advanced level studies program. In addition, 10 students were accepted into public and private Vocational Training Colleges.

 

     

Serving Orphans Worldwide is proud to support homes around the globe like Bethsaida, who are providing orphaned children with the opportunities that could potentially change the course of their lives, their communities and generations to come.

 

Recent Updates from the Field

by susantanderson

Every day, children who have been left orphaned and abandoned around the world are rescued and given a second chance at life through our partner homes. These homes rely on our SOW family for prayers, leadership, and resources as they continue to serve vulnerable children in the field. No matter the amount, every dollar given to SOW will always go to directly to the field and not to any administrative costs.

We wanted to share updates from the field, highlighting some exciting things that have been happening at our partner homes. Of course, these updates are just a snapshot of how your support and prayers impact these children and their communities across the globe.

This past quarter, our homes have been busy! If you are interested in supporting any of the following homes, or would like additional updates from any of our other partner homes, feel free to reach out or donate here!

 

      

Casa Shalom- Guatemala

  Hogar El Camino- Paraguay   

Hope House- Honduras

Casa Hogar Maria Atkinson Children’s Home- Mexico

New Life Children’s Home- Myanmar

Pearl Orphanage- Ukraine

Pilgrim Republic Children’s Home- Ukraine

Sails of Hope Children’s Home- Ukraine

Chiang Rai Children’s Home- Thailand

Phebe Grey Memorial Orphanage- Liberia

Compassion Orphanage- DR Congo

Grace Orphanage- Uganda

Agape Hope Children’s Center, Kenya

El Shaddai Rescue Home, India

 

 

One Home Takes in 30 New Children Impacted By HIV/ AIDS From Kibera Slum in Kenya

by 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.

 

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