Stories & UpdatesOrphaned Girls in Tanzania Defy the Odds through the Power of Educationby 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.

 

Story by: Susan Anderson

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.

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:

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