Today, Wednesday, October 5th, Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) will host a webinar entitled, “Everyone Can Do Something: Building a Foundational Culture of Orphan Care in Your Church." This webinar will explore how we can move caring for the orphaned and vulnerable from the peripherals of what our church does into the foundational culture of who our church is. As we look at how the cooperative efforts of the Body of Christ work themselves out through the care of the orphaned and vulnerable, we find the same premise to hold true— we’re not all called to do the same thing, but [...]
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“I’d rather work in the fields of my village with my own family than live in an orphanage,” explained a Burmese girl to Philip Barker, Director of Heaven’s Family UK. She was the very first child Philip met in Myanmar (Burma) eight years ago when he visited orphanages as a child sponsor through the organization’s Orphan’s Tear Ministry. Her sentiment—along with the ever-expanding body of research on family-based care—is what compelled Heaven’s Family to radically change their approach to caring for vulnerable children. Heaven’s Family, a Christian missions organization with offices in the United States and the United Kingdom, [...]
Along the Thai-Burma border are communities fraught with poverty and filled with families struggling to survive. The communities mostly comprise people who fled Burma due to decades of violence and oppression. Their children, stateless and without citizenship or official identity, are at high risk of exploitation, chronic poverty, abuse, and human trafficking. Yet, in the midst of this brokenness is a group of people who, choosing to follow Christ’s example, enter into their neighbors’ suffering and work to bring about restoration and hope. This group is the community outreach team of Compasio, a Christian relief and development organization focused on [...]
In 2015, 158 children were reunited with their families through the work of No Ordinary Love Ministries (NOLM). The mission of NOLM is “to bless and serve people living in extreme poverty in Ethiopia, and beyond,” and one of the ways they live this out is through reuniting separated children with their families. One such family is that of a young girl named Tesfanesh. Wanting to help support her parents, she agreed to travel from her village to the capital to find employment. After only a week in Addis Ababa, Tesfanesh ran away, unable to endure the demands of [...]
Working in partnership with local initiatives is an effective response to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children. Preventing family separation, and children being welcomed into new loving, safe, and stable families is what success looks like in this type of work. In communities all around the world, church partnerships play a vital role in upholding the importance of family and supporting care of orphans and vulnerable children. An organization doing such critical work is World Orphans. The US-based nonprofit works to empower the church to care for orphans by partnering with churches and facilitating direct church-to-church partnerships to support [...]
In the local Ugandan dialect, Akola means simply “she works.” Yet, for many Ugandan women and their families, it represents much more. Akola Project began in 2007 with the mission to empower women in poverty to transform the well-being of their families and communities through economic development. Since its start, Akola has helped create economic stability for 400 women and over 3,000 dependents in their care. This impact is possible because of a young woman’s willingness to pivot her method of achieving her calling. In 2004, Brittany Merrill Underwood, Akola’s founder, was moved to compassion after meeting Sarah, a [...]
Living as a religious minority anywhere in the world can present unique challenges. It can impact daily life, impeding access to education, livelihood opportunities, and economic stability. That is what led Egyptian-born Nermien Riad to found the organization Coptic Orphans. Since its establishment in 1988, Nermien has encountered thousands of orphans and vulnerable children from Egypt’s Coptic Christian community and has seen that for children without a father, life is especially challenging. When husbands and fathers are not present, children and mothers do not have a voice in Egyptian society. Further, despite the country’s rich Christian heritage, around only [...]
In Rwanda, an estimated 860,000 children and young people have lost one or both parents from the 1994 genocide, HIV and AIDS, or poverty. The strain that this has placed on families is overwhelming. In 2012 there were 3,300 children living in 33 institutions, commonly known as orphanages, across the country. Hope and Homes for Children (HHC), an organization working to place vulnerable children in family-based care and prevent institutional care for children, is partnering with the Rwandan government, UNICEF, and other partners to transition children out of all 33 institutions and into loving, stable, safe families. As of December [...]
Family-based, alternative care for orphans and vulnerable children is on the rise in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Alison Atkinson and her husband Narel joined Australian Christian Churches International Relief (ACCI) 10 years ago, as field workers in Colombo. They established the HelpKids Centre, a local, community-based organization that strengthens local families living in slums and severe poverty. It functions as a community center, providing early childhood education, daycare support, counseling for parents, and medical assistance, supports women in accessing vocational training, and coordinates women’s and children’s clubs. The Atkinson’s approach to care for vulnerable children has changed over the years. After [...]
In Armenia there are around 4,500 children living in residential institutions, a situation caused by the weak social protection system, an insufficient number of community-based services and lack of gate-keeping mechanisms due to overall weakness and inefficiency of the system, leftover from the Soviet Union. In the last decade, the Government of Armenia (GoA) initiated the process of reorganization of residential institutions for children and began making significant investments in the development of social services and program alternatives to residential care. However, Armenia faces multiple difficulties in sustaining various initiatives and programs, and the NGO sector and UN agencies [...]
The Faith to Action Initiative’s newest publication Key Research on Orphanages and Family Care: An Annotated Bibliography is available online for download. This resource – a companion to Children, Orphanages, and Families: A Summary of Research to Help Guide Faith-Based Action (Summary of Research) is provided as a working bibliography of key research and evidence-based policy papers on the care of orphans and other vulnerable children separated from parental care. Most of the documents in this bibliography are recent research studies, published within the last seven years. These studies include a range of research methods and approaches, from case studies [...]
Burke Presbyterian Church is a 600-member church located in Burke, Virginia, within commuting distance of Washington, DC. In 1988, Burke began a partnership with the churches near the rural village of Kibwezi, Kenya, to minister to those in greatest need. This relationship, now spanning over two decades, has become integral to Burke’s identity. […]
Both demographically and chronologically, City Church is a young church. Founded in 2007 and based in Tallahassee, Florida, the church’s membership is made up mostly of students and young professionals. City Church’s passion for outreach “in an ever-changing culture” is reflected in its meeting places, beginning with the high school auditorium where services were first held, to its current home in a warehouse and the local nightclub where Easter and Christmas services meet each year. […]
The Journey Church, a 175-member church in San Jose, California, is a small church making a big difference for orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe. It all began when The Journey’s pastor joined a fellow church member on a trip led by World Vision to the rural community of Limpopo. Returning to their home church, the men shared what they had seen: heartbreaking loss due to poverty and HIV/AIDS, as well as life-saving work being done to address the issue. The Journey was inspired to take action and begin raising both awareness and support. […]
Hundreds of other pastors, laypersons, ministry and mission team leaders, faculty and students have found participation in a Journeys of Faith study group to be a great way to engage and learn together. Susie Reeder, Minister of Missions at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, shared her personal, positive experience leading a Journeys of Faith study at her church. Read her blog here. You can organize a study group through your church, school, mission team, or with friends and family. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also click here to [...]
We are proud to welcome you to our new Faith to Action website! Launched on September 23, 2013, www.faithtoaction.org is designed for ease of use whether you are connecting from your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Our goal is to provide the Christian faith community–churches, mission groups, and individuals–with valuable resources, inspiring stories, and practical tools to inform and support your ministries in response to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children. We invite you to explore the special features below, to share our website with others, and to give us your feedback so that we can continue to improve our site to better serve you.
The Faith to Action Initiative (formerly called the Better Care Network Faith-Based Outreach Committee) was first formed in 2006 in response to a growing concern about the high number of orphanages being funded and built in response to a growing concern about the high number of orphanages being funded and built in Africa in the wake of the HIV and AIDS crisis. We are a collaborative initiative made up of a group of individuals representing a range of Christian faith-based and child-focused organizations working to support the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Africa (and beyond) and committed to strengthening [...]
Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit 2014, May 1-2, 2014. The Christian Alliance for Orphans’ annual Summit inspires, equips and connects participants for adoption, foster care, and global orphan ministry through workshops and plenary sessions. Each year thousands of pastors, grassroots advocates, organizational leaders, church ministry heads, and other global leaders attend.
It kept me up nights and made my head ache…not to mention my heart and my belly. I couldn’t wrap my head around the staggering numbers--millions of children who had been orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS and other causes. My heart was drawn again and again to Sub-Saharan Africa – the epicenter of the crisis – even though I had never been there. I began to dig deeper and the stories, as Kay Warren often says, were “seriously disturbing.” I was moved to action. I began to join forums, attend meetings and to educate myself. I prayed a lot. [...]
The Nanny State: Orphanages are Closing, but Not Quickly Enough. The Economist, August 17, 2013. This article raises the issue of the need for institutional care reform, noting that orphanages can be damaging to a child’s development, can prevent a child from living with their family, and are more costly than family care. The article references research by Faith to Action Advisory Group member, John Williamson.