Stories

A Father to Tie Her Shoes: A Ugandan Pastor’s Adoption Story

In 2014, then just a baby, Andaiye* was found abandoned in a drainage ditch in Uganda’s capital city, Kampala. After she received medical treatment, it was determined she was HIV positive. She was referred to Child’s i Foundation’s Malaika Family Centre, a short-term transitional shelter for children, while social workers began searching for Andaiye’s family. Through local radio and newspaper ads, social workers with Child’s i Foundation are often successful in finding a child’s birth family, as reunification, when safe and appropriate, is the preferred option along the continuum of family care. Andaiye’s family, however, could not be located. [...]

A Father to Tie Her Shoes: A Ugandan Pastor’s Adoption Story 2017-09-21T17:23:51+00:00

Staying Engaged Throughout the Year

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. Everyone at Burke Presbyterian Church knows the word Kibwezi! Over the years, Burke’s engagement, coupled with resources mobilized by Kibwezi area churches, has supported a range of locally led initiatives helping hundreds of children and families. These initiatives have included the building and staffing of a primary [...]

Staying Engaged Throughout the Year 2017-08-16T12:19:01+00:00

Partnering to Make a Difference in Ethiopia

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. In addition to drawing in large numbers of young people—including many guests who are not regular churchgoers—these two special services have become a way for [...]

Partnering to Make a Difference in Ethiopia 2017-09-19T10:35:02+00:00

From Church to Child, Church and Community

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. The Journey decided to partner with [...]

From Church to Child, Church and Community 2017-08-16T12:15:38+00:00

Better Together for Children and Families in Uganda

The crested crane is a symbol of pride in Uganda. It is both the national bird and the name of Uganda’s most popular sports team—the Uganda Cranes. There is, however, another organization with a national reach utilizing this symbol. CRANE, also known as the Children at Risk Action Network, is an organization based in Kampala, Uganda that utilizes the strength of networks to catalyze best practices in working with vulnerable children and families. CRANE consists of 134 churches, schools, and faith-based organizations (FBOs) that span the entire country. Members of CRANE benefit from a shared vision and support from the [...]

Better Together for Children and Families in Uganda 2017-07-26T16:40:34+00:00

The Pathway Home

Each child living on the street in Jinja, Uganda has a unique story, but many of their stories have similar themes. Broken homes, poverty, abuse, neglect, and addiction are common threads. And many of these children have something else in common—a family who loves them—and if provided with the appropriate supports, these families could welcome their children home. The passionate and well-trained staff at Jinja Connection run a day program open to children and youth who live on the street. Their goal is to walk with each child, at his or her own pace, never forcing or demanding, but encouraging [...]

The Pathway Home 2017-07-26T16:19:57+00:00

Breaking Isolation, Empowering Families

Fifty-one percent of Cambodia’s population is under the age of 24. This is a trend found in numerous developing countries, and some see these disproportionate numbers as a potential problem. Craig Greenfield, however, saw it as a resource when he first began to look for ways to provide support for a large number of families with vulnerable children living in his Cambodian community. In typical Gospel-centered fashion where the unlikely is the likely, God is using those who are often seen as the recipients of development efforts to be the change makers. The opportunity for youth to come alongside vulnerable [...]

Breaking Isolation, Empowering Families 2017-05-09T14:22:31+00:00

Expanding a Vision of Care for Kenyan Children

After years of caring for vulnerable children within a residential setting, Vision Africa, a faith-based organization in Kenya, expanded their vision by adjusting their strategies to support the healthy development of children in families. Vision Africa was founded in 2001 by John and Vera Packard in response to the overwhelming needs of the children they encountered in the community as they administered a children’s home in Nairobi. Initially, they took on the management of two children’s homes from an organization that was unable to continue their administration. John and Vera’s granddaughter, Deborah Kimathi, eventually took over leadership of the organization [...]

Expanding a Vision of Care for Kenyan Children 2017-09-12T14:32:08+00:00

HOPE International: Making a Way to Respond to God’s Call to Care for the Fatherless

In southern Rwanda, Jean Marie and his wife own and operate the only restaurant in their small town. They also have a successful farm producing an abundance of crops. Their newfound financial stability has allowed the couple to support 11 orphans in addition to their own 5 children. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a young widow named Mama Atiya has a thriving fish business that has granted her financial security, allowing her to adopt 4 orphans from her community into her family and making her the mother of 10 children. Yet just a few years ago, Jean Marie and [...]

HOPE International: Making a Way to Respond to God’s Call to Care for the Fatherless 2017-07-26T19:00:49+00:00

Identity Mission: Fostering a Continuum of Family Care Options for Honduran Children

Best practice in caring for orphaned and vulnerable children indicates the need for a continuum of care options for children currently living in—or at risk of being sent to—institutions. While a growing number of ministry leaders, practitioners, and researchers agree that children are best cared for within families, the question of what type of family placement setting looms large. One child may have living parents with whom they can reunite, while another may have no trace of a family. It is God’s inherent love for every child that compels so many to dedicate time and resources to orphans; and it [...]

Identity Mission: Fostering a Continuum of Family Care Options for Honduran Children 2017-07-26T16:29:58+00:00

When a Mother Embraces Hope

Every day in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city, there are mothers who rise in the Kore’ slum not knowing what they will feed their children, how they will provide for their basic needs, and if they will find work for the day. This reality is especially true for the multitude of single mothers with little or no help from family members. Without support, work is a daunting task, as access to childcare is out of reach for most. However, for some women in Kore’, this is changing through the work of Embracing Hope Ethiopia (EHE). In 2011, Jerry and [...]

When a Mother Embraces Hope 2017-09-12T15:09:36+00:00

Casa Viva: Family as Sacred Space

For a child, there is no substitute for the lively discussion, the eye contact, the emotional support, and the affection that take place within families. Jill Aspegren, Co-Executive Director of Casa Viva, offers a compelling appeal to care for children who have been separated from their families: “The time has come for the local church to learn again the ancient art of hospitality—to welcome the guest in the name of Christ. Children know when they have entered the home of a real family—the threshold is a sacred space.” Prior to Casa Viva, Jill and her husband Philip codirected a children’s [...]

Casa Viva: Family as Sacred Space 2017-07-26T16:32:46+00:00

Heaven’s Family: A Story of Donor Transformation

“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, is [...]

Heaven’s Family: A Story of Donor Transformation 2017-07-26T17:58:37+00:00

Gatekeeping in Thailand: Reinforcing God’s Design for Family and Protecting Children

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 [...]

Gatekeeping in Thailand: Reinforcing God’s Design for Family and Protecting Children 2017-07-26T17:58:54+00:00

Potter’s House: Transformation Through Livelihood Strengthening

In the garbage dumps of Guatemala, children are born and raised in an environment that can impede human flourishing. They grow up in the middle of society’s waste, which makes it difficult to see a future beyond the desolation. In this community, family culture encourages partnering and starting a family of their own when they reach adolescence, with many children leaving formal education behind by age 12. It is not uncommon for 14-year-olds to begin living with a girlfriend or boyfriend; marriage rituals are rarely celebrated and it is the general custom not to marry. There is widespread lack of [...]

Potter’s House: Transformation Through Livelihood Strengthening 2017-07-26T17:59:10+00:00

No Ordinary Love Ministries: Reuniting Children and Families in Ethiopia

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 her [...]

No Ordinary Love Ministries: Reuniting Children and Families in Ethiopia 2017-07-26T17:59:27+00:00

Supporting the Church Body to Keep Families Together

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 [...]

Supporting the Church Body to Keep Families Together 2017-07-26T17:59:46+00:00

Challenging Heights: Platforms for Children’s Voices to Be Heard

Jesus was quick to say, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them” (Matthew 19:14). His words were countercultural in a time and place when children’s voices were rarely heard; His words continue to provoke our thoughts and actions as we engage with children, especially those most marginalized. The Faith to Action Initiative recognizes the need to create platforms for children’s voices to be heard as one of its core guiding principles: “It is important to listen to the voices of children and families, respond to their concerns, and involve them in meaningful decisions that affect [...]

Challenging Heights: Platforms for Children’s Voices to Be Heard 2017-07-26T18:00:03+00:00

Pivoting Methods to Create Sustainable Impact: One Woman’s Story of Transition to Family-Based Care

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 Ugandan [...]

Pivoting Methods to Create Sustainable Impact: One Woman’s Story of Transition to Family-Based Care 2017-07-26T18:00:23+00:00

Bright Hope: Providing Family Support through Church Partnership

Children grow best in families. This is true whether a child is born into great wealth or extreme poverty. However, in far too many communities around the world, it is poverty that is preventing children from growing up in the care of a family. Poverty is a driving force that pushes children into orphanages or thrusts them out into a life on the streets, creating social orphans and vulnerable children. Fortunately, local churches and faith-based NGOs around the world are partnering together and responding to the needs of these children in the best possible way: supporting families to provide for [...]

Bright Hope: Providing Family Support through Church Partnership 2017-07-26T16:40:33+00:00
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