What a year! God has been so faithful to Children’s HopeChest in 2016, and because of His provision, and our donors, sponsors, community leaders, churches and prayer partners we’ve been able to accomplish a number of very important milestones.
In May, HopeChest was named a Best Christian Workplace—the first time we’ve achieved this distinction! October was an exciting month at HopeChest, we crossed the 10,000 children sponsored threshold, and added 25 new community partners year to date. And during October, we celebrated 20 years of Ministry in Russia!
If you’ve followed HopeChest for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve heard us talk about the “Survive, Thrive, Succeed” component of our unique model. This year, we’ve seen encouraging progress in communities around the world moving into the Succeed category. This is a tremendous accomplishment towards our vision of individuals and communities achieving self-sustainability—the only way to truly reduce poverty in the developing world.
Many of our CarePoint communities have successfully established “Village Savings and Loan Associations” (VSLAs) and CarePoints are identifying and launching Income Generating Activities (IGAs). In 2016, we saw many IGAs start and others really flourish. It’s amazing to see the creativity and innovation these communities have — once they have been provided hope. One community in Uganda has established an aluminum recycling/smelting operation that is producing pots and pans that are sold at market. In Ethiopia families have opened kiosks in nearby markets that sell water, food and other goods. CarePoint bakeries, providing employment and delicious baked goods, have been opened in both Uganda and Ethiopia.
Grain and Flour Milling operations in Ethiopia are flourishing, providing 25+ families livable wages and each family has started a savings account. Many Tailoring and a few Shoe Making enterprises are located at several CarePoints which teach vocational skills and are income generating activities in their own right. It is a delight to see the industriousness and creativity of communities being unleashed.
Another huge blessing this year has been the faithfulness of our sponsors. We have a record number of sponsors engaged in relationship, and our ongoing engagement rates hovers around 92%. The faithfulness of these individuals is so inspiring and is what fuels our ability to create sustainable transformation.
On the program side, we’ve been able to adapt the powerful Grief and Trauma Training Curriculum developed in Swaziland and expanded for communities in Uganda, and have already seen an extraordinary impact on children and local staff.
God has also blessed us with our team at our Colorado Headquarters. God has graced us with an amazingly talented, passionate and capable team. Late in 2016 we began piloting the ForGood platform that will greatly improve CarePoint reporting and communications, including our ability to share impact stories back to our communities and sponsors here in the US. This platform, along with our team puts HopeChest at the forefront of nonprofits in systems and operational excellence.
As I mentioned in my Thanksgiving Blog, I am so grateful for God’s provision. 2016 has indeed been a fantastic year of blessings and impact.
I invite you to join us in praying for 2017, and should you wish to join us on a Vision Trip, sponsoring a child, or supporting us through our Invest In Hope program, we would be grateful. God’s blessings to you and your family this New Year!