By God’s grace, 2015 was an exciting year for HopeChest. There have been so many stories of impact, transformation, restoration, and of dignity and hope. Several years ago, we launched the Swaziland Leadership Academy. This three-year educational program equips young people in our CarePoints with life skills and powerful opportunities for leadership, service and employment.
This is a fantastic example of how our partnership model works – it’s not about providing aid, although sometimes that is necessary. It’s about engaging remote communities, helping them build and sustain their vision for transforming their community and providing resources to propel them on a path to self-sustainability.
We have been blessed to have third-year Swaziland Leadership Academy students, or shepherds, initiate community outreach programs to help the most impoverished children in their CarePoints. What an honor to witness the hope and transformation of this community!
2015 also saw significant partnerships emerge in response to severe drought conditions in Ethiopia and Swaziland. In the Hosanna area of Ethiopia, children served by the CarePoint live far from clean water. During the rainy season, travel is almost impossible and families have no choice but to drink rainwater that falls from the roof. This water is not safe to drink and puts children at significant risk of illness, diarrhea and even death. The CarePoint launched what we call a water kiosk, which functions similar to a gas station. It provides safe water to children at the CarePoint, for individuals shopping in the marketplace, and even provides income-generating opportunities for women in the community.
In Swaziland, through a four-way partnership between HopeChest, Haven Field Community Church, the local Es’Khaleni community and local business, we launched the Es’Khaleni Water Project. With the help of local volunteers and a trench-digging machine provided by a local business, we built a water tap just outside of our CarePoint. The community now has safe drinking water without dangerous health risks, or the inconvenience of walking long distances and carrying heavy water jugs.
2015 saw great progress toward our targeted goals. We are 92.5% toward our goal of 10,000 sponsored children. We have increased our sponsor retention rate to 91%, and we saw over 11,500 children impacted by our programs. We initiated 13 new partnerships, launched four connect communities and eight new churches, and saw almost 2,000 new sponsorships initiated.
We are exceedingly grateful for God’s provision for our ministry and there are many more stories of impact and hope. Please make this blog a regular stopping point and stay abreast of the exciting stories happening across the globe through community-to-community partnerships at Children’s HopeChest.