Stories give us glimpses into the reality of life and the power of a human being to change.
At the end of each quarter, we evaluate our ongoing training in East and Southern Africa and analyze its impact.
What is the role of capacity-building in a community? Who are the critical community influencers (gatekeepers) who need to be targeted to see the lives of children improved? Our training impacts parents, pastors, school teachers, Sunday school leaders, and local government leaders.
As we analyzed the data, two distinct stories emerged. One is that we are still living in the reality of family breakdown. The loss of biological caregivers, whether due to HIV, Aids, Covid, or abandonment, has a huge impact on children. We read of children harshly treated, of beatings and hunger. We read of sexual abuse of young girls in return for their school fees to be paid. We come face to face with stories that turn our stomachs and make us want to escape the pain expressed in a single quote.
And then, the other side emerges—the power of a human to make a decision and bring change. A father who acknowledges that he has failed his children asks for their forgiveness and changes his behavior. The beatings end, and conversations begin. There is the pastor who intercedes for a child and removes them from harm and the Sunday school teacher who sees the children’s nickname for her change from “the unbearable one” to “holy one’ as she starts loving them. The host of a seminar who discovers that children with disabilities are being hidden away in her community pursues them and makes them lovable.
Why do we continue to do capacity-building? Why continue to work for funding to sponsor these grassroots partners who serve the forgotten and isolated?
Truth sets communities free. There is hope for every child who is sinned against and for every broken adult in need of healing. A human who sees a different way, who chooses to love, forgive, stand on behalf of, and welcome, has the power to make a difference.
We witness the power of humans who choose to learn, change, love, and bring hope – this is the antidote to the shame and pain in which communities are trapped. As we continue our work in 2024, we know we will see more hope, love, and laughter return to families and communities. It will be a great year!