In his famous Moon speech, President John F. Kennedy said, “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard …”
During the last week of August the leaders all the Villages of Hope met in Lilongwe, Malawi for a Villages of Hope – Africa Leadership meeting. There were 25 of us in total, some were Village Directors, others Administrators, some had been doing this for years, others were new, yet they all had an interest in bringing hope to children in need.
We were not all Canadians; there was Delson from Burundi, Pastor and Mrs. Zowa from Zimbabwe, Everlyn from Kitwe, John and Jane from Kenya, and our South African friends who are working in Mongu, Zambia. All of us came from various backgrounds – some from backgrounds of ministry, others business, and some from teaching and nursing.
Despite our differences in background, we all had one thing in common: “A desire to care for orphans and vulnerable children in Africa”.
We covered many topics over our three days, discussing Child Protection Policies, Care Plans, transitioning of children back into society once they have grown, and how to best promote our work. The main focus, however, was on house mothers. We discussed how to empower the house mothers of VOH – see, house mothers face a great many challenges as they care for and raise 8 children who are not biologically theirs. We discussed ways that we as leaders can help to help these house mothers in this difficult task and offer support where needed most. We also looked at what characteristics we look for in our house mothers and how that will affect our decisions regarding hiring future mothers.
We discovered in our discussions that the work of a house mother is challenging and the work we do as Village of Hope is hard. It’s not just the work of providing homes for orphans that is hard, rather, all that we do at Villages of Hope is not easy, providing education for the vulnerable, running feeding programs and clinics – none of these are easy assignment.
After attending this meeting, one of the village leadership made a decision to change the direction in which they were heading, stating that after hearing about the challenges of hiring house mothers and some of the experiences the other villages have faced, they thought it best to change the program and focus on youth. This was not the outcome I was expecting from our meeting; I was hoping that the leaders would be inspired to go and feel encouraged and equipped to empower house mothers and ensure that we truly are providing a loving, safe and secure home for children in need. So I challenged this team member not to fear the difficulty, but to face it head on. I encouraged him/her to think of the many children who need a loving, safe, secure home with a loving mother regardless of how hard it is. I reminded him/her that bringing hope to children in need is what Villages of Hope – Africa Society is all about.
Going to the moon was not an easy thing to do. Three astronauts lost their lives during a routine test of Apollo 1. Then there was Apollo 13’s accident which ended with NASA managing to bring three astronauts home in a crippled space craft. But the result of carrying on with the pursuit of the mission was that 12 men walked on the surface of the moon and returned safely home. This great accomplished caught the imagination of the world and will be remembered as “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.
How much more should we as human beings continue in the pursuit of bringing hope to children in need regardless of how hard it is!
Thank you to all you who work tirelessly towards this pursuit and to the many people who support our effort financially.
Until next time,
Executive Director – Villages of Hope-Africa