My life changed forever.
I walked into a building filled with love and hope. Not what I had expected. I watched a roomful of children singing praises to God, orphans who have virtually nothing, yet there they were. I wept uncontrollably as I watched their joy manifest in song and dance. They were happy in spite of their circumstances. They happily posed for me in the pictures, below.
I toured the orphange and met its founders, Milton and Patricia Marite. I met the "grandmothers" Of St. John the Divine in a room where they were sewing and repairing clothing for the children; these faithful women work for next to nothing in payment. In the kitchen I watched a worker lump spoonfuls of Samp and Beans onto plates that would soon be eaten by the children.
I was led to a room that was a "computer room," yet what I saw were tables and desks with 1980s vintage computer terminals stacked upon them. The staff was proud of what they had accomplished, and they should be. Note: I am working with the staff to fund another project to supply computers to for educational purposes and to create an internet cafe for the surrounding community. More on that at another time.
I visited St. John the Divine once more before I left South Africa to return home to the USA. On that visit I learned that many of the children of St. John the Divine, the orphans, may have lost their parent to disease (such as HIV) and some had been living on the streets before being rescued by Milton and Patricia.
I knew that I had been drawn to St. John the Divine not by accident, but by a purpose. I knew that I had to help. And now is the time for action. I ask for your help to provide additional funding so that its mission to help the children of St. John the Divine Orphans and Outreach may continue.
This is the story of St. John the Divine
In their own words...
St. John the Divine Orphans and Outreach is located near Randfontein, South Africa, and was started in 2002 as a church outreach. We could not ignore the cry and the pain of orphans and vulnerable children; children left behind by their parents who died from various types of diseases, including HIV.
We ask, and pray, for your help to continue this very important mission.
Our vision is to care for orphans and vulnerable children, remove stigma, alleviate poverty and suffering by facilitating programs that make a change in our community.
We sponsor the following programs, which require a dedicated staff and funding:
· Food security and food garden
· Counseling and parental care
· Homework assistance
· Sports and recreation
· Access of shelter, identity documents and children’s grants
Most Important: Perhaps our most important programme is to provide Child Safety and Security and Victim Empowerment. We teach our children (many different ages) about the types of abuse and encourage them to speak out to ensure they receive early intervention. This empowers them to know their rights and where to go for help and support.
We operate in accordance with children’s legislation and the “Bana Pele” system, which is a Tswana idiom that simply translates to “Children First.” It indeed takes a village to raise a child. We help our children to develop independence and the ability to make free and responsible choices.
What We Need NOW:
We are facing shortfalls in funding now, and at a particularly difficult time. Unfortunately, a couple from the USA that assisted us with a considerable amount each year, passed away the first part of the year, and since the 2017/18 Financial Year (that started in July 2017), we regularly could not meet our monthly expenditures, which means we cannot meet our mission objectives. We could manage to pay all the important bills by squeezing our budget to the limits, but unfortunately we reached a stage that we are now in dire straits. We could manage to get a funder to assist us in approximately 90% of our expenses from January – June 2018, but the monthly shortfalls of July – December 2017 are the compelling reason we now need to approach GoFundMe for help. We are asking our worldwide friends for your generous help to assist us to pay our CAREGIVERS, who look after our children. Without this added funding assistance, we fear our children will not receive the necessary assistance needed to assist them.
What is our need?:
1. In order to recuperate the shortfall from Jul – Dec of 2017, we need $18,000, which would also enable us to pay our Project Manager & Financial Manager for their efforts the last 6 months, as they’ve opted to assist without any remuneration. (Also taking into consideration that they are doing this mammoth task for less than $500/person/month!!!)
2. For Jan – Jun 2018, our monthly shortfall will be approximately $2,000, that equals to $12,000 for the six months.
Please, every small donation, once-off or monthly, will come with blessings and help us in our time of need. Small donations combined with those from many others will provide a very powerful message to our children and their caregivers that there is hope for the future. Please help us to put smiles on the faces of our children! We ask and pray that donations be made as soon as possible to help us get off to a good start in 2018!
Remember: our children are our future. Together we can make it!!! We also want to make use of this opportunity to wish you a happy Festive Season, and a most prosperous 2018!!
- Daysesa Harvey
- Elliot Ryu
- Oscar Vickerman
- Kirsten Gray
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