Swaziland (MNN) — Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders.
Children’s HopeChest is one organization that understands the truth of that concept. Through the Swaziland Leadership Academy, which provides educational training and spiritual discipleship, young people are being equipped to effectively lead their fellow citizens.
“The Swaziland Leadership Academy was designed as a 3-year program to provide hands-on leadership training and in-depth, intensive spiritual leadership development,” says Laura Fisher with Children’s HopeChest. “It’s one year essentially of training and intensive development, and then it’s two years of service back at the individual’s CarePoints where they grew up.
“It’s made such an incredible difference. Greater stability is there. There’s a vision for the future, and there truly is hope for sufficiency and dignity as God intended.”
The Leadership Academy, now in its fourth year of classes, was started because of what its CarePoints couldn’t provide. Children receive an education at the CarePoints, but it’s not enough to make them fully independent.
“Scott Borg, who works with our partner in Swaziland, which is Adventures in Missions, really conceived the idea,” says Fisher. “And then it’s been fully led by Swazi leaders now that have been trained and are on board and are running the program on the ground.
“The Swazi Leadership Academy has been so successful. We really believe we have an opportunity there to transform the entire nation in a grassroots movement sort of way, equipping young people to truly be leaders and to step up and take responsibility and have that vision for futures of not just themselves, but their community and nation as a whole.”
Children’s HopeChest has a new, similar program in Uganda. It’s not identical to the one in Swaziland–each program must be tailor-fit to the country’s cultural needs, but it possesses the same goal.
“In Uganda, we piloted a program last year,” Fisher says. “We were looking at training young people in a variety of ways through vocational training, through formal leadership training, and then even training adult community leaders and helping them to have the skills and tools they need to have a sustainable, self-sufficient community as a whole.”
In poverty-stricken countries such as Swaziland and Uganda, it may seem difficult to spark any kind of hope, let alone inspire serving others. But that’s not what Children’s HopeChest is seeing.
There’s a young man by the name of Thokozani, and some time ago he was an orphan growing up in the region of Mkhombokati,” Fisher says. “But he had felt the call to serve, and he really had begun to believe that God had put something in him [and] that he will rise up in leadership of his own people.
“And now, today, he not only has successfully graduated through the leadership academy, he’s serving in a sports ministry. They are bringing in just incredible stories of transformation and bringing people to Christ.”
Children’s HopeChest has the resources for raising new disciples, but it can’t do it alone. Can you help them equip future leaders in Swaziland? Click here to give financially.