AIDS orphan care program in urgent need

By December 28, 2011

Zambia (MNN) — The HIV/AIDS pandemic has left more than 15% of the population in Zambia infected with AIDS, a disease that has now orphaned over one million children in the nation.

After the death of their parents, many of the orphans are forced to move to rural villages to live with their extended families.

Several years ago in an extremely rural area known as Beracah, 20 churches came to Bright Hope International in search of a way to help the village's many families who were taking on extra children.

Since 2000, Bright Hope has supported Beracah Orphan Care. "Now we have 180 children, everything now from kindergarten to high school students in this program where we're paying for their schooling," explains Craig Dyer, president of Bright Hope.

Dyer adds, "The families that are taking in these orphans–we're actually able to help their whole families through micro-loans. So it's a very holistic kind of approach to helping families through these local 20 churches."

Essentially, Beracah Orphan Care supports these families so they can better care for the orphans. Outreach opportunities abound as the churches lead the way in ministry.

The program has been growing over the last decade and now supports 50 families and 180 children. With extra families and an unexpected bump in the road, funding has become an issue.

"This project has been mostly supported by a single contributor to Bright Hope over the last three or four years, and unfortunately that contributor just isn't able to cover this project this year," explains Dyer.

Now Bright Hope needs to come up with enough funds to reach their quarterly goal by the end of January.

It's a dire situation, but it's easily fixable with a little help. It costs just $90 to send one of these children to school for a year–less than $8 a month. Beracah Orphan Care children get extra tutoring, too, since many are behind. After the tutoring, Dyer says, most kids are scoring much higher in school than the average students around them.

These children have lost their parents and are now a burden to the families they are in. If you still have some year-end giving to do, consider showing these kids Christ's love by giving to this project. To help out, click here.

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