AIDS orphans to benefit from a village ministry plan in South Africa.

By April 8, 2004

South Africa (MNN)–AIDS has already caused 10 million children to be parentless in southern Africa. Many experts predict that the number of orphans in southern Africa could rise to 30 million by 2010.

In South Africa, 3.6 million people are infected with AIDS and this is said to increase by 1,700 daily. As a result, tens of thousands of children are now part of a culture of orphans.

Evangelical Baptist Missions’ Paul Jackson says they’re responding with a ministry called Bethesda Village. The project is in the first construction phase. However, they’ve run into one major problem. “We are right now fine tuning our strategy. With the drastic fall of the dollar in South Africa, right now, obviously, what we can build budget-wise is significantly less. It’s really lost almost 40-percent of its value in the last year. We’re seeing the village as being an opportunity to take care of the kids who totally fall through the cracks in the system.”

Their goal is to develop children’s villages that will provide safety, security, love and life skills for the many African children orphaned by the AIDS pandemic.

Bethesda Outreach will provide education as well as vocational training for the children in the schools of the Bethesda villages. The children will gain the skills needed to enter the workforce of southern Africa.

According to Jackson, more than just an enclosed village for these kids, EBM hopes to partner with churches and others to share the hope of Christ with the country’s future. “If somehow EBM and Bethesda could come alongside those ministries, provide things that they need in order to take care of kids at that level, we see the opportunity of taking care of, instead of hundreds, probably thousands of kids.”

Pray as construction continues on the village. They hope to be ready for full service by mid-June.

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