By the end of the decade, it would take 80,000 orphanages that hold 500 children each just to house the children orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa alone. Our Rescue Unit concept is a more practical way to reach those in need and is literally saving thousands of lives.
A high percentage of the population that once was responsible for economic growth and food production have died due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. As a result, many countries now have a large number of orphans and elderly people with no viable means of support and these are usually the first to go hungry in times of famine.
The places where we are working are remote rural bush areas and oftentimes the Rescue Unit is the only source of help and hope available for miles. At one particular location, a man said, “I know God sent you because He is the only one that knows that we are here.”
Education is vital to giving these children a better hope for the future, but education is not easy to come by in Africa. Orphans cannot afford either the required school fees, books nor the uniforms to attend school. We provide primary education for as many children as we can. There are some Units where the facilitators are the teachers.
We do not profess to be professional medical personnel. All of our facilitators are first-aid trained and many have taken courses with nurses and doctors in their respective countries. More orphans die of malaria and preventable childhood diseases than they do of HIV/AIDS. A malaria treatment is $3.00, but to an orphan, it is an incredible amount of money. We treat coughs, colds, malaria, fevers, seeping sores, scabies, and various wounds. Often our Units have more medicines available than the local clinic. The more serious cases are taken to the nearest hospital. We are finding the Units are saving lives and in some villages, certain illnesses have been eradicated.
AGRICULTURAL & NUTRITIONAL
The facilitators teach the orphans how to plant, irrigate and maintain their own gardens. We provide all the seeds and instructions. We also teach them how to care for animals that will provide a source of income and nutrition. Another great need is teaching proper hygiene and nutrition seminars. We teach local mothers and guardians how to make a protein-rich formula with ingredients readily available and affordable. At one of our Units, a set of twins were brought by in desperate need. They were about 9 pounds each and could not sit or walk at the age of 13 months. After months of the protein-rich formula, they gained weight and started to behave more like their age. Today they are running and have the ability to fight off childhood illnesses.
An orphan must always deal with the stigma that comes with having parents who died of AIDS. They are often seen as a burden and of no value to society. Our facilitators are working diligently to change the mindset of the villagers and show them that these children do have value and that they also can make a difference in the community. The orphans at a Unit in Malawi noticed that the elderly struggle with sweeping their homes so they organized themselves into groups of 10 with an appointed leader. They rotate sweeping houses every morning before going to school. These groups also plan to help some of the elderly repair their roofs and dig latrines. This example of servanthood is making an impact in the lives of the entire village and changing the way these children are perceived.
We do not want to westernize these children in any way. We are trusting that as they see the practical love of Jesus displayed they will ask about the Lord and we can tell them of His love and plan of salvation. By living out and obeying biblical principles they will change their lives, villages, communities and perhaps even their country. Many of our orphans have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and are eager to grow and share their faith. At many Units, the orphans organize themselves into evangelism teams and go out to share the Gospel in their villages. We have now expanded into a Sunday school program to aid them in their Christian walk.
Current Orphan Rescue Unit Locations
• Zambia • Malawi • Uganda
• Cameroon • Zimbabwe
Current Matron’s Unit Locations
• Zambia • Malawi • Uganda