The Africa Project
Through our relationships with other similar organizations, we have teamed up to carry out the foundation's mission, starting in Mbabane, Swaziland Africa. We currently work with over 270 children every day in this beautiful city, providing their one meal of the day, basic education, medical clinics, and a safe haven for children who live in otherwise compromising circumstances. The entire organization provides this for over 28,000 children a day! Yes, that was twenty eight thousand every single day! The Anna Brooke Hurdle Foundation has met with, stayed with, fed, played and assisted each of these 270 plus children. We know the ones we help! It takes a comprehensive approach to the orphan and vulnerable children (OVC) issue and requires treating the whole child. A CarePoint becomes a central point for providing the multiple services necessary.
Physical needs are met by providing a meal and vitamins daily. Immunizations and voluntary HIV/AIDS testing are offered. Volunteers teach HIV/AIDS education. We invest in these children mentally by making preschool, basic literacy programs and job training available. Social support is important, teaching life skills through a youth outreach program. Kids' Clubs give extra support and moral education. Extra care and attention is given to orphan-headed households, giving them a place to belong, to gain and identity - a place to be known.
We also believe in empowerment and collaboration. Unless we empower and enable people to have the desire, skills and opportunity to rise out of poverty, we only allow the problems to perpetuate. And a relief and development project always works best when you collaborate and the people being helped have a sense of being part of the answer. It helps the community and individuals to regard the problem as theirs to solve, and progress brings great pride and sense of worth to the people.
Feeding is the first program we establish at a CarePoint. Life-saving food, along with daily vitamins is a necessity. For the majority of the children that come to a CarePoint, the meal they receive will be their only meal for that day.
In most of the areas we work in, there is no free public school system. All children attending government schools must pay tuition. For many, finding money for food is almost impossible, leaving little chance of finding additional money for school. At a CarePoint, children are given the opportunity to receive basic education.
With no parents and no money, sicknesses that would normally be minor, such as a cold, can become life-threatening. And for a child whose immune system is already weakened by HIV/AIDS, that risk is even greater.We are able to administer basic medical care at a CarePoint. We are also able to make people aware of the availability of antiretroviral drugs (ARV's) that greatly improve their quality of life. We are getting ARV's for dozens of children who, without our help, would simply be unable to get the medication and would quickly succumb to death by AIDS.
The emotional needs of children that live a life surrounded by death are immense. Research has shown that children living in this culture of death suffer from hysteria, insomnia, nervousness and a general emotional imbalance marked by anxiety, depression and grief. And due to this psychological vulnerability and economic desperation, parentless children are prone to sexual abuse and exploitation, hard labor, prostitution or pornography in order to survive.We are able to train volunteers to deal with these issues and set up programs that keep children in a loving environment, surrounded by caring people who see their lives as precious. Possibly one of the most important aspects to the development of CarePoints is linking of a local church to the CarePoint ministry. The affect on communities where churches are birthed from CarePoints is sure to be eternally significant. The children and adults in these communities hunger for hope and truth, and the combination of a CarePoint and church gives us maximum opportunity to give them that Hope - That hope is Jesus.
A message from Anna’s father:
I first went to Africa very soon after Anna passed away. Anna knew I was going to Africa to help children in dire need and she thought that was “cool.”While I was there I was overwhelmed by the obvious need. However, I was also overwhelmed by the gratitude of the people, their sincere kindness towards me and their desire to learn how to sustain themselves through education and not by simply taking handouts. The children we serve in Mbabane know horrors our children have never heard of. Food, shelter, medicine and education are just the start of what they need. Most have been sexually abused and beaten. Heavily infected with the HIV/AIDS virus, these children have little to look forward to without the intervention of people like you: individuals who choose to move beyond the issue of distance, nationality or a difference in culture to reach out to help a fellow human being. It is a miracle how much is done with so little in this area, but we can consistently see the results from our efforts as they unfold in the lives of hundreds of children.