As we walked through the streets of Lusaka, Zambia, children began to come from all directions. Reaching up to grab for our hands, they fell into step with our long strides. Our little army grew with each passing minute. The villages in Zambia are overrun with children, many of them orphaned by the deadly epidemic, AIDS. It is become a society where children are raising children. Young siblings walk around together—the older ones carrying the younger. Babies are swaddled in brightly colored fabric and nestled on the back of an older brother or sister. The children run barefoot throughout the littered and sewage filled streets. Their feet are calloused and rough—unaffected by the glass and rock piles that make up the roads. They search their village dumps looking of any scraps that can be turned into toys. A true treasure is found in a plastic bag with leftover crumbs for a snack.

Seemingly, these precious children are resilient in the midst of their dying world. They are hopeful, playful, and joyful. They learned survival skills at an early age, including how to clean, cook, fetch water, and raise babies by the time they are only five years old. And yet, they hope for something more. They long to be educated and look forward to a bright future. Their eyes light up with possibilities when they are asked what they would like to be when they grow up. It is humbling to remember that these children are the future of Zambia. They offer something that is so pure and hopeful—something their society desperately needs. But before there is growth, there must be change. The children of Zambia need an environment that will allow them to grow, to change, to be empowered, and to be safe.

A few years ago, we met Hope. She was 9 years old at the time. After spending a week with her, we were broken hearted to hear her story. Hope is HIV positive. A disease many of these kids will undeservingly battle for a lifetime. When we first met, she was malnourished, uneducated, frightened and very alone. She did not have a place to call home, or even the assurance there would be another meal. Her tiny body was fighting the disease—and losing the battle. Hope captured our hearts, and her story has inspired us. Kids like Hope need a chance—a chance that many of us take for granted on a daily basis.

Last season, we were able to raise funds to build “Hope’s Home,” an orphanage for vulnerable children living in desperate conditions in Lusaka, Zambia. It has been a dream come true to create a safe environment where these children will be able to thrive. Our hope is to hire “parents” who will live in the house and raise these children with Christian values. Lord willing, they will attend a private school nearby, and get the medical attention many of them need. The house will be built on a little less than one acre of land and the walls are already being built. We project that the house will be complete and ready for children by October. Amazing! Attached, you are welcome to view the blueprints of the home. We are so thankful for the donors and supporters who have come along side of us. This is our shared vision.

Hope’s Home will provide the love of a family that many of these children have never known. It will be a place they can dream, hope, and prepare for a bright future. They will be raised with the opportunity to realize that they are God’s children, dearly loved and cared for. The safe environment will allow them to be children—children who need to run, play, be nurtured, loved, and well fed. This home will be a beacon of hope for a generation that will be the change their country needs. We have big dreams for the children who will fill Hope’s Home. A bright future begins with the simple yet profound impact of having a place to call home.

 

2011

$33,000  | Buying the land for Hope’s Home. It’s in an developing and very safe part of Lusaka, close enough for children to walk to school.

$126,000  | Building the structure of Hope’s Home. This includes foundation, walls, roof, etc.

 

2012

$40,000  | Buying farmland close to Hope’s Home for children to learn to farm, and use any extra crops for the Arise Africa children’s feeding program.

$30,000  | Furnishing the home with beds, dressers, desks, couches, dining table, kitchen supplies, etc.

$10,000  | Reserve emergency medical fund.

$25,000  | Walls and electrical fencing around the farm land and Hope’s Home - this is very standard protocol for Zambia.

$15,000  | Reserve septic tank, landscaping, farm tools, parking spots in front of home, car for house parents.

$1,000  | Building a chicken coop on farmland to teach children how to raise chickens and collect eggs.

If you have any questions about the finances of Arise Africa, feel free to contact Alissa Hollimon, founder of Arise Africa, at alissa@ariseafrica.org.