We want to start this new year by sharing another update of what is happening at New Hope Centre as a result of your generous gifts. From the beginning, New Hope has fostered the goal of raising future leaders for the nation of Swaziland. As you have read in our previous emails and reports, our country is suffering from a widespread epidemic of HIV/AIDS that has left a full quarter of the population orphaned.
Because our children receive advantages that many in our land do not, we believe that we are mandated to share what we have in the way of knowledge, hope, material goods, love and faith. Each year since 2007 New Hope Centre has held Hope Camps to spread the hope we have been given to those hardest hit by disease and loss.
For three weeks before the camp this year, Anastasia, Phillippa and Miss Rachael went visiting schools around Swaziland to invite the teachers to select the four double orphans (children with no mother or father) in each of their schools who most needed help. Buti Thokozane, Buti Melusi and various teams of our children also visited schools doing the final planting of seedlings in the vegetable gardens we started earlier in the year. These gardens were to help supply food for child-headed households. These needy homes were identified by teachers and New Hope Centre’s youth leaders throughout the 40 schools where we have established Hope Clubs.
The last week of school found us preparing activities, shopping, checking equipment and printing T- shirts for our sixth annual Hope Camp. We held our first camp in April 2007 in Mlilwane Game Reserve where our 24 Extra-Ordinary kids experienced tremendous breakthroughs in their own lives - overcoming their past and building resilience for their tomorrows. This December our team of 24 Extra-Ordinary Children (you can read their stories in the newly released book, 24 Extra-ordinary Children, available at http://www.newhopeswaziland.com/) were our leaders.
We were all up early Friday, December 7, as we transported the tents, equipment, food and materials to the site of this year’s camp, Bethany Mission Primary School. Campers and youth leaders began arriving from all four regions (provinces) of Swaziland. Sixty-four double orphans came from all over of our nation. Twenty youth leaders came with their kids and helped throughout the camp as volunteers as well as Jessica, our own volunteer from the US. Twelve New Hope Centre staff traded their regular duties at New Hope Centre for camping in tents alongside our children and youth leaders. The entire camp was basically run by the 24 Abraham kids, the “Extra-Ordinary” team. They cared for and taught the campers how to bathe and wash their clothes. They facilitated discussion groups and Dream Team counseling time. They worked through the Hero Book as they processes the circumstances and traumas of their lives, led activities, sports, worship and taught from the Word of God.
We are eager to hear the results of the Resilience tests the campers took and to hear reports of how they have been changed through this year’s camp. These results and stories should begin coming in February since school resumes in January and we hope to share with you what God has done.
Without your help these children would not have the opportunity to bring hope and training to other orphans in Swaziland. We can't begin to express to you our gratitude and joy that you have chosen to partner with us in this to bring new hope to these children and to our nation.
With sincere gratitude,
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