The Beacon of Hope Board of Directors is very encouraged about the progress that has occurred in our AIDS education program and other partnerships during 2008. BOHI is particularly proud of the partnerships that have been established with other public benefit organizations and churches both here in the USA and also in South Africa.
The HIV/AIDS Education program:
Our primary partner in this program is Campus Crusade for Christ who is responsible for producing the training material we use. We are working with them in three Campus Crusade Regional offices at present (Richards Bay, Durban and Pretoria) and anticipate that this will expand in 2009. The second level of partnership in this training endeavor is through local churches. They are the backbone of the training program and provide the abundant supply of volunteers that present the student seminars at the high schools.
In the tri-city area around Richards Bay.
- Living Stones Covenant Church
- Meerensee Methodist Center
- Thandaza Community Church
- Outlook Community
- Calvary Baptist
- Richards Bay Baptist
The following churches have also approached us since our summer trip and want to have members of their congregation trained.
- Victory Fellowship
- Anglican Church
- Ebenezer Fellowship. Zodwa’s husband is an evangelist and oversees three churches. All of Zodwa’s team members are from this church.
We are currently communicating with 16 churches all across the USA that have expressed some level of interest in participating in mission trips to South Africa, if not in 2009 then at some future date. As the AIDS education program expands into new geographic areas it will be essential that we have new blood to help inspire new areas to adopt the program.
Transition to year round program:
The most significant accomplishment this year is that the education program has transformed into a year-round program, which holds the potential of increasing our student numbers 1800%.
Reduced Cost per Student from $203 in 2004 to under $3 currently:
This is mostly as a side effect of the partners that we have been coaching since 2006 finally continuing on with the program in our absence. We are now able to reach a drastically increased number of students without paying the high premium of participants traveling from the USA.
Lyndell, one of our volunteer partners from the
Outlook Church with a student from Ntongande
Opened operations in a new City and Province:
In April on of our Campus Crusade team leaders, Zodwa Nthuli got married and moved away to the Gauteng Province just north of the City of Pretoria. She brought nine twenty-something-year-old trainees with her to participate in our July program. Her team returned home in August after the July program and immediately started signing up schools to receive the Better Choices HIV/AIDS program.
New Campus Crusade Area office has become active.
As a result of the activity of Zodwa and her team in their town of Soshanguve just north of Pretoria, the Campus Crusade area director for the AIDS education program has become aware of the impact of our program using their material. He is providing assistance to Zodwa and her team and is also considering activating other Campus Crusade teams in our program next year.
Establishing a Local Non Profit Organization in Richards Bay.
Indigenous Steering Committee Formed: A steering committee has been established in Richards Bay for the purpose of managing the AIDS education program in the Richards Bay tri-city area. This committee consists of the three area coordinators for the three cities of the tri-city area, several members of the Outlook church that participated in the training this year, and one participant from the Methodist church. This team has several goals for the remainder of this year.
- They are working on establishing a non-profit organization that will enable them to raise their own local funds to fund the activity. The Senior Pastor of the Outlook Church is also taking an oversight role in this activity.
- They have established a “train the trainer” team that will be used for training new Better Choices team participants.
- They are training a second team to operate in each of the three cities to be ready for when the school year starts again in January.
- They will be training teams in new areas that have expressed an interest in adopting the Better Choices program in their area. Specifically the city of Greytown. There may be more to come.
Beacon of Hope has continued to work closely with Horizon International to find sponsorships for the 200 Richards Bay children that are on Horizon’s sponsorship list. Because of Beacon of Hope’s close partnership with The Village Church of Irvine, they have opted to make Beacon of Hope and Horizon International their preferred child sponsorship plan partner for 2009 and beyond.
Beacon of Hope has also taken over the responsibility of overseeing the distribution of sponsorship funds and the collection of periodic reports on the children at one of the four orphan facilities in the Richards Bay area.
During our 2008 summer trip to Richards Bay we visited all four of the orphan care organization or facilities that are receiving sponsorships from Horizon International. I am always encouraged and blessed to witness how some people who have so little are prepared to do so much for those in need. One of the orphan care organization, Izulu Orphan Projects run by Kate and Chad Bain are just such an example. They only have a handful of kids that are sponsored through Horizon so far, but have undertaken to provide school fees and school uniforms for over 500 children. They are providing clothing and meals several times a week for in excess of 700 children. All of these children live out in surrounding villages with foster families.
Kate and Chad are negotiating to acquire a piece of farmland adjacent to their property. The farm has some derelict buildings that they will renovate to use as childcare cluster homes and a medical clinic to care for the sick.
BOHI has connected them with a young pastor form Michigan who is working with the Calvary Baptist Church in Richards Bay and is planning to establish a Hospice facility.
Higher Education Sponsorship Program
First Student Selected: Beacon of Hope has selected one student from our 2006 class to be our first recipient of a higher education sponsorship award. He will graduate from high school this year and plans to go to the University of Zululand to get a Math and Science teaching degree. He immediately caught our attention as a potential leader and has proved his leadership ability to us. He organizing his friends into a group to go out into their rural residential area and teach others what they learned in the Better Choices program. We are currently working to identify other sponsors to help other qualified scholarship applicants to their goal of getting to college.