Can you imagine a life where you never knew what would happen next? That is the reality for many children in Kasama, Zambia.
There are many street kids in Kasama. Many of them are from broken homes, where they do not receive love or care and may even be abused. Orphans are common in the area and are shuffled between relatives, never really knowing if they will stay for long in one place. There is little stability in these situations, and, as a result, children end up on the streets digging through rubbish bins collecting bottles, begging, selling snacks beside the road or—in some cases—becoming thieves, getting into drugs and alcohol or selling their bodies. Gangs target vulnerable children and train them from a young age. Organised robberies in Kasama have been undertaken by boys as young as six years old.
Seeing the great need, OM Zambia’s Project Hope team had a vision to build a shelter for vulnerable children.
“We want to have a place where these children can be children. …A place to call home that brings hope,” explained Gabriel Kabela, an OM team member. For more than 15 years, the OM team has been working with vulnerable children in Kasama. Seeing the need for a shelter to help provide stability and restore hope in the lives of children, the team started dreaming about Home of Hope. Over the years the team has made initial plans, and God has brought along different people to help in the process. In early 2018, construction began on the first Home of Hope building.
Home of Hope will be a home for vulnerable children identified by the OM team. A strong married couple with skills in counselling will live in the house to show the children the love of Christ and to give them the care and attention they need. For possibly the first time in their lives, the children will be able to play without worry. “We want to bring the children in early, before the devil has a chance to pull them deeper into life on the street,” Gabriel shared. Home schooling will also be provided for the children, so they can learn how to read and write.
Besides bringing hope to vulnerable children, Home of Hope will also bring restoration to whole families. While children receive healing in the Home of Hope, the OM team will work to identify potential guardians among neighbours and relatives. Through Bible studies that focus on the topic of ‘family,’ the OM team will train the guardians to be good caregivers. OM’s goal is for the children to move in with loving families after a period at the Home of Hope. Gabriel believes that engaging the community is the core to bringing real transformation to children on the streets. He already has six families that he leads in weekly Bible studies, and he is encouraging them to build a relationship with Jesus.
OM dreams of having four houses to accommodate children. The team has also started a farming project to help bring sustainability to the Home of Hope vision. Already there are couples willing to go for further counselling training in order to become the house parents in Home of Hope. Even though the houses are not finished, the team believes God will provide funds in His time to complete the project. They are excited to see how God will use the Home of Hope to bring hope the community.
Please pray for enough funds to finish the buildings, continue the farming projects and send parents for counselling training. Pray that God will give the OM team wisdom to identify the right children for Home of Hope. Pray that the children in Kasama will find healing through Jesus Christ.