Learning Centre Development
Hope After Border Crossings
Child Sexual Exploitation
Education in Uganda
What would you do if your dad put a gun to your head and said, “If you don’t want to follow the faith of our family, I will kill you”?
This is unimaginable for most of us, but it is the testimony of a homeless 23 year-old Iraqi refugee who came to stay with us one night. Although a refugee himself, he wants to help others by serving at the refugee centre where we volunteer. We were so upset to hear that, for the past two weeks, he had been sleeping on a bench at the local bus station. That night, he came home with us so that, for at least for one night, he could have a home-cooked meal, a warm bed, and a shower. We were encouraged as he shared his amazing story of encountering Jesus. Here it is:
“I first started seeking God by attending a local school in Iraq. However, I was turned off by the violence that was promoted, so I returned home dejected and eventually decided to become an atheist. Then, I became aware of a Christian in my city who encouraged me to honestly pray, ‘God, if you are real, then show me.’
What followed changed my life…
.... I had a vivid vision of Jesus carrying the cross. In such pain He was struggling, and I ran over to help Him. But He wouldn’t let me carry His cross. He just smiled at me with an unforgettable smile which I can still see today and said, ‘I’m carrying this for you.’
“A little later, I was hanging out with my friends who were talking about horrible things when someone leaned into my right ear and said, ‘Your name is now John and you need to leave these people.’ I turned around but no-one was there. I knew at that time God had spoken to me and I needed to turn away from my sin and the bad influences in my life. But I knew this wouldn’t be an easy road, as my dad leads a pretty ‘dark’ group. So when my dad found out about my new faith, he pulled out his gun from his pocket and held it to my head.”
John did the only thing he could think to save his life. He bought a plane ticket and fled from his family. He went from being part of a wealthy family, owning a business and driving a fancy car, to being homeless and jobless in a city of five million people, with no family or close friends to support him. Although we could not provide him with everything he needed, we could be there to encourage John and pray with him.
In Uganda, more than half of the population is under the age of 18. It is estimated that there are over 10,000 children living on the street. They are among the world’s most vulnerable children. It is commonly held that life for street children is dirty, violent and short. Hungry, abused and alone, they quickly become addicted to drugs in order to deal with their suffering, and become conscripted into gangs who make them criminals for as little as a dollar a day.
African Hearts Community Organisation (African Hearts) is a Christian, non-governmental organisation (NGO) operating in Uganda, East Africa. A grassroots charity, African Hearts addresses the growing numbers of children and youth living on the streets of Kampala. Forced there by the death of parents, family abandonment, violence or hardship at home, street life leaves children exposed to exploitation, abuse and extreme poverty.
African Hearts believes one of the keys to lifting Ugandans out of poverty is through providing education. They aim to raise the next generation of leaders. In 2014, Mission Travel partnered with African Hearts and donated $10,000 to help build a Creative Learning Centre. We feel strongly about giving all kids the opportunity to have an education and experience God’s love in tangible ways. We are delighted to be part of the ongoing transformation of children’s lives through contributing to the provision of this educational facility and supporting African Hearts’ ministry.
For more details about African Hearts, click here.
In developing countries, millions of girls are unable to afford sanitary pads. Some girls often resort to using old cloth, mattress padding and other materials that promote infection and leakage. To avoid any stress or embarrassment girls will often skip school – up to 5 days of school each month during their menstrual cycle. Many eventually drop out, compromising their education and ultimately their future.
Our team here at Mission Travel are predominantly women, therefore girls not having access to basic sanitary pads is dear to our hearts. Through Operation Hope's Sister Act project, we were delighted to donate $5,000 to purchase machinery and materials to sew re-usable pads in Swaziland and Sri Lanka. 160 girls aged between 11-25 years received a ‘Freedom Kit’ with sanitary pads, underwear, soap and information on HIV/AIDS prevention. Giving basic dignity to women and freeing them from some of the burdens of abject poverty.
Operation Hope’s vision is for a world where every individual is valued, has access to basic human rights and can attain their full potential. It is a blessing to partner with them and care for our sisters around the world. For more information about Operation Hope, visit their website.
The Kivuli Project is non-profit Christian organisation based in Kenya and managed by a board of representatives from Australia and Kenya. Their vision is to see the oppressed and marginalized people of Kenya have access to safe housing, food and education, and to hear about and personally experience the love of Jesus Christ.
As part of Mission Travel’s Giving Back program, $5,000 grant was given to the Kivuli Project in 2013 to build a pig pen and greenhouse as part of a long term strategy of sustainability. It not only impacted the Kivuli children and farm, but also empowered the broader community, as locals were trained through knowledge sharing and demonstrations, giving them the opportunity to replicate the projects.
Six years on, the Kivuli Project continues to grow. They have added more animals to their farm, and crops are harvested each season to use for their own provisions as well as sell locally in order to reach their long term goal of being a self-sufficient project.
At Mission Travel, we are touched knowing that in Kivuli’s early days, we played a role in supporting a project that continues to transform lives. To partner with Kivuli and see them benefit from a small investment we made is very rewarding for us here at Mission Travel.
To find out more about the Kivuli Project click here.
The world took notice of one lifeless child on the beach, and responded with tears. Yet thousands of Syrian refugees continue to make desperate border crossings in hope of something better.
The UNHCR estimates 4.8 million refugees have flooded into neighbouring countries. This region is buckling under one of the gravest humanitarian crises in modern memory.
Interserve is partnering with a local church that has been on the ground having an amazing impact. Through providing basic supplies, food and care for 5,000 refugees every day, the love of Christians is touching and transforming lives. The refugees acknowledge that no one else treats them the way the ‘Bible people’ do.
Through a holistic approach, including spiritual, emotional and physical needs, this project has become a life giving ministry to thousands. Be part of a project that brings real hope to the vulnerable.
We are fighting against the injustice of sexual exploitation of young vulnerable poor children. The increase of cybersex trafficking of children is a growing and devastating form of modern-day slavery. Abusers located anywhere in the world can exploit children without ever leaving their home. Foreign paedophiles are using the power of their wealth, the anonymity of the web, the complexity of international law, and the desperation of those living in poverty to prey on vulnerable children and families.
With your help, we’re rescuing and restoring victims, putting the perpetrators behind bars and fixing broken justice systems. Our team of Christian investigators, lawyers, social workers, church and government relations and other professionals, works to protect the poor from violence in the developing world.
This project will partner with local Philippine authorities to rescue and restore victims, bring criminals to justice and strengthen criminal justice systems to provide the poor with a safe future that lasts.
Five children were rescued from a cybersex operation in December last year, one of whom celebrated her 6th birthday the day after she was rescued. We want to see more breakthroughs like this one.
We invite you to join us as we bring freedom, justice and restoration for the victims of sexual abuse and strengthen justice systems so that the poor are protected.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, HEAL Africa’s Fistula Support Program treats hundreds of women every year who suffer fistula as a result of sexual violence and obstructed pregnancy. Some women are healed, enabling them to enter HEAL Africa’s rehabilitation program, Wamama Simameni (Women Stand Up Together) where women are offered services such as counselling, literacy, nutrition and HIV education before re-joining community life.
Despite numerous surgeries, others have irreparable fistula and continue to be shunned by their communities. Grounds for Hope provides a safe haven for these women and their children, offering inner healing, life of meaning and a lasting hope.
We invite you to be part of this life changing program for vulnerable women in Africa.
Take a moment to watch HEAL Africa's video, it'll touch your heart.
Nelson Mandela once said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world!” HopeBuilders International has found education to be one of the keys to engaging in the fight to Break the Cycle of Poverty for orphans and widows in Uganda.
With almost 2.5 million orphans in Uganda this fight is very real, as these children and women have had hope, joy and life itself stripped from them – you see it in their eyes. They have lost the desire to dream, they simply try to survive. We have experienced firsthand how education can change all of this, just like Mandela stated.
Your partnership in this project will help educate and open up the minds of these children who will grow up to be the leaders of tomorrow – they will be the catalysts of change in Uganda and the world. It will give them hope.
The education provided through this project, will not only prepare these children for life, but it will become life itself. It has been said – "The day you stop learning is the day you stop living."
Every dollar gives life and learning to an orphan living in poverty.