The Church along with the connected body of Believers are being equipped with the understanding of their Biblical responsibility to care for children suffering in some of the most complex challenges of our time.

Sweet Sleep started as a response to a need. One person, seeing one need and asking one person to help her meet that need, and then asking another, and another. It started with one orphanage in one country. And then it grew. And that one person’s understanding of the need, and the complexities of meeting that need, also grew.

What We’ve Accomplished

Sweet Sleep has touched the lives of tens of thousands of people. From educating school-age children across the United States, Canada, England and Australia to using beds, mosquito nets and Bibles as resettlement kits to promote orphans in war-ravaged northern Uganda living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps to leave the camps to reintegrate into their tribal families and communities.

Our Global Footprint

Our staff in Eastern Europe, Central East Africa and the Caribbean, supported by our team in Nashville, lead our work with strong local partners who are invested in ongoing relationships with orphans and their caretakers.

What We’ve Learned

Through economic and indigenous empowerment, we’ve been meeting the needs of orphaned and abandoned children in our own backyard and around the world in a way no other nonprofit is doing.

Sweet Sleep has touched the lives of tens of thousands of people. From educating school-age children across the United States, Canada, England and Australia to using beds, mosquito nets and Bibles as resettlement kits to promote orphans in war-ravaged northern Uganda living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps to leave the camps to reintegrate into their tribal families and communities.

1. We take a lot for granted. Beds are a catalyst for living differently.

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Over the last 10 years we have seen children walk away from predatory internally displaced persons (IDP) camps for the first time, to be resettled to their family’s home land after decades of civil unrest, because of the dignity and sense of security provided by the bed. We’ve seen parents and caretakers learn better ways to raise their children, and at the same time build community, at the promise of a bed. We’ve seen over 1,000 children, living in secret with HIV, come out of hiding to register with our partners, and thus begin receiving medical treatment; because of their desire for a bed.

The desire for the hope and dignity of a bed has been a catalyst for change for thousands of children and caretakers around the world.

And now, we are harnessing what we’ve learned and we’re using beds in an intentional way that promotes real change in the lives of those who receive them. By working together with partner organizations, we are more holistically meeting the needs of vulnerable children and the bed is very often the change agent at the center of that work.

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2. Dignity makes you wake up with different eyes.

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One day, while traveling over the red dirt roads of Uganda to take a 12-year old orphan girl home to her hut, she was asked, “Why would you walk so far to receive a bed? What makes you so excited about having a bed?” Her reply was simple, “Having a bed means I no longer have to sleep like the dogs.”

Dignity makes us see the world differently, makes us feel like others are able to look us in the eye and know that we can return their gaze.

Over the last ten years, we have learned that giving a child a place to sleep also gives them dignity. Without realizing it, children begin to realize more of their full potential and the opportunities around them.

We’ve also seen how children thrive when they move from an orphanage into a loving home with a family who will nurture and love them. Loving families are where dignity starts for us all.

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3. Governments make poor parents.

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“The deepest needs of a child are not met on a mass scale. And that is why the individual matters to the orphan.” –Jedd Medefind, President Christian Alliance for Orphans

Governments govern. They administer public policy. They enforce laws. They plan streets, and if you’re lucky—sidewalks. They are black and white. Governments do not nurture children. Governments cannot hold a child when they cry or put boo-boo bunnies on their bumps or take them shopping for their first prom dress. Families share goals and values. They make long-term commitments to each other. Families love.

There are 2.4 Billion people who profess to be Christians and between 130-210 million orphans. In simpler terms, 1 out of every 3 people on the planet profess to be a Christian. Ending the orphan crisis must happen through the church. Not the building. The people inside it. You. And me.

God created families. God adopted us because we were orphans who needed a Father. God desires that we give orphans families. 1 John 3: 1-2; Romans 8: 14-17
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4. The orphan crisis is at the center of global and domestic issues.

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The HIV/AIDS Pandemic. Hospice Care. Access to Health Care. Maternal Health Care. Stigmas. Education. Poverty. Depression. Mental Health. Suicide. Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Violence. Sibling separation. Child Labor. Trafficking. Slave Labor. Special Needs Children. Sexual Abuse. Malnutrition. Disease. Abortion. Choosing Life. Terrorism. The list goes on. And on.

Each of these issues has an effect on the orphaned and the abandoned child. If you bring economic empowerment to a family, if you rehabilitate that family, they’ll be able to care for their children. They’ll be able to care for other children.

If you bring empowerment and hope and dignity to one family, you’ll bring it to another. And another and another. And what if all these people—all these families—live in the same proximity? Then you’ll change a community. Change enough communities and you’ll change a region. Change a region, change a country. And then the world.

It’s not impossible. It’s what we are doing. Together. With you. Now.
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5. If we don’t take in our children, terrorist and militant groups will.

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A quick Google search on this will give you millions of findings, yet this is something you’ve likely never considered.

Terrorist and militant groups frequently take in orphans and train them in terrorist education. Natural disasters, war, and disease all bring large numbers of orphans in its wake.

Terrorist groups in the Middle East have continued to face challenges in the ways they can operate, forcing them to look elsewhere for countries with more recruiting and training capabilities. An estimated 20 million children are growing up in Africa as orphans due to AIDS. Because there is no caring adult in the lives of these children to protect them, it has long been thought that Africa could be the next breeding ground for the terrorists of tomorrow.

The solution is hard, but we are already making progress. We must help to empower the church of Africa to rise and care for its children; to take the most vulnerable and protect them from being preyed upon. If the world hears about the orphan crisis and looks the other way, today, it only means they will be looking at it through very different lenses, tomorrow.
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6. God intended children to be in families, not institutions.

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Psalm 127:3-5 speaks about the blessing children are to families. All generations of families can be traced back to the first family in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 1:27-29, God blessed Adam and Eve and told them to be fruitful and multiply. When their children married, another family unit was formed. Adoption of another’s child/ren into a family is also a Biblical picture of God’s plan (Romans 8:16-17, 22-23; Galatians 4:4-7; Ephesians 1: 3-6).

Throughout scripture, the Bible talks about children, and the importance of parents to teach and train children (Deuteronomy 6:6-9; Proverbs 1: 8-9; Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21).

God also commands parents to raise, discipline and love children (Genesis 18:19; Deuteronomy 4:9 and 6:6-9; Isaiah 38:19 and 54:13; Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21).

“The family should be a closely knit group. The home should be a self-contained shelter of security; a kind of school where life’s basic lessons are taught; and a kind of church where God is honored; a place where wholesome recreation and simple pleasures are enjoyed.” – Billy Graham
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7. Most children in orphanages have immediate or extended family.

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Around the world, 80 to 90% of the children living in orphanages and institutions have immediate or extended family who could, if given the correct resources, care for the child. This number increases to nearly 98% in Eastern European countries where extreme poverty has left millions unable to provide for their children. When parents are not able to provide for their child, they think the child will be better off in an orphanage.

Alternately, in war-torn countries and regions where HIV/AIDS and other diseases have taken the lives of entire generations of parents, children live in child-headed households. Care often falls to extended relatives or members of the community; however, these caretakers do not have the resources needed to provide for these children.
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8. When you rehabilitate a family, you change a generation.

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Children who live in poverty or without parents often grow up and have children who will, in turn, grow up in poverty; often without parents. Without a catalyst for change, the cycle will continue.

However, when you rehabilitate a family, and provide them with the resources needed to care for their children, those children grow up understanding what it means to be loved by a mother and a father; and they learn how to be a mother or a father in return. Families who are given the economic empowerment and self-sustaining independence of rehabilitation are able to teach their children how to provide for themselves and as those children grow they will understand and be able to provide for themselves and their own children as well.

It starts with one family restored, made able to care for and provide for their children. Teaching their children through example and love, raising the next generation that will be equipped to care for and provide for their children.
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9. When you rehabilitate a family, you equip a community. And when community is equipped, it breaks the cycle of poverty.

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Africa doesn’t want the world to do this for them, they want the world to do this with them.
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10. We are stronger together than we are apart

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We don’t have all the answers. And we know you don’t, either. But we know what we have learned. And, we know you know what you’ve learned, too.

We believe in showing up with our hands, hearts, eyes and ears open. We believe in listening, not just waiting to talk or to teach. And when we hear of a need that isn’t being met, we look to find our partners. We pray. We advocate. And we listen for what God is leading us to do, the people and organizations He is leading us to work or connect with.

The orphan crisis is bigger than any one of us. The orphan crisis is involved at the center of many of today’s crippling issues: abuse, trafficking, disease, poverty, violence, brokenness. We must link arms, join voices and become advocates, together, for real solutions that lead to ending this crisis.
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Where We’re Headed

We’ve spent our first 10 years, breaking new ground and advocating what we were learning along the way about the orphan crisis. In our next 10 years, our goal is to embrace those lessons and introduce economic, educational and rehabilitative solutions to communities with the greatest need, and the greatest impact to change so that we can reach down into the trenches of poverty and bring an end to its deep cycles.

Our vision is that humanity will see a day when every child God has created will have a family who loves and cares for them so that they can live their lives to the fullness of the glory God intends for each of them. This is what God asks of His children, of us.

And we are bringing that day closer with each family.