Each month of the year, people around the world contact Sweet Sleep asking, hoping, praying for us to provide beds, nets and Bibles to the orphans in their care. I could spend all day sharing with you about the sleeping needs and struggles of orphaned and abandoned children around the world.
Today, I want to introduce you to Cape Town, South Africa and its children.
Behind the beauty of Cape Town lies great hurt
South Africa has the highest percentage of child and baby rape in the world. South Africa also has the highest concentration of HIV/AIDS in the world. In countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Nigeria, it is a common belief that a person with HIV be cured of AIDS by having sex with a virgin. In many cases, these children are raped by a father or a caregiver.
I’ve been amazed and humbled to see the impact made by Sweet Sleep’s presence around the world. With that first-hand knowledge, we’ve been studying the situation in South Africa for the last 10 months and have been prayerfully trying to discern and determine what direction God might be directing Sweet Sleep in helping change and save the lives of South Africa’s orphans.
Within South Africa are many tribes which believe in caring for their own tribe’s children…the whole “it takes a village” idea. Once those mommas and poppas aren’t there to care for their children, they are left to a willing person: an aunt, a cousin…even a complete stranger. It’s been reported South Africa has a 50% unemployment rate. When there are no jobs and a community self soothes in drug and alcohol abuse, it’s the children who suffer the most.
Through new partnerships with Living Hope and Open Door, Sweet Sleep will begin it’s work here in the fall of 2011, in a township of Cape Town, South Africa known as “Ocean View”. These partnerships are important because the provision of a bed from Sweet Sleep will encourage new, and strained caregivers to participate in programs which will lead to better parenting and awareness and prevention of child abuse, thus resulting in the decline of child abuse and child rape in this township.
In just a matter of weeks, Open Door will begin a new 8-week parenting class for caregivers whom are identified by social workers as candidates for this program. The requirements will be tough: every caregiver in the home will be required to attend class—each week. They’ll be connected to a social worker and a local church. They’ll be expected to “pay it forward” upon completion. Each week caregivers will learn about budgeting, effective discipline, dietary needs of children, drug abuse, HIV/AIDS and child abuse. Ocean View is known for it’s high drug abuse problems. As Open Door says, “All sexual abuse goes to drug abuse.” The classes will also offer Bible studies to male caregivers in the home and provide opportunities to educate children about all of the above, as well.
Graduates of the program will then receive a certificate from our partners and a bed from Sweet Sleep.
We are more than excited about this new endeavor; we are prayerful that as a result of the work of the above organizations, and your support through Sweet Sleep, the lives of South Africa’s most vulnerable will be spared and saved. Join with us.
Our first team will be November 4-14, 2011. I invite you to be a part of the information meeting on Monday, August 15th, 6:30 pm at Sweet Sleep’s office. Please contact us at 615-730-7671 if you are not able to attend or would like additional information.