In the southern city of Likasi, Erick Rukang oversees Hands at Work’s local Service Centre operating in the DRC. His job, to form and facilitate care teams in the region’s most broken communities, demands a lot. It demands meeting with church leaders to help them discover their God-mandated responsibility to care for the orphaned and the vulnerable. It demands walking with care workers into the homes of abused and orphaned children to demonstrate building relationships that heal and transform.
The community of Toyota, 7km from the Service centre, is a place where such indispensable relationships are formed. Erick has helped mentor and train a team of local volunteer care workers who are touching and transforming lives in Toyota. The team operates a school and provides a hot, nutritious daily meal for the community’s most vulnerable children. They also visit each child in their homes.
One such child is 6-year-old Gracious who lives alone with his blind mother since his father passed away after suffering for a long time with tuberculosis, a disease closely related to HIV. Gracious’ widowed mother would have struggled to provide for even basic needs for a growing boy if not for Erick and the Toyota care worker team. But with their help, today he is a happy and healthy boy attending Grade 1 at the Toyota community school and receiving a nutritious meal 6 days per week.