When I was 12 years old, my parents separated and I remained living with my mother and younger brother. It was difficult being the firstborn because when my mum was sick I was responsible for caring for my younger brother, all whilst trying to attend school.
We are grateful for the amazing support that we have seen growing in our church and surrounding communities. We have not only seen God’s hand in this but we have witnessed a deep appreciation for what Hands at Work is doing. Through regular visits and strong relationships, people have realised the love and trustworthiness that Hands at Work is based upon and therefore are willing to support the work with their finances and prayers.
From March 1st – April 16th, join the Hands at Work family around the world as we pray for 40 Days on behalf of the most vulnerable children in Africa and our work to support them. Thandeka represents one of thousands of children being cared for by volunteer Care Workers across the communities Hands at Work supports. Read her story and join us in prayer by downloading the 40 Days of Prayer Guide.
Care Workers are the key in bringing healing and transformation to the lives of our children. They are men and women from the local churches within our communities who recognize their Biblical mandate and answer their call to care for the most vulnerable children. They demonstrate what it means to give freely, love unconditionally, and sacrifice everything. Often, Care Workers face their own traumas and live in dire poverty, just as the children they care for do, but their determination to persevere and care despite their own circumstances challenges everyone they come into contact with. They are greatest in the Kingdom of God!
Nokuphila is a seven year old girl. This desperately poor community struggles from a lack of clean, accessible water and, at times, impassable roads. There is also virtually no employment within the community. Her aunt immediately moved into the home to help care for Nokuphila and her disabled mother when her father passed away. With no job and no income, simply surviving was a constant struggle.
Six-year-old Mdeni Dlamini is a quiet boy who lives in Kaphunga, a remote and isolated community in the mountains of Swaziland. He stays with his 14-year-old cousin, Banele in a mud hut left by their grandmother. Their 25-yearold uncle stays in another hut on the same property. Neither child is in school.
Mdeni and Banele have no one to look after them. Banele’s parents have both died and Mdeni’s mother lives in the city of Manzini with his stepfather. The boys’ uncle, an orphan himself, is illiterate and does ad hoc jobs around the area when he can get them. But such work hardly brings in enough income to support the three. There is often no food in the house and water is scarce. The boys’ only source of water comes from a trickle of a dirty stream, likely to be infested with waterborne disease. The mud wall of the one-roomed hut has an enormous crack, and the unstable structure is threatening to fall apart completely.
The boys don’t have a bed, but sleep on the bare floor in this bitterly cold region. Mdeni tried living for a time with his mom and stepfather, but was treated badly and eventually returned to live in the rural village.
Hands at Work supports the local community- based organisation, Asondle Sive Bomake, working in the hills of Kaphunga. The community’s elderly women have banded together to bring the love of Christ to transform the most vulnerable children in the area. These women cross enormous distances on the mountainsides to identify and serve the area’s most vulnerable children, like Mdeni and Banele. Hands at Work supports them with mentoring, train-ing and finances to provide basic services. Maize seedlings and food supplements have helped to lighten the burden off Mdeni and Banele, giving them enough strength to start attending school in hope that an education will open doors for the future
In the past we have done two conferences, both in South Africa. An Africa conference with our African service center partners and an international conference with our African partners and many international churches and donors as well.
This year instead of having the conferences in just South Africa we will be holding four regional conferences that will be open to anyone interested in attending. The Hands at Work family is growing at a rapid rate which means that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get everyone to South Africa. This means we can bring the conferences closer to home for the Service Centres involved, also allowing our international visitors flexibility and possibly allow them to attend in the country of their interest. In the past we have only been able to have a very small number of community based organizations (CBO) representatives present. By holding regional conferences it will also enable greater CBO participation and give more people exposure to the vision of Hands at Work.
The conference schedule is as follows:
South Africa & Swaziland | March 24-27 | Hands at Work in Africa near White River, South Africa
Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo & Malawi | April 15-18 | Luanshya, Zambia
Mozambique & Zimbabwe | April 22-25 | TBD
Nigeria | May 20-23 | Lagos, Nigeria
We are excited about the new opportunities that hosting regional conferences will bring. All are welcome to come and be a part of the different regional conferences. If you are interested in attending or helping fund the conferences please contact us at email@example.com.
View more of last year's conference in photos