Of all the things you could give a child, an opportunity for education leaves the biggest impact on their life. In rural areas of East Africa, many children are never given the chance to go to school because families cannot afford to pay school fees. Faces 4 Hope has created a bridge between children and youth desiring to continue their education and those who are looking to change a life through the sponsorship program.
The Faces 4 Hope School Sponsorship program serves children in primary school through college. Students are referred to Faces 4 Hope on a rolling basis, each facing a unique set of needs and challenges. Becoming a sponsor for a child not only provides a hopeful future for a student, it also instills a sense of value in their lives.
Providing hope through opportunity for education costs only $600 a year or $50 a month. Those funds not only cover the student’s school fees but also supply school materials, uniforms, personal hygiene needs, transportation, and medical care.
In the sub-Saharan region of Africa, drought threatens the population multiple times a year. In places such as Northern Tanzania, with no accessible ground water, life depends completely on rain. In the dry seasons, women and children can walk up to 20 miles to find a source of water keeping them away from their families for days. Children miss school for weeks to herd cattle to different villages in search of water and grainy land. Even those who are not being forced to travel are at a high risk of water borne illness from the polluted water gathered from small rainwater reservoirs. One in four babies born in this region die of dehydration shortly after birth.
With the help of generous donors, Faces 4 Hope has helped the community build two large above ground water reserves. These tanks can hold between 16,000 and 25,000 gallons of water and are a means for survival for the tribal Maasai people and their livestock during the dry seasons. Using material bought in country and hands of volunteers, a local employment, the cement tanks can be built for about $15,000.
Without adequate water reserves in these rural communities, people gather their water from withering watering holes. People and their animals use these small pools of rainwater leaving the water filthy and polluted. Funds given for Faces 4 Hope’s clean water projects are designated for the building and maintaining of rainwater tanks.
For women in Maasai culture and many other tribes across East Africa, life can consist of nothing more than bearing children, herding goats, and providing daily needs for their home such as food and water. Many times these women were married very young to an older man, leaving them widows at an early stage in life. This leaves them struggling to provide for children. Because most of them grew up without formal education, the opportunities to earn incomes are few, but they still have many useful skills that can be used to generate an income if given the foundation to begin a business.
Faces 4 Hope’s micro-loan program assists widowed and poverty-stricken women with encouragement and resources to begin a small business. Women who once felt confined to their homes with no hope of a more sustainable future are now chicken farmers, masters of beadwork, and successful seamstresses. In small groups of five to seven, the women keep each other accountable for their businesses and use their returned investments to continue building their businesses in the local community.
Giving a loan to a woman does so much more than give her the opportunity to start a small business. It empowers a woman to for the first time feel valued and experience her own God-given abilities. She begins to make plans for the future and no longer thinks only of surviving day to day. With the stability this income provides, she perseveres through challenging times of drought and famine and is able to independently provide her family with food and shelter. Her children are able to be given an education and become empowered themselves: thus breaking the cycle of poverty.