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A Special Place for Special Needs

Those of you who are familiar with all of New Hope Initiative’s projects might wonder why you haven’t heard anything regarding our orphanage for children with special needs in some time. Our last visit there was several years ago and we wanted to wait before sending an update. In September we visited the orphanage with a team from Sagemont Church in Houston, Texas. Our project in India is easily our most unique, as it diligently cares for children with both physical and mental challenges. The orphanage is small, as we are only meeting the needs of 15 children. This is a result of both funding issues, as well as the extra care required by the children.

The challenges these children face range from mild academic-related delays to extreme developmental issues that have rendered them totally incapable of caring for themselves. Some of the children have physical disabilities and one is hearing impaired (see Im(re)paired). Five of the fifteen orphans do not suffer from mental or physical challenges and serve as mentors and helpers to the more challenged children.

These five, all girls, were abandoned by their families who did not want to raise more female children. Abuse and other unspeakable horrors awaited them if left to a life on the streets. These young ladies, ranging in age from 12-14, are a great help to our facility.

Our goals for this center are to increase monthly funding so that we can add about 10 more children and to move our new director, a local named Jenny, from two days each week to a full time position.

Jenny has a degree in physical therapy and experience with children with special needs. She is doing an amazing job and we are incredibly happy that we added her to our staff of caregivers.

We also need a deep-water well on the property as all water is currently brought in by truck. A new well will cut operating costs, raise the level of care, and allow for farming. Not only will this improve the children’s diet, but give them valuable skills needed to survive.

The orphanage can be a challenging place. This is due to the extreme nature of the challenges these children face, and also the reality many of these children are discarded like trash because families believe they are a curse from the gods. However, no matter how great the challenges, it is awesome to see the difference we are making in the lives of these very special children. It is because of your continued prayer and support that we are able to serve this community.



Sierra Leone Update

I-pods, computers, video games, and cell phones; many children in the U.S. are continually looking for the next great gadget to bring them happiness. How about the children in the Karen Baird’s Children Home in Sierra Leone? What brings them overwhelming joy? Bibles. That’s right, God’s Word. The children have been longing for their very own Bibles since I first met them four years ago. These children have seen their world and lives transformed because of the love of God. They have seen and interacted with multiple missionary groups that have come in the name of Christ to help them develop both physically and spiritually. As my pastor says, “The Bible is not for information only, but for transformation through application.” The children have had their lives transformed, but I pray that with their own Bibles they will learn more, apply it to their lives, and grow spiritually. Pastor Rogers and his staff are determined to see these children become the Christian leaders that their country needs in order to spread the Gospel. They know that God can accomplish all things and He has a plan for them. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). I would like to thank Grace Community Church in Texas for raising the funding required to provide the children with Bibles.

The rainy season has descended upon Sierra Leone. With an average of 19 feet of rain a year; the rains are both a blessing and a hindrance. The rains are welcomed for the farming projects Pastor Rogers has implemented. With four more acres cleared and planted, the rains will ensure that the crops take root. We’ve planted a second crop of cassava and potatoes, as well as ground nuts (similar to peanuts) and leaf vegetables. The first harvest of cassava has begun and the processing of the root. All the children assist with clearing, planting, and weeding.

The rains have halted the progress of the Pig Project. We began production of mud blocks for the structure, but the rains prevented the blocks from drying properly, and in some cases washed them away completely. While initially disappointing, the delay will allow an architect in Massachusetts to finish researching, designing, and shipping the plans of a proper structure to Pastor Rogers. He and his staff are also able to learn more about raising pigs from other local farmers and from books that were sent over in March. Despite unexpected challenges, God continues to keep His hand on all the projects at the Home.

The rains also increase the mosquito population. We can expect many of the children to contract malaria. The only protection they have is from bed nets that stifle any breeze that may give them relief from the heat. God willing, the clinic will have the proper medication and an adequate supply.

Please continue to pray for the following: the children and staff of the orphanage, an increase in the monthly support raised for the Home (a minimum of an additional $500 a month is needed to cover the costs of schooling), completion of Pastor Rogers’ house, and success of all the farming projects. Thank you to all who participate in the project and support it financially. God is blessing this project! Hope is realized by the hopeless and the Gospel of Christ is being spread. Check out New Hope Initiative on YouTube to see the work being accomplished.

By Phil d’Entremont - Project Director: Sierra Leone