Forgotten Voices' Mission:

"Demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by equipping local churches in southern Africa to meet the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS in their communities."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Meet Siphilisiwe

Siphilisiwe was widowed by the age of 28. When her husband died from meningitis in 2003, she was left to raise four children under the age of ten. Seven years later, the physical and spiritual burden of losing father and husband weighs heavily on this family. Living in Zimbabwe, a country with 95% unemployment, and with limited formal education, Siphilisiwe earns money by selling food at a road-side stand near her home. But it hasn’t been enough to make ends meet. Siphilisiwe’s two oldest children dropped out of school two years ago when she could no longer afford to pay their school fees.

Hazel is the eldest child in the family and takes care of her siblings when her mother is not around. She had to quit school during Form 3 (equivalent to grade 10).

Nhlanhla is the second-born. Though only 14 years old, he has a responsibility to his family as the oldest male, and education is key to his ability to eventually support them. He had to drop out after grade 7, however, when money for school fees was no longer available.

This year, Siphilisiwe learned that the Free Methodist Church in her community ran a Social Ministries Program which, among other things, helped families in need with school fee payments. This church is one of the many across Zimbabwe and Zambia with whom Forgotten Voices is honored to partner. Siphilisiwe approached the church and explained her situation. Both Hazel and Nhlanhla were approved so have their school fees paid by the church, through their partnership with Forgotten Voices International.

Hazel has now returned to school to finish Form 3 and Nhlanhla has begun Form 1 (grade 8). One of the church volunteers who now regularly checks in on this family writes,

“Hope has been restored. The family can now smile again, though tears still run down Siphilisiwe’s face as she remembers her loss. On the other hand she has tears of joy as her kids are back to school. Thank you for joining God in demonstrating His love to the widows and orphans. Praise God!”

This is already a powerful story of the local Church reaching out to widows and orphans in their distress. But the story doesn’t end there. Siphilisiwe has begun bringing her family to church. Pray that they come to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Pray that they will experience His love, healing and strength as they continue to face challenges ahead.

Help us give voice to pastors in southern Africa, who are reaching out to demonstrate the love of Christ to children orphaned by AIDS in their communities. Invest in their hopes at by making a gift today.

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