Bridges of Hope South Africa

Bridges of Hope South Africa was born in response to the AIDS pandemic that has ravaged the nation of South Africa to a greater extent than any other country on earth, but the needs in the country go far beyond the health and social issues that result from the health crisis.

  • South Africa has a staggering unemployment rate of over 40%
  • There is a huge lack of housing with millions and millions of people living in squatter camps and in sub-standard housing
  • The educational system is desperately lacking for the majority of the population

The Bridges of Hope organisation helps the community through the following programmes:

Community Health Education (CHE):
The CHE program, formally launched in Philippi in 2004, empowers community members to take charge of the problems their communities face. Hundreds of eager volunteers have since been trained to go into their neighbourhoods and teach physical, spiritual and social health principles. Prevention of prevalent diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Diarrhea, Diabetes and Tooth Decay is taught, along with social/emotional health topics such as Dealing with Alcoholism, Parenting Skills, Conflict Resolution, Orphan Care, Grief, and Forgiveness.  The CHE volunteers have been welcomed into thousands of homes and are helping to transform their communities one life at a time. The CHE program has now expanded into four other local communities: Lower Crossroads, Sweet Home, Samora and Gugulethu. We have even expanded CHE internationally into the neighbouring country of Swaziland, Ethiopia, and India!

After School Program (ASP):
Bridges of Hope started a computer lab in the Masivuke Primary School in 2004 and recruited unemployed community members to volunteer for one year in the program in exchange for Computer Training, English Literacy Skills, Life Skills and Discipleship. The ASP has since multiplied into 3 additional schools. Over 300 children per year enthusiastically attend the program where they also receive training in Computers, English Literacy, Life Skills (including HIV/AIDS prevention) and Discipleship. To date, over 1,000 children have been trained and enriched by the programs, and over 150 community volunteers have been trained to lead the programs, many of whom have obtained employment as a result of their new skills.

Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC):
The OVC Program began in 2003 as our Leadership Committee members identified the growing number of orphaned children as a critical issue in Philippi that had to be addressed  (Bridges of Hope began a monthly sponsorship of  abandoned children, covering school fees, food, clothing, housing expenses and medical care. We have also built and/or expanded three houses in Philippi which serve as homes for orphans.) Our CHE volunteers continued to discover many orphans and vulnerable children as they made their home visits throughout Philippi. In response, Bridges of Hope ran our first OVC Camp in July 2005 and started a weekly OVC Support Group in Philippi.  This initial group has since multiplied to three neighboring communities serving over 125 children, five days per week. The OVC Support Groups are run by a Philippi resident who has trained over 80 volunteers that oversee the welfare of the children and distribute donated multi-vitamins.  Bridges of Hope supplies two nutritious food parcels per child each month. We are working in conjunction with Child Welfare Society to assist the children with their many needs.

Micro-Enterprise Development:
Bridges of Hope provides training and seed money for women of Philippi, Lower Crossroads and Sweet Home to start micro-enterprises which eventually become self-sustaining means of support for them and their families.  Since 2003 we have helped to start Beading, Knitting and Sewing businesses serving over 35 families.

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