Food for the Hungry in Africa Update
This year, Food for the Hungry (FH) continues walking alongside people in eight beautiful and distinctive countries on the very diverse African continent. We walk alongside Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda…just a few of the 54 African countries recognized today. But in these eight countries, FH’s work contributes to spiritual transformation. Read this year’s Africa Update for signs of beauty, goodness, and truth as communities work toward escaping poverty.
Burundi, the DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda are different in a number of aspects. Their geographies, population sizes, ethnicities, languages, religions, history, and politics vary. Their economies, sources of livelihoods, and family cultures are distinctive. Just like the way that food, accents, and traditions differ in parts of the United States, the way that people live and think can look very different even within regions of the same country. This means that the way FH works changes with the context.
Yet our focus remains the same. We build relationships with people and we seek to demonstrate the love of Jesus in culturally appropriate ways that empower everyone to live out their God-given potential. Physical necessities like clean water, food, sanitation infrastructure, and educational supplies are important. But so is helping marginalized people understand that they are valuable and have gifts to contribute to their community.
When we asked staff in FH’s African countries to share where they see that happening, here is what they shared:
In Burundi, children learn about why they have inherent dignity and that they deserve to be treated with love. The country director, Jerry Kazadi, shared with us that in Burundi, “child sponsorship brings children together as members of the same community and promotes unity and love.” In addition to this, FH is facilitating children’s gatherings in neighborhoods that let all of the community’s vulnerable children “learn how to express their love for each other.”
The Bible tells us that God created people in his image. This means that humans are special and have dignity and rights that cannot be taken away. Trisha Okenge, the country director in Ethiopia, wrote to us that this Scripture helps FH’s sponsored children. It changes the way they look at the world and see themselves in it. Now, Trisha says, the children “have started dreaming big and are able to cast a vision.” They understand the importance of sharing their gifts and ideas to serve their communities and change their own lives!
For children living in poverty, sometimes feeling hopeless about their lives, knowing that God cares about them can be life-changing. In Kenya, FH is supporting children’s education through school and life skills training. This equips them to pursue goals and find the motivation to follow a good path instead of staying stuck in poverty or hopelessness.
All of FH’s work begins with the principle of caring for orphans, widows, people in poverty, and all vulnerable people. We believe that all people have something to give to their community. In Mozambique, sponsored children constantly hear the message that they matter. As a result, an FH staff member shared that this truth “inspires and encourages” sponsored children. Knowing that their lives have significance helps children “to have a more positive take on their lives, knowing that there is more to the world than what they are accustomed to seeing and hearing.”
FH’s work in Rwanda shows sponsored children that all of our actions matter to God. Alice Kamau is Rwanda’s country director. She told us “Sponsored children are able to tackle life from a positive outlook when they understand that God’s intention is for them to flourish.” Children in Rwanda learn that God desires that they live out joy and harmony, so it is important to love others through kindness to their siblings, respect of elderly people, working hard in school, helping their parents, and being honest and generous to everyone.
Of Food for the Hungry’s five chief values, the first is “We follow Jesus.” Uganda’s country director Malvern Chikanya says that this value particularly inspires his staff. They seek to always implement “activities in communities with love, care, and hope.”
Through them, the message of love, care, and hope cascades down to people in the communities. And then it changes the vision that children have for the world.
We hope you enjoyed hearing a little bit about FH’s spiritual worldview impacting children in our African contexts. Check out the links below to learn what is going on in other parts of the world!
Latin America Updates: What God Is Doing in 2019
Asia Updates: What God Is Doing in 2019
In Kenya, Clean Water Flows Out of An…ATM?