ALARM Orphan Care
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. -James 1:27
Why do we care?
Ongoing civil wars, HIV/AIDS, famine, and disease have left 50 million orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa. It has been noted that every 15 seconds there is another orphan due to HIV/AIDS. Between 1990 and 2000, the number of orphans in Africa rose from 30.9 million to 41.5 million, and those orphaned by AIDS increased from 330,000 to seven million. In Burundi and Uganda alone there are 3.3 million orphans and projections indicate these numbers are on the rise. African communities typically take in these children and nurture them, but due to the growing number of orphans this just isn’t financially possible.
What are we doing?
As ALARM has worked to provide leadership and peacebuilding training in East and Central Africa, our African staff members have encountered thousands of orphans. Most of the children have lost both parents and live with relatives, neighbors, or in a child-headed home. A few still have one parent, but due to HIV/AIDS or a number of other heart-breaking reasons, this parent is no longer able to provide for their children.
In order to create a culture of peace and reconciliation, ALARM seeks to protect these future leaders by assigning loving Christian mentors who are trained to identify and meet their physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. Most have suffered the trauma of war and receive restorative counsel based on ALARM’s peacebuilding and trauma healing curriculum. In addition, ALARM mentors provide purity training, hygiene lessons, conflict resolution skills, and other important life-skills typically obtained from a parent. They visit the child frequently at home and at school to encourage and build their self-esteem. This also allows them to identify household needs as well (ie. new thatching for the roof). Mentors also connect children to a local church where they receive biblical discipleship and become part of a fellowship of believers. Regional leaders train and oversee these mentors; directing funds to provide the best care based on the unique needs of each child.
ALARM’s philosophy on orphan care is that the Church in Africa should care for the orphans and widows among them. ALARM seeks to empower the Church and the community to care for their orphans. The heart’s desire of each of these orphans is to go to school, belong to their community, and become productive citizens who serve and transform their communities. They know that an education will open the doors to a better future. One in which they can provide for themselves.