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How You Can Make a Difference in South Africa

Welcome to my series all about our recent family trip to South Africa. I’m recounting some of our favorite experiences, lessons we learned, travel tips, and some of the most memorable stories and takeaways. To read all of the posts in this series, click here.

As I close this series on our trip to South Africa, I want to give you an opportunity to help in a tangible way. Many of you have asked me if there is a way you can send money or help in other ways.

First off, please know that I only share this with those of you are feeling a tug in your heart to be involved. I rarely share these types of opportunities because I know that most of you are on tight budgets and I never want you to feel in any way obligated to help.

But I also know that many of you would really love to help and are eager to find out about specific ways to make a difference in South Africa. Know that just by reading here and by occasionally purchasing deals we post or buying my online courses and products, you are making a difference in South Africa — because our family gives a significant portion of our income to help pay for the operational costs of Take Action Ministry.

We believe wholeheartedly in the work of Take Action Ministry and we also know exactly how they spend every penny. We know that they are extremely careful and prayerful and wise with all funds given to them and we know firsthand that the money we invest there goes very far.

In addition, Jesse serves in a volunteer position on the board of the ministry, so he is actively involved in the decisions that they are making and the direction they are taking. I only share this because I want you to know that this is something our family is personally deeply invested in.

Take Action Ministry is helping to feed, teach, nurture, and provide care for around 1100+ children at 17 different centres they work closely with. These centres are located in some of the poorest areas of South Africa and these children are some of the most vulnerable kids in those areas.

Many of these children live in child-headed households or with a grandparent or aunt. Their parents are either no longer living or they work in the city. Since transportation from the city to these rural areas is expensive, parents working in the cities often can only come home once a month or so.

It’s very common for these children to be left to pretty much fend for themselves and take care of themselves. The government does provide schooling, but the education is usually very minimal as teacher training is also minimal. Many children not only do not have parents who are teaching them basic skills and caring for them, but they are also not learning much at school.

That’s why the work that Take Action Ministry is doing is so vital to these kids and their futures. The centres they work with provide so much support to these communities — feeding the kids nutritious meals, teaching children to read, helping them with schoolwork, teaching them basic hygiene (such as how to pick up trash instead of just throwing it on the ground), giving them opportunities to be involved in sports, helping them to have a safe place to go to after school, providing counseling services, teaching the kids about Jesus, and helping them to feel part of a community where they are loved and cared for.

While there are so many needs that I could tell you about in South Africa, I wanted to highlight three needs that I’d love for you to consider being involved in:

1. Buy a Pair of School Shoes for a Child

Take Action Ministry is currently hosting a Shoe Drive with the big, big goal of providing a new pair of school shoes to every school age and preschool age child in each of their 17 centres. That’s 1110 pairs of shoes total. It sounds like a BIG number, but I know that we can all band together and make this happen!

Here’s more information from Take Action Ministry:

All children of school going age at our partner centres are supposed to wear black school shoes as part of their uniform, but many children are unable to do so because they come from households where the cost of a pair of shoes is prohibitive.

Although most of the schools in the Hammanksraal area show leniency with this requirement, the children still suffer as not wearing school shoes singles them out as being vulnerable and poor, which takes away their dignity and feelings of self worth.

We are asking you to stand in the gap to provide a pair of new or very gently used school shoes for every child from our partner centres who will be attending school in 2019. In addition, we hope to bless those who are too young for big school with a pair of shoes they can be proud of!

On average, a good pair of school shoes costs R250. The cost varies by size, with smaller sizes costing less than larger ones.

We reached out to a large shoe supplier and have been given an amazing discount on black school shoes we purchase through them! In addition to this fantastic news, we can also purchase shoes for children who attend creche at this same discounted rate!

In our original newsletter, we said that we needed to raise R250,000/$20,000 to provide shoes for every child. We are so excited to share that those numbers have changed to R159,000/$11,500!

These figures are based on the discount we will receive and also on the current exchange rate, which is always in flux.

I’d like to challenge each family who reads here to do is to prayerfully consider donating the cost of one pair of shoes to Take Action Ministry. This would be around $15 to $25. If you have more than one child, maybe you might consider donating a pair of shoes for each child you have?

Think of fun ways to get your kids involved in this! Maybe they could come up with creative ways you could earn or raise the money. Or they might donate some from their savings, piggy bank, or allowance.

If you donate, would you leave a comment or send me an email so I can personally thank you? Also, if you come up with a creative idea to raise money for this or to find the money in your budget for this, would you send me an email? I’d love to consider sharing it to inspire others!

To donate to the Shoe Drive, just go here and enter your amount and information. Then, put “Shoe Drive” in the notes section. 

2. Become a Monthly Sponsor

If you feel God tugging on your heart to do something more, there is a big need for ongoing donations to Take Action Ministry. They currently have a need to hire more locals to help out at some of their centres and they would also love to be able to pay some of those locals who are giving up many hours of their time to volunteer at their centres.

If you are interested in becoming a monthly donor, even just $20 or $40 per month can go a long way toward helping with the these salaries and could make such a difference.

To become a monthly sponsor, you can set it up here. (Just enter your details and choose “Monthly Donation”).

If you’d like more information about Take Action Ministry and the work they are doing/how they manage their funds, I know that Jesse would be happy to talk to you more about it. (Just email me and I can put you in touch with him!) We are so careful about where we choose to give our money, so I want you to feel very confident in what you are investing in and make sure to have all of your questions answered.

Thank you so much for considering this! You have no idea the far-reaching impact you could be making… and I hope maybe someday I could take you with me to South Africa and get to show you firsthand!

3. Donate to Amo’s House Fund

Amo is a sweet, sweet girl that our family got to meet when we first visited South Africa. Our friends, the Feys, often take care of her while her mom works. They have become like family to her family and have long dreamed of being able to help build her family a home. (You can read more about Amo and her family here.)

When we first visited South Africa, Kathrynne got to go with their family to Amo’s house. When she came back home, she told me that was one of the points of the trip that stuck out most to her. I vividly remember her looking up into my eyes and saying, “Mom! Amo’s whole family lives in a house that felt smaller than my room! And it was so old and cramped!”

She was pretty overwhelmed by the poverty she saw and she then said this, “Mom! I don’t understand! If there are Christians in this world, why does Amo’s family live like that?”

I had no answer for her, ya’ll.

But I did tell her that this is why our family chooses to be very careful with how we spend our money and that this is why we often say “no” when she asks if she can have certain things… because we are choosing to give that money away instead of spend it on our family. We can’t meet all the needs or help all the people, but we can do what we can do — and that’s why we want to live beneath our means so we can give generously.

I think Kathrynne is forever going to be changed by what she saw that day.

The story didn’t end there, though. Guess what? The Fey’s worked tirelessly to raise enough support from Christians around the world to build Amo’s family a house!

We got to go and see this house when we visited South Africa and it was pretty incredible. They were so proud of their house and I was, too. Because it was beautiful! (See pictures and progress reports of the house-building project here.)

The house is finished enough that they can move into it, but we asked permission to take their picture and share their story here because I thought maybe some of you might want to donate to the house project — there are still a lot of needs to help furnish it and finish it out.

If you would like to donate to Amo’s family’s house, you can click on the donate button on the sidebar of the Fey’s blog here

(The old house)

(The new house — isn’t it so nice?!)

(Amo was talking to me here! She’s so precious!)

(Pictured are some of the wonderful team from Take Action Ministry — they aren’t just people we know in South Africa; they are people we consider our dear friends!)

Whether you donate money to pay for a pair of shoes, sign up to become a monthly sponsor, give to Amo’s house fund, share this post with someone else, or just get inspired to give in some way in your own community through this post, all of us here pictured say thank you. You might never know this side of heaven the impact that your support will have to change children’s lives and futures.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

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