House of Hope designs a new home and school
Andrawes* and Lily* were called to be missionaries in South Sudan at a young age. They began serving with Streams of Living Water’s House of Hope in 2013. God rescued them from a series of gang attacks before sending them back to Egypt for children’s ministry, equipping them to better meet the needs of the children back in South Sudan. Now, Andrawes and Lily search for a better way to meet the needs of the children in and around the House of Hope. Read the previous installments of their story here.
As a result of 50 years of on-and-off war, South Sudan’s children are particularly vulnerable. Many orphans live on the streets or in forests. Even children with families are often neglected or impoverished. Streams of Living Water’s House of Hope cares for 48 of these vulnerable girls in Juba, but the team longs to do even more.
Though they pray that one day the girls will all be reclaimed by loving relatives, Andrawes and Lily hold little hope for this. Adoption isn’t an option even for those of the 48 girls who are truly orphans. Because South Sudan is a tribal culture, adoption outside the family isn’t allowed; an orphan’s extended family is expected to care for them. This doesn’t always happen.
“In South Sudan, no one wants to have more children in their homes to provide for,” Lily says. “So if we find someone who is ready and capable and responsible, we would be happy, but we don’t think that we will find such people easily.”
For example, two girls were brought to the House of Hope by their grandmother, who died shortly afterward. Though they have other living relatives, their aunt and uncle refuse to care for them because of their financial situation.
In some cases, when a father dies, his widow will remarry to provide for herself, but her new husband will refuse to care for children from another man, forcing the children out of the home. In extreme cases, a desperate mother may turn to prostitution, risking her own safety and the safety of her children.
The community begs the House of Hope to do more.
“Each few weeks we have a mom at our door asking us to take her children because she cannot provide for their food and their education,” Lily says. “But living in an institution is not best for a child.”
As the staff considered how the House of Hope could meet the needs of their community and their 48 daughters without causing further harm, a solution arose: open a school and redesign the House of Hope.
In this new plan they are moving toward, the school will be held in the current House of Hope dormitories (the l-shaped building to the right) and the girls will live in a new family-based complex. Each apartment in the complex (which is nearly complete — see the building with the white top to the right) will be home to eight girls and one caregiver. They will live as smaller family units involved in a more normal lifestyle.
The school will target the same demographic of vulnerable children that the House of Hope is already serving. But while the House of Hope takes in children who have no responsible relatives, the school will serve children who have relatives to live with, providing them with a Christian education, food, medication and a safe place to stay during the day.
“We are here to just see God’s work,” Lily says. “We don’t have a committed fund to survive day to day. We live by faith financially and medically. We just see the Lord’s provision day by day. It’s very hard but it’s very precious.”
They trust that God will bring South Sudanese women to teach at the new school and provide the final funding for the new girls’ dormitory, which is currently without a roof or furnishings. By faith, they plan to move the girls into their new dorms in May, with the school opening in the old dorm complex in June.
*Name changed for security