“It takes a village to raise a child.” The OM Project HOPE team in Kasama, Zambia, understands the African proverb deeply. From the very beginning of Project HOPE, OM has involved the local church and communities in reaching out to people who don’t know Jesus, believing it requires a team effort to see hope restored in neglected, but valuable, souls.

James 1:27 is the key verse for Project HOPE. “The task is big, and God is asking us as Christians to care for the orphans and the widows,” said Francis Chileshe, the leader of Project HOPE. The team mobilises churches in different communities to see God’s heart for the vulnerable children, and then trains them to care for the lost. As of March 2018, 15 volunteers from different churches formed the Social Concern Group (SCG). This group identifies the most vulnerable children in the community and partners with OM to support them. 

“We also empower the church in rural areas to take on this role. In some townships, there are no churches. Then the OM team will go to form a group there,” Francis shared. Through regular house visits and children’s programmes, volunteers reach out and bring hope to the children.

“We are not able to be there for the all the children, all the time, in all the different communities, but the church is there to provide for the urgent needs. They also know the environments and the situations more,” Francis said. OM equips volunteers to be sufficient caregivers. Each SCG reaches out to around 30 vulnerable children at a time. “The volunteers work diligently without complaining. I am very happy to work with them,” Francis shared.

Only God has the solution

Volunteer Daniel Mubanga was part of the work from the beginning. Since 2012, he has been faithfully partnering with OM to lead the SCG in his church. Through the experience of taking care of his deceased brother’s children, he realised how many challenges orphans go through. Knowing Francis from childhood, Daniel was touched when Francis shared about the work, and he wanted to share the passion of bringing hope to the vulnerable.

“Only God has a solution for them. We need to let them understand that God has a plan for them,” Daniel said. For a child, losing a loving parent can feel like the whole world is being torn apart. “They think this is the end of life. They [think they] have no solution but to go to the street.”

Daniel has walked this journey with many vulnerable children, and he shared that encouragement is the key. “They need people to show them the hope beyond their difficulties. They might lose their parents but not their lives.” Regularly visiting and giving positive encouragement helps the children focus on God and not give up. Daniel is dedicated to visiting the children—even if the child moves to high school in another community, he is willing to travel to meet the child and ensure they have enough funds for school fees and are walking closely with God.

Challenges are still great as the team works with children experiencing trauma and living in poor conditions. Once, a few children who were helped by a SCG knocked on Daniel's door, saying that their school had kicked them out because they didn’t have enough money for tuition. Heart-broken, Daniel was not able to give them all the money they needed. He prayed, and God provided the money just in time. Now some of those children have finished high school. 

Don’t compare, and be strong

“Don’t compare, and be strong in Christ,” Alex Sichinsambwe encourages vulnerable children who are going through the same pain he once experienced. Identified as ‘vulnerable’ by a SCG when he was a child, he is now a 22-year-old young man studying to be a mechanic. Alex’s transformation is a great example of the results stemming from OM’s partnership with the church.

Alex was one of the first boys that OM sponsored to go to school. When he was in grade three, his father passed away and his mother couldn’t provide the funds for him to continue school, so he had to stop. “I started to doubt and lose hope for school and even the hope of my future,” Alex said. Thankfully, Daniel found Alex and put him on the list of a SCG. Through the funds from OM, he was able to go back to school, eventually becoming the first person in his family to finish high school. 

Daniel reached out to Alex during that critical time, inviting him to join OM’s children’s programme. For 15 years, Alex was provided for by many different people. Later on, he gave his life to God though the preaching of an elder, who was also an OM volunteer. From childhood to adulthood, Francis, Daniel and the church guided Alex like a father. Their care helped him grow spiritually and built in him the ability to make right choices.

Seeing Alex grow from a boy to a man, Francis said he was astonished by the development in him. “He has a heart to keep up, even when situations are difficult. He grasped the key of holding on to Jesus,” Francis explained like a proud father. “He is out of the vulnerable stage, but he is still the humble guy I met at first.” 

Alex said that if Francis and Daniel hadn’t been there for him, he didn’t know where he’d be now. He understood that it was by God’s grace that he found hope. Today, Alex has the passion to pass on this love to other vulnerable children, so they can also experience the transformational power of hope found in God.  

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27 (NIV)

Share this Resource

Leave a Reply

You might also like:

Tutoring Program Overseer / Coordinator (AIDSLink) Zambia    Go & Live    As soon as possible1. Oversee the running of the program, making sure things are in place and program is in good shape
Full Details
AIDSLink Zambia Ministry Leader Zambia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleA Leader among of Leadership team of AIDSLink. Develop volunteers and sustain community ministries with making VCJFs as the goal
Full Details
AIDSLink Zambia Ministry Team Leadership Zambia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleMake plans and decisions; strategize, organizing ministry if needed, give direction and suggestions in ministry
Full Details
Finance Person Zambia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleMake requisition for funds monthly, scan to keep record and surrender receipts of expenses in the finance office
Full Details
Evangelist Zambia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleSince our beginnings, we have been driven by a deep conviction that everyone should have the opportunity to hear the gospel at least once. Sadly, there are still thousands of peoples and communities that have never heard about Jesus, ever. Do you share our passion for these people to hear of His fame and renown? We are looking for you, and many more like you, to join us on this journey to see vibrant communities of Jesus followers established among the least reached all over the world.
Full Details
REACH in Zambia Zambia    Go & Visit    19 February 2024 - 11 August 2024- We aim to train believers in Spiritual Formation, to grow and continue to grow in their knowledge of, intimacy with and obedience to God. - Understanding of God’s word, gain deeper understanding of Gods mission for the world and be aware of the needs, challenges, and opportunities in fulfilling this mission, as well as be equipped to respond. - Being equipped to serve the least reached, growing in competency of using tools and strategies to reproduce Jesus followers in different cultural context.
Full Details
Administrator Zambia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAcross OM, we have a strong need for individuals gifted in administration to aid ministry taking place on the mission field. Those with administrative skills are needed in almost every facet of ministry to ensure that outreaches, meetings and programmes operate with efficiency, and that tasks, paperwork and coordination involved in organising people and events is accomplished with completeness and attention to detail. If this describes how God has wired you, consider here how you can use your administrative gifts to see more vibrant communities of Jesus followers established among the least reached.
Full Details
Tutors in Communities (AIDSLink) Zambia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleEducation, community work, vulnerable
Full Details
Farm Manager Zambia    Go & Live    June 2023Kansuli Farm is a sustainable project of OM Lake Tanganyika. It is a means of assisting local missionaries as they share the gospel of Jesus Christ, funding local ministries and the farm is an access path to sharing the gospel to nearby communities
Full Details
Ministry Centre Maintenance Person (AIDSLink Zambia) Zambia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleMaintenance, plumbing, handy-man
Full Details
Sending Officer Zambia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleRecruiting, follow up on placement. ( local and international)
Lead the recruitment process to achieve a good fit between recruits and ministries in the field and other OM fields including the ship.

Full Details
Chief Finance Officer: Zambia Zambia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleTo support the Zambia leadership team and the Area Chief Financial Officer with regards to the oversight of financial operations within Zambia and to provide accountability and integrity.
Full Details