Invest in the One, Influence the Many
March 6, 2023|
Extreme poverty in South Africa is a major problem that has been adversely affecting the community for many years. With unemployment being a major issue across South Africa it’s no surprise it’s a primary contributing factor to the widespread extreme poverty in the area. Unemployment rates are particularly dismal when looking at the youth sectors. According to Statistics South Africa, in 2021, youth unemployment hit 66.5% and 43.8% for ages 15-24 and 25-34, respectively. Worse still, 46% of those youth sectors combined were not engaged in any employment, education, or training at all.
High unemployment rates typically lead to an increase in crime as well as drug and alcohol abuse. Many of those living in poverty turn to criminal activities and substance abuse as a way to cope with their difficult life circumstances. Maybe even more importantly, most suffer from a loss of hope that life can or will ever be any different. With little access to quality education or training, many lack the skills needed to gain meaningful employment that will allow them a way to provide for themselves and their families.
Years ago when God called the Hilliard’s to South Africa, He made it clear that their approach to alleviating poverty needed to be holistic in order for it to create extensive and sustainable community transformation. They quickly realized that Africa didn’t need more charity. It needed investment in the development of its greatest resource — its people. When individuals are empowered to reach their highest potential — through spiritual renewal and skills development — widespread community transformation is possible. Add to that the support of the local church, and there becomes a ripple effect that reaches far beyond the borders of our campus.
In Matthew 18, Jesus teaches the Parable of the Lost Sheep, describing a shepherd who leaves 99 of his sheep to go find one that is lost. Jesus says that this is the heart of God towards us. Leaving behind 99 to find one lost sheep seems illogical, irrational, and senseless… until that one is you. At Hope Africa Collective, we recognize the value of the one. This is at the core of why we invest in the one to influence the many. The immense poverty in South Africa can seem overwhelming and impossible to solve. But if we approach the overall problem by serving one person at a time, the road to healing and opportunity is not only manageable – it’s almost inevitable.
We have seen over and over that when one life is changed, there is an undeniable ripple effect. Graduates transformed by the Gospel and empowered with skills make a huge difference in their households and local community. Investing in the development of the one is how we approach poverty alleviation.
Because we care deeply about the whole person, we don’t simply equip students with job skills. When a student comes to Hope Africa Collective, we invest in them personally before they move into any skills development classes. All students begin with our Life Development Process (LDP). LDP consists of Life Direction, Faith Discovery, Computer Training, and Modules. Life Direction teaches students valuable life skills and gives students space to process their story. During Faith Discovery, students hear the Gospel and are taught about what it means to follow Jesus. To the glory of God, many students become born again believers. We encourage them to connect with biblically healthy local churches, many of which have leaders who have gone through our theological training program. In Modules, students learn fundamentals of financial literacy, English, mathematics, and basic business literacy. Finally, Computer Training covers the basics of using a computer (email, Microsoft Office, keyboarding, etc.) which are necessary for job searching, the workplace, or entrepreneurship in the 21st century. Combined, these classes provide a solid foundation for a healthy life and prepare students to be able to effectively apply the technical skills they learn.
For those who want to add tangible skills that can be immediately usable in the local township economy, we build on this strong foundation through economic development in our Trade Skills Training and Hair Salon Training programs. Offering individuals practical training and job skills creates a means of providing for them and their families. This is how we equip individuals – the one – to build better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities.
So, how can you get involved? You don’t have to live in Africa to make a difference in Africa. In fact, you can help the most by staying exactly where you are. We need passionate people all over the world to spread awareness about Africa’s poverty crisis and partner with us to abolish it. Join our collective as a monthly donor to help make this important work possible. Just $25 per month covers the cost of one student to complete the Life Development Process each year. You can invest in the one to influence the many. This is how we will develop potential, transform communities, and overcome poverty together.