Hope Africa

In 1994 the first free elections were held in South Africa, and the era of Apartheid came to an end. But although political freedom and equality was won, there was still (and still is) a huge economic gap between rich and poor in South Africa. While that gap still exists (and remains along racial lines), poverty acts like a form of Apartheid.

In 2000 the Anglican Church in South Africa set up a body called Hope Africa to address this poverty gap, not so much by hand-outs as through helping communities to develop their skills and bring themselves out of poverty. Hope Africa began its work in the townships round Cape Town, but now works throughout South Africa.

Photo of the playgroup leader, who trains mothers in child care

The playgroup leader, who trains mothers in child care

Sometimes there is a crisis and appeals are made for emergency hand-outs. More often the work is quiet and behind the scenes, encouraging communities to get training and turn their new skills into employment – help is offered with business plans etc. There is also a need for health, housing and child care – the pictures show over 100 children crammed into a small house, but the woman at the front is training a group of mothers in child care.

Photo of small children doing actions to a song

Small children doing actions to a song

My favourite story is of a group of women who set themselves to build their own homes out of bricks, instead of the corrugated iron, bits of wood and even cardboard of the “informal housing� that makes up much of the townships. Hope Africa helped them with the bureaucracy, but when the local authority failed to supply the bricks, the women made their own bricks out of mud!

Chris Burch.

This entry is dated Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006 at 12.43pm and is filed under News.

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