Students do their school work in the Child Rescue Center (CRC) School of Champions computer lab after UMC #GivingTuesday donations allowed CRC to purchase tablets, software programs, and also upgrade the bandwidth at the residential compound.
A Source of Hope During the Ebola Crisis
By Judith Santiago*
The 2014 West Africa Ebola epidemic was the largest in history. The outbreak claimed the lives of more than 11,300 people and affected multiple African countries.
As new cases continued to be reported throughout Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, the leadership staff of Child Rescue Center (CRC), Advance #14377A in Sierra Leone saw an opportunity to create new programs that would keep their children engaged, encouraged, and educationally inspired.
As services and schools were shut down to protect vulnerable populations from the virus, new programming was made possible by UMC #GivingTuesday donations made in 2014.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa impacted every aspect of life in Sierra Leone,” said Laura Horvath, African Programs Director for CRC. “The funds we received on Giving Tuesday allowed our staff the flexibility to adjust our programs as the outbreak continued to evolve.
CRC, a program of Helping Children Worldwide, a US-based Christian non-profit organization, is no stranger to crisis. Established in 2000, CRC initially supported the feeding of 40 abandoned street children in Bo Town, Sierra Leone, as the country emerged from a devastating 11-year civil war that was known for its brutality to civilians and enrollment of child soldiers. Shortly after opening, the CRC expanded into a residential facility to house, clothe, feed, and educate the 40 children. Today, CRC offers life-changing programs to nearly 400 children who struggle to survive in desperate situations of abject poverty and neglect.
A boy and his mother win a bag of rice after the boy won a song contest that aired on a CRC Cares Radio Program, which was created with UMC #GivingTuesday donations.
UMC #GivingTuesday donations boost connection and productivity
When the schools were closed across the nation, students at CRC focused on core academics such as English, math, and science, using tablet technology through the newly-implemented “CRC School of Champions.” The UMC #GivingTuesday donations allowed CRC to purchase tablets, software programs, and also upgrade the bandwidth at the residential compound, boosting their connectivity and helping the students grow stronger and smarter in their technology capabilities.
To help the students stay on track, CRC consistently provided students with educational instruction inside the CRC compound in core subjects six days a week. Fundamental classes were taught in the morning and enrichment activities and sports were offered in the afternoon. In addition, the children served in the Child Support and Foster Care programs were also engaged in classes such as reading, Christian ethics, leadership, personal hygiene, and home economics.
UMC Gifts Spark Radio Initiative
Another new initiative made possible through UMC #GivingTuesday donations, was the creation of the “CRC Cares Radio Program,” which provided hope-filled messages to families impacted by the ongoing Ebola crisis and provided them with academic lessons and uplifting messages in their time of uncertainty.
The broadcast awarded prizes for correct answers to academic questions—and for the best joke, song, or story. During a recent broadcast, a boy called in and won half a bag of rice for the song he sang on air. When the staff of the radio program arrived at his home to deliver the rice, his mother said that they had no food left in the house. She felt very fortunate and blessed that her son had won the contest.
Support the work of Child Rescue Center (CRC), Advance #14377A with your gifts and help this project continue to create tangible, life-changing programs for the children it serves.
UMC #GivingTuesday is Dec. 1
On Dec. 1, United Methodists will once again come together to support the work of Advance projects and missionaries on UMC#GivingTuesday. And once again, every gift made online through The Advance at www.umcmission.org/give on Dec. 1, 2015, will be matched up to $1 million.**
Download and share UMC#GivingTuesday resources.
* Judith Santiago is the Editorial and Content Coordinator for Global Ministries.
**Global Ministries will allocate the matching funds dollar for dollar up to the first $1 million in gifts to Advance projects received online on Dec. 1, 2015 between 12:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. CT. A maximum of $2,500 per individual gift to a project will be dispersed as matching funds. An individual project may receive a maximum of $25,000 in matching funds.