Bridges of Hope was created in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa. Partnering with the remarkable survivors of decades of oppression, crushing poverty, and the worst health pandemic in history, Bridges has discovered a model of community transformation that works.
Community Health Education (CHE):
Our CHE program, formally launched in Philippi in 2004, empowers community members to take charge of the problems their communities face. Hundreds of eager volunteers have since been trained to go into their neighborhoods and teach physical, spiritual and social health principles. Prevention of prevalent diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Diarrhea, Diabetes and Tooth Decay is taught, along with social/emotional health topics such as Dealing with Alcoholism, Parenting Skills, Conflict Resolution, Orphan Care, Grief, and Forgiveness. The CHE volunteers have been welcomed into thousands of homes and are helping to transform their communities one life at a time. The CHE program has now expanded into four other local communities: Lower Crossroads, Sweet Home, Samora and Gugulethu. We have even expanded CHE internationally into the countries of Swaziland, Ethiopia, and India!
After School Program (ASP):
Bridges of Hope started the After School Program by launching a computer lab in the Masivuke Primary School in 2004 and recruiting unemployed community members to volunteer as leaders for one year in exchange for Computer Training, English Literacy Skills, Life Skills and Discipleship. The ASP has since multiplied into 3 additional schools. Hundreds of children per year enthusiastically attendthe program where they also receive training in Computers, English Literacy, Life Skills (including HIV/AIDS prevention) and Discipleship. To date, over 1,500 children have been trained and enriched by the programs, and over 150 community volunteers have been trained to lead the programs, many of whom have obtained employment as a result of their new skills.
Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC):
Our OVC Program began in 2003 as our CHE Committee members identified the growing number of orphaned children as a critical issue in Philippi that had to be addressed. Our CHE volunteers continued to discover many orphans and vulnerable children as theymade their home visits throughout Philippi. In response, Bridges of Hope ran our first OVC Camp in July 2005 and started a weekly OVC Support Group in Philippi. This initial group has since multiplied to three neighboring communities serving over 125 children, five days per week. The OVC Support Groups are run by trained volunteer facilitators who oversee the welfare of the children and give support to their caregivers. Bridges of Hope supplies two nutritious food parcels per child each month. We are working in conjunction with Child Welfare Society to assist the children with their many needs.
Bridges of Hope provides training and seed money for women of Philippi, Samora and Sweet Home to start micro-enterprises which eventually become self-sustaining means of support for them and their families. Since 2003 we have helped to start Beading, Knitting, Sewing and Preschool businesses serving over 40 families.