An estimated 12 percent of children in sub-Saharan Africa are homeless. If we're going to make a dent in this problem, we need more people like Anna and Phina Mojapelo.
For these South African sisters, giving homeless children a safe place to live just seemed like the right thing to do. In 2000 they opened up a small orphanage in Midrand, South Africa, called "New Jerusalem." Nearly 100 children under the age of 16 now live at the orphanage. Some of the children are AIDS orphans, some came from abusive homes and some were abandoned by their parents.
The sisters are working to give them an education. The Christian Science Monitor recently profiled the sister's efforts to build a Montessori-style preschool with the help of the Dutch charity, Orange Babies. Forty of the young orphans and 40 children from community attend the school.
Although this project seems small, I am impressed both by the vision and compassion that New Jerusalem was founded upon, as well as the potential it encompasses. Powered by Midrand locals, this orphanage is successfully providing kids with a safe home and an early education — both of which give them a better chance of overcoming poverty. As Adrienne Feldner-Busztin — a New Jerusalem volunteer — says, "If you look at the size of the problem, you can feel hopeless, but we don't feel hopeless at all. When you are impacting 96 little lives, you can't feel hopeless."