40 Day Fast: Oceans of Mercy
My cause is the organization Oceans of Mercy, Inc.
“I wish all you people who are working so hard could see what you are doing and the lives you’re changing. We took Philisande (the 4 month old baby that [caregiver Mama Gladys] found on the floor of a shack who is HIV +) to the doctor the other day and he has changed her life expectancy from grade school to high school because of the care and love she is receiving. Two years ago when I first met Phila, she was 1 year old and just empty in side. No laughter, no smiles, not walking…. Not anymore!” -Ronnie Colin, Oceans of Mercy Children’s Village
Oceans of Mercy, Inc. was established in 2002 as an USA-based, non-profit organization to respond to the growing HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa. Dedicated to help turn the tide against AIDS and poverty in South Africa. Through the development of a multi-purpose campus called the Oceans of Mercy Children’s Village (OMCV), the organization promotes a holistic approach to social and physical development where people will be empowered from the moment they enter the campus.
Personally, I was blessed to visit Oceans of Mercy Children’s Village last March. Read about that and my entire Africa story. Schaun Colin, Oceans Founder, is the Pastor of Missions at my church, Westside Family Church. But his passion before ever becoming a pastor was Oceans of Mercy.
at Oceans of Mercy Children’s Village.
The Oceans of Mercy Children’s Village responds to the HIV/AIDS pandemic by providing comprehensive, integrated, community-based programs, which unite existing, local non-governmental organizations to provide prevention, care and support services for people living with AIDS, job skills training for those infected or affected by AIDS as well as providing housing and primary education for orphans and other vulnerable children.
1. Providing caring homes for AIDS orphans.
As you read this today, one thousand children in South Africa will be orphaned. Orphaned children, mostly by AIDS, are the largest humanitarian disaster this country faces. Without a caring home, these children have almost no chance of accessing formal education or healthcare. It is a crisis situation, which has already led to rising levels of crime and a higher rate of AIDS infection. Most AIDS efforts in South Africa are currently focused on prevention, but for more than 2 million predicted to be orphaned by 2010, the focus on prevention of AIDS is too late. We believe there is a gap that exists and it is our duty to fill that gap. We hope to improve the prospects for families and communities to care for their orphans. Oceans of Mercy will focus on supporting a local Motherwell NGO (Coega Door of Hope) with their ongoing efforts and help provide new homes on the Oceans of Mercy Children’s Village campus. In addition to housing, the village will work actively in the community to promote community-based care and support for youth and OVC.
2. AIDS intervention and Life Skills training.
Oceans of Mercy will partner with HOPE worldwide to introduce a Community Development Program through which we will:
- Develop or improve the capacity within the structure of existing support groups and community institutions, such as faith-based organizations and schools, to more effectively respond to OVC and affected families.
- Increase and strengthen care and support services for clients at VCT/PMTCT sites.
- Increase the involvement and capacity of communities in HIV/AIDS mitigation and to promote community-based care and support for youth and OVC.
- Increase the capacity of HOPE world wide, as well as assisting other faith-based organizations to respond to the needs of OVC and PLHA.
3. Skills training and employment creation.
South Africa suffers from acute structural unemployment. Jobs are not being created because there are not enough skilled laborers to perform the work. The biggest need as a nation in this area is bridging the vast gap between schooling and the job market. This gap can be filled by skills training. This skilled labor force will entice foreign and local investors along with entrepreneurs to launch small businesses thus supplying jobs to the local communities.
Oceans of Mercy will partner with Project Eagle in providing Job Skills training to qualified individuals. In this way we hope to enable these people to be independent parts of the local and national economy
These projects will serve as a unique life cycle of empowerment. By facilitating the linkage of these projects we will bring unity to a disparate number of organizations that until now have been acting independently. This unity will bring momentum to a growing tide of positive action in South Africa.
The children of Africa are dying because of AIDS, being orphaned because of AIDS, being raped because of AIDS, and, worst of all, they are hopeless because of AIDS… Can YOU help?