The vast northern half of the continent of Africa, larger in area than the United States, is home to the world’s most desperate peoples. While enormous physical suffering plagues Sub-Saharan nations (where drought and famine take countless lives, a child dies every 30 seconds from malaria, 1 in 10 women die in childbirth, AIDS devastates whole villages, and civil wars lay waste both to people and to economies), Northern Africa trembles in a volatile world of political injustice, human rights violations, child abuse or neglect, and even slavery and child trafficking. In some cases, dishonest regimes attempt to hide the horrific realities from the rest of the world in order to “save face” in a culture where greed or glory guides leaders to indifference or heartless corruption.
The few compassion aid workers there, particularly in North and West Africa, offer a refuge of truth and justice and goodness, and are in urgent need of resources and reinforcements. Thus, we feel compelled and privileged to engage in mobilizing others to carry hope, relief, and opportunity into regions plagued by fear, despair and needless suffering, through partnering with indigenous workers in holistic efforts of compassion. In this way, we hope to encourage them in spirit and enlarge their capacity for impact.
The Key to Building Bridges of Peace
Our emphasis on forming strategic partnerships with Africans who are currently caring diligently for their own people helps to build bridges of peace, understanding, and friendship into their world, which has often been suspicious or resentful of Westerners. Areas of greatest need in Northern African communities are projects which would serve women (often treated as property, less educated, less loved) and children (malnourished, discarded, abused). Partnerships have been formed in Morocco, Mali, Senegal, Tunisia, Egypt, and Liberia. Projects include such endeavors as centers for those with special needs, abandoned youth care centers, women’s community centers, village economic projects (schools, clinics, wells, grain mills), vocational training, marketing of handcrafts, and summer outreach camps.