St. Peter’s is helping build and manage two homes for children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Western Cape of South Africa. The first home is located in the informal settlement of Masiphumelele and was developed in partnership with the nonprofit St. Francis Outreach Trust in Simon’s Town, South Africa. A second home is planned in a location close to the first home in Masi. A mission reconnaissance team led by Anna and Blair Fernau first visited the Masiphumelele site in August 2009 and met with the various mission partners in South Africa. St. Peter’s helped raise over $50,000 towards the cost of building the first home and in 2011 sent a group of 27 parishioners to work with the children living there. St. Peter’s is planning to send a second mission team in August 2014 to work on the old home and hopefully the new home and will continue its fundraising to support both these efforts.
St. Peter’s mission philosophy is that feet should follow funds. Through financial support and hands-on engagement with the communities we serve, not only are we helping them and supporting the Church’s response to poverty and justice, but we are also changing ourselves, acknowledging scripture’s call to help orphans and enlarging the Body of Christ, which knows no borders.
The specific purpose of St. Peter’s South Africa mission program is three-fold:
Why It Matters – A Humanitarian Disaster
South Africa has the highest HIV infection rate in the world. To date, over 2 million children have been orphaned by this epidemic. An entire generation is facing life on the streets. According to estimates for South Africa, the number of AIDS orphans as a percentage of total orphans has increased from virtually zero in 1990 to more than 75 percent today. South Africa has made notable advances in adult HIV/AIDS treatment program coverage over the past several years. Even so, the Actuarial Society of South Africa estimates that this proportion of AIDS orphans will continue to grow to almost 82 percent by 2025. By these estimates and projections, over a fifth of South Africa’s children are already AIDS orphans—and that fraction will continue to rise in the years immediately ahead.
Scope of the Project:
In July 2009 the St. Francis Outreach Trust purchased a 172 square meter lot in Masiphumelele, an informal settlement just outside of Simon’s Town, South Africa. The Trust is partnering with a non-profit social service organization to help manage the orphan home and adapted their building design model for the construction of the home. Matthew Gray of Architects and Urban Designers donated time and expertise to the project developing renderings and blue-prints. St. Peter’s contributed over $50,000 towards the cost of building and operating the first home, which totaled approximately $85,000. Five children currently call this house their home and Joyce their mother. Transitioning from situations of abuse, medical challenges and loss of parents, these children quickly bonded together to form a new loving family with hope for a promising future.
Property, construction and first year operation costs for the second home are estimated to be $100,000. St. Peter’s mission will assist with fundraising efforts to help establish the second home, culminating in a mission trip to work on the second home in August 2014.
Each home should ultimately be self-sustaining as the children are entitled to state stipends. The only person receiving a salary is the foster home house mother, otherwise all of the management and supervision of the homes is managed by full-time unpaid volunteers from the St. Francis Outreach Trust.
St. Francis Outreach Trust (www.stfrancistrust.org) : St. Francis Church in Simon’s Town, just outside of Cape Town, is the oldest existing Anglican Church in all of South Africa. The Anglican Diocese of Cape Town issued a call to local churches to help build foster homes for AIDS orphans in communities hardest hit by the epidemic. Responding to the Archbishop and recognizing the tremendous need, the parishioners of St. Francis formed the St. Francis Outreach Trust for the purpose of raising money to buy land and build homes to care for children orphaned by HIV. Under a program they initiated called “Homes to Grow,” the Trust purchased their first plot of land in August 2009 in Masiphumelele to build a home for children and a foster mother and part-time caretaker. Under the Homes to Grow program, the Trust hopes to build and operate a second home close by. The Patron of the Trust is the Most Reverend Archbishop Njongo Ndungane (ret) and the board includes a former St. Peter’s parishioner, Robert and Diana Higgs (formerly the South African Naval Attache´ based in Washington, DC). St. Peters is working directly with St. Francis Outreach Trust to raise money on behalf of the orphan home in Masiphumelele.
Home from Home (www.homefromhome.org.za): is a non-profit social service organization providing home-based care for orphaned children as a viable alternative to institutionalized child care. Home from Home also works in conjunction with Fikelela, an AIDS initiative of the Anglican Diocese of Cape Town meaning, “reach out”. The organization believes that children thrive and grow in as close to a family environment as possible – and preferably within their own communities. The homes are either purpose-built or existing houses replicating a family home with a foster mother and six children of varying ages and gender.
Embassy of South Africa: St. Peter’s wants to gratefully acknowledge the support and cooperation of the South African Embassy Washington, DC in its mission outreach. Embassy staff supported the Invictus movie fundraiser, celebrated Nelson Mandela Day with a special Ubuntu Service, Ambassador Rasool kindly chaired The Fruits of Freedom Wine Tasting and Auction and the Embassy also supported the recent Love Quilts Gala. Embassy staff are currently working with our mission committee to assist fund-raising efforts and outreach in the U.S.
St. Peter’s has undertaken several fundraisers — small and large — generating to date over $55,000 for the South Africa mission. In 2009 the mission committee sold 550 tickets to see the South Africa movie “Invictus” about South Africa’s 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship. In 2010, the mission committee raised over $15,000 including a very successful St. Peters Pedaler’s 125 mile Pledged Bike Ride to Shrine Mont. The Fruits of Freedom wine tasting and auction raised another $30,000. Youth were also actively involved in fundraisers including car washes, selling glow sticks and supporting larger events. St. Peters will continue to fundraise to support the construction of the second home in Masiphumelele.
2014 Mission Trip Details
The mission dates to Cape Town are August 1 – 9, 2014. This mission is uniquely structured so families with children ages 6 and up will be able to participate. The exact work program of the mission will be determined nearer to the departure date but will ultimately be decided by the local needs of the children in the foster homes and their care-givers, while demonstrating sensitivity to not dictate terms in a community living with the legacy of apartheid. Work can include finishing the building with interior carpentry (i.e. bookshelves) and exterior carpentry (building and installing a play set and sandbox for the children), painting murals, establishing a vegetable garden and planting trees, providing music or art enrichment programs for the children, offering respite to the care-givers–whatever needs the local community identifies. The overall goal is to develop a relationship between our two communities.
Travel costs to South Africa and in-country accommodations will be the responsibility of each participant. Shared expenses, such as a van to drive the group to and from the mission site, will be covered by the church. St. Peter’s is exploring discount options for group airfare travel and aggregating frequent flier miles to help those who need assistance. Group accommodations will be at Rocklands Centre in Simon’s Town. Participants on the mission should be able to deduct as a charitable expense their travel costs to South Africa and any in-country costs related directly to their work on the mission. St. Peter’s will provide a letter documenting the official charitable purpose of the mission, but please confirm any tax deductions with your tax advisor. The church will make every effort to help anyone with a heart to serve who has worked on the committee and needs assistance. Youth at St. Peters may organize separate fundraisers to help raise monies to subsidize some if the significant travel costs associated with the trip.
Why It Matters
St. Peter’s mission philosophy is that feet should follow funds. Through financial support and hands-on engagement with the communities we serve, not only are we helping them and supporting the Church’s response to poverty, but we are also changing ourselves, responding to God’s call to help orphans and enlarging the Body of Christ, which has no borders.
South Africa has the highest HIV infection rate in the world. To date, over 2 million children have been orphaned by this epidemic. An entire generation is facing life on the streets.
To become involved or for more details on St. Peter’s work in South Africa, please contact: