Tuesday, June 5, 2012

GRACE Home for Orphans in South Sudan

Building on its established commitment to the people of South Sudan, the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church is constructing a home for orphans in the city of Yei.  The orphanage is tentatively named GRACE Home, a place where God Receives All Children Equally.

As part of the third annual Swim for Them, Greg Wellman will swim 10 km in support of GRACE Home on October 6, 2012. Greg aims to raise $2,500 for the project, and he needs your help!

For further details on GRACE Home, read on...



War, sickness, and abandonment are among the factors that have created the orphaned population in South Sudan. Many of these children don't attend school and might eat only once each day. Children as young as 6 will often help care for those even younger.  The home will help children like these:
  • Martin's father left to fight the war, and his mother had an emotional breakdown and fled. His elderly grandmother is unable to feed or care for him. 
  • Moses is a one-year-old baby. His mother died three months after he was born, leaving him in the care of his 11-year-old sister. 
  • Mary, 10, lost both her parents and most of her siblings to HIV/AIDS. She was left in the care of an alcoholic grandmother and is often kept home from school to do chores. 
The GRACE Home will be built as four units, each housing four children and a house mother. The house mother structure is conducive to individual attention as well as bonding and living as a family - a lifestyle many of these children have never known. The house mothers will use the common kitchen to prepare meals, and everyone will eat together in the dining room.

Plans call for a Conference Hall or Activities Building, allowing activities like tutoring, dance and music therapy, or VBS led by missions teams. A social worker will be on staff for counseling. Located on the Yei UMC compound, the home will be fenced and guarded for security.

If you wish to support Greg Wellman in his efforts to raise $2,500 for the GRACE Home, please visit FirstGiving.com. Donating is easy, secure, and tax-deductible. For further information on the GRACE Home, contact the Holston Conference Foundation.

Update (Aug 29, 2012):
We received some news from the coordinators of the Orphanage project.  During the process of requesting official approval for use of the land, the local commissioner suggested that a 22 acre plot of land might be given to the orphanage, allowing plenty of space for future sustainable expansion.  Also, a website dedicated to reporting on the progress of the orphanage is in the planning stages.

Update (Jan 3, 2013):
Here's the latest from Libby Dearing, currently living in South Sudan and helping to coordinate the orphanage project...  A large church in Chattanooga, TN designated their Christmas offering to the orphanage.  Together with the previous donations and gifts, there is now enough money to complete the entire building process!  We are now fencing the land but it takes a while because it is 200 meters x 200 meters and the holes for the posts have to be dug by hand.  Then they have to slash the tall grass by hand before digging the foundation by hand.  Since I can't go out everyday, the contractor is taking pictures for me every step of the way.  When he brings the first group to me I will send them.