“When Caleb was just months old, his mother died from HIV related sickness...”
“At only four-months-old, David was left in a ditch on the side of the road...”
“Joseph’s mother was raped by a family member. After giving birth, she dropped the newborn into a dry-pit latrine, hoping to forget him forever...”
These distressing stories detail the horrific treatment of hundreds of babies born and deserted in Swaziland, Africa, where an AIDS crisis is leaving infants deserted with no one to care for them. The stories are included in the book 100 Stories of Hope, which details how the babies and toddlers ended up in the care of the non-profit organization Project Canaan, which falls under the operations of Heart for Africa founded by Canadians Janine and Ian Maxwell. The faith-based humanitarian organization works to end hunger, care for orphans, alleviate poverty and provide education in Swaziland where AIDS has ravaged the nation, leaving children orphaned and vulnerable. It’s estimated there are more than 200,000 orphans living in Swaziland.
The good news is 100 Stories of Hope also includes updates on the children and before-and-after photos depicting them on the day they were dropped off at the orphanage to how they look today — the saying, “a picture is worth a 1,000 words,” doesn’t come close to describing the transformation these kids have gone through. Heart for Africa has already saved the lives of more than 160 children, with more arriving at the door of Project Canaan Academy’s every day.
The difference between this orphanage and others is that babies and toddlers brought to Project Canaan aren’t adopted out. Instead, the children will remain in one place and be given the opportunity of education through Project Canaan, which offers Pre-K, Kindergarten and elementary education classes staffed by certified teachers.
The problem now is that some of the older kids will soon be getting ready move on to secondary education and Project Canaan needs to raise more funds to build a school and make that happen. And that’s where the Evening of Hope fundraising gala comes in. On Oct. 14, Carmen Ruiz y Laza, host of Carmen TV on Joytv, will host an evening of inspiration, silent and live auctions, a raffle and dinner and dancing at the Roma Hall in New Westminster. The keynote speaker will be Heart for Africa Co-Founder Janine Maxwell and DJ services will be provided by Girl on Wax DJ Emilita.
The dress code is “dress to impress” and free shuttles from the 22nd Street SkyTrain station in New West will run from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
For more information about Heart for Africa (Canada), Project Canaan and Evening of Hope, visit heartforafrica.ca.