A story that inspires our work is the one Jesus tells of the good Samaritan. This Samaritan helped a stranger who had been beaten and abandoned simply because he saw someone in need. To the Samaritan, the stranger was no different to a neighbour, a member of his community, a friend. So, just like he would help his friend in need, he helped the stranger in need. Jesus was a revolutionary and His heart was for the most poor and marginalised. It was the exploitation of the poor that got under His skin. At Hope St, we are inspired and guided by the lessons of compassion Jesus preached and lived out. Our heart is to protect the poor from exploitation, especially protecting children at risk of human trafficking. Just as the Samaritan saw the stranger as his neighbour in need, we see communities all over the world as our neighbours, as part of our community. They are part of the same global village that we are. And just as we would help a friend in need, we seek to help our friends in these communities on the other side of the world.
Those In Need
Due to high inflation, Ugandan children as young as six are currently hitting the city streets to sell food. Unable to pay school fees and other basic needs, parents send their children to the streets with their produce, often unaware the children will be at risk of sex trafficking or being sold as cheap labour. How can we know this and not support the work that these Hope St partners do in their communities to protect these children? How can we not support the rescue of children whose families are so deeply impoverished that they will continue to put their children at risk in order to feed them? This is where our relationship with our international partners is so essential. The support we send to these heroes enables them to mentor the children and inform their communities of the risks of exploitation and human trafficking that exist on their streets. These people live and work in their local communities every day and know the best way to protect and equip them. Coming face-to-face with the realities of extreme poverty has given the Hope St team a passion to become involved. Hearing of our international partners’ work and the children’s stories keeps us involved. Let me give you some examples.
Stories of Hope
Early last year, many teenage girls were fleeing Ukraine unaccompanied. Sadly, these girls were actively sought out by traffickers who were offering refugee women ‘jobs’ and ‘shelter’, false promises to lure and exploit them. Hope St’s partner in Bulgaria, LOGOS, actively tracked down and gave aid to these young girls, protecting them from falling into horrendous circumstances. It does something to your heart when you know those girls are now safe. As does seeing the smiles on the faces of graduates from the street kids program run by Hope Focus in Uganda. Young men and women can now earn a living from their tailoring skills when previously they were on the streets and lived hand to mouth, day by day, every day of the year. No longer do they need to put themselves at risk of falling into modern slavery. With the love and care they received from Hope Focus, along with the skills they learned, we have hope they will be productive community members. The growth and success of these young men and women puts a smile on our faces too!
The Heart of Hope St
I personally count it a privilege to volunteer for Hope St, connect generous kiwis with children living in need, impart hope and get alongside the people who do the real mahi with the children in their communities – our international partners. It is an honour to partner with them as they express practical love and care to their communities, showing the compassionate heart that Jesus exemplified. As we support these people in their work the Hope St community sends a message that we believe every child is precious and has worth. We show that all people are our neighbours, whether they’re over the fence or across the seas. We give hope. Jan Barker Hope St Director
We are looking for supporters to join us in the fight against modern slavery. Visit our appeal page to support the work in Bulgaria and Uganda.