Literally having no roof over your head creates more than simply physical distress - it creates feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, and fear. In providing temporary and permament shelters and homes, Shelter For Life seeks to address physical, mental, and spiritual discomforts. It would not be possible without the prayers and support provided by so many around the world; indeed, we are reminded daily that the hope we share is a merely a by-product of the hope Christ has placed in us.
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' delcares the Lord, 'plans to propser you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29: 11-13
We know God listens to our prayers. He is our hope.
The affect of civil war is visible and prominent in the Himedonge Payams of Southern Sudan. Most Southern Sudanese refugee families have returned to their communities with very little and continue to live in extreme poverty, sharing whatever they have with their neighbors. Many women are now widows as a result of war, and many of the young men have lived the past decade as child soldiers.
SFL began work in two communities, Borewajak and Ofong, of the Himedonge Payams in late 2009 to provide the tools and training necessary for community members to rebuild their homes. In the process, SFL hired 30 former child soldiers as laborers who would aid the most vulnerable families within these communities; female-headed households, elders and the physically handicapped. The former child soldiers learned with ease the essential skills for constructing a stable home including brick-weaving, foundation-building, roof-building and basic carpentry.
The housing units were built specifically to outlast the flying termites and environmental conditions that have forced families in the region to rebuild their homes every 2 years. As news about SFL’s shelter program began to travel, neighboring communities became interested in the construction techniques being taught. Many communities have now begun similar projects and continue to learn from those trained by SFL staff.
Over 40 families now have a place to call home, to shelter them and to provide them with ownership in their community. The pride worn on the faces of the 30 former child soldier after laying their last brick is a true testament to the power of education and encouragement to begin again without guns, but with a new set of tools and skills.
Shelter is more than a roof and four walls...