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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Following earthquake relief in Peru, setting up medical clinic in Zimbabwe, California charity partners with pastor to bring development to Cameroon, West Africa

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

BUENA PARK, CALIFORNIA (ANS) -- Giving Children Hope, an Orange County, California-based international relief and development organization, recently shipped a 40- foot container to the country of Cameroon in West Africa. GCH partnered with Cameroonian Pastor Andre Talla to establish the project.

Relief supplies were sent from GCH to Peru in the wake of the recent earthquake there.

Following the 8.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Peru on Wednesday evening, August 15, 2007, Giving Children Hope partnered with Peruvian Pastor Marius Peyre to ship containers of relief aid to Pisco, Peru. Pastor Marius welcomed the containers of aid into Peru in October 2007 and held a distribution day during which 800 children and families were served. In addition to bags of food and supplies, Peruvians in attendance received a hot meal.

Peyre, who is a native from Peru and a former GCH board member, contacted GCH to begin relief efforts. The first trailer loaded with 20 tons of much needed medications, blankets, food items and hygiene items left from Long Beach and was then shipped by boat to Callao, Peru.

The supplies went to assist approximately 40,000 quake victims to administer to the immediate needs. The value of the relief efforts was approximately $300,000 in wholesale value.

Founded in 1993, Giving Children Hope/Global Operations and Development (GCH/GOD) is a faith-based nonprofit organization engaged in domestic and international poverty alleviation through relief, medical development, nutrition, education, and vocational training.

Half of the container that was sent to Cameroon was filled with basic medical equipment, supplies and medicines and will be located in a rural village to serve those without access to healthcare.

The additional space in the container was filled with bikes, which are basic transportation and a form of economic development, as well as bakery equipment. A bakery is being established in the city of Douala, the largest city in Cameroon. The proceeds from the bakery fund the day-to-day operations of the medical clinic providing for two sustainable projects.

Cameroon has a young population with an estimated 41.2 percent under 15, and 96.7 percent are under 65. Transport in Cameroon is often difficult. Roads are poorly maintained and subject to inclement weather, since only 10 percent of the roadways are tarred. The quality of health care is generally low. Outside the major cities, facilities are often dirty and poorly equipped. Endemic diseases include dengue fever, filariasis, leishmaniasis, malaria, meningitis, schistosomiasis, and sleeping sickness.

In partnership with the Orange Rotary Club, Giving Children Hope has also established a new medical clinic in Zimbabwe. With the help of the Rotary, GCH was able to specify the needed supplies and equipment for the clinic, and supplied the items through the procurement of low cost or donated items. GCH’s bio-technician refurbished recycled medical equipment to be included in the shipment.

The new clinic is located in the village of Chinhoyi and is designed to consist of 32 rooms, of which 4 have already been constructed. The clinic’s staff currently includes 3 doctors, 5 nurses, and 2 nursing assistants, and will soon be joined by an anesthesiologist and a surgeon who have been brought on staff by the Orange Rotary.

The most recent shipment of medical supplies and equipment sent from Giving Children Hope in November, 2007 arrived in the village of Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe in January.

The ministry says that Giving Children Hope is privileged to work with diverse individuals and communities both locally and around the world, implementing projects that address and focus on the needs of children.

GCH works to promote family sustainability, economic independence, and self-sufficiency so that children may grow in stable environments. GCH also plays a large role in the redevelopment and rehabilitation of under resourced schools, hospitals, and orphanages.

"Our programs mobilize organizations so that they can provide a bridge between the sources of aid and those with the greatest need, this empowers individuals to reach children caught in hopelessness," says a dedicated website

The vision of GCH is to serve children and those in the cycle of poverty through holistic relief and development nationally and globally.

The ministry website says: "By empowering disenfranchised communities and providing them with the basic necessities of life to instill hope and dignity to their lives, we believe our families become healthier, communities are strengthened and the worth and purpose of humanity is restored. As we equip indigenous leaders with the tools for survival and success we envision the transformation of communities locally and globally."

Domestically, Giving Children Hope has a variety of activities to serve area children who are impacted by poverty, homelessness, and broken homes. GCH programs supply some of the most basic needs for ensuring a context of hope and health for children.

These programs include: job-skills training in warehousing, truck driving, and office skills to enable adults to sustain their families; distribution headquarters to over 50 local agencies to bring relief aid to the areas poor children and their families; and partnerships with national domestic agencies to bring aid to needy children and their families in the United States

Internationally, Giving Children Hope operates on a global level, working with other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to implement relief and development programs in under-resourced and marginalized communities around the world. GCH especially focuses on the needs of women, children, and families.

GCH will partner with Pastor Andre Talla to complete future projects, collaborating to bring medical and economic development to the country of Cameroon.

In another development concerning the ministry, Jenise Steverding, Director of Advancement, Programs and Administration at Giving Children Hope, has just been added as treasurer to the board of the African Academy of Christian Leadership.

The African Academy of Christian Leadership’s primary mission is to bring spiritual, economical, and educational development to the country of Cameroon, West Africa, through church-planting, micro-business development, and the establishment of local schools. Giving Children Hope and the African Academy of Christian Leadership recently partnered on the establishment of a bakery and medical clinic in Cameroon.

Steverding is a native of Orange County, California and earned her B.A. in Sociology and Social Science from Westmont College in Santa Barbara. She has 10-plus years management experience in the private sector, institutes of higher education, community based non-profits, and governmental projects. She obtained her Master’s in Public Management through SDA Bocconi University, an internationally ranked business school located in Milan, Italy.

Prior to her employment at Giving Children Hope, she was working for the South African government on an urban redevelopment initiative of a township, Alexandra, located in Johannesburg. In addition to her new position on the board of the African Academy of Christian Leadership, Jenise is a board member of Old Skool Cafe in San Francisco, a social-enterprise restaurant vocationally training at-risk youth.

She joined Giving Children Hope in March 2007. Giving Children Hope is an Orange County based nonprofit organization working to bring medical and economic development to developing countries, as well as international relief aid. As a member of the management team, she recommends appropriate policies, procedures and strategies for the marketing, programmatic, donor engagement and administrative aspects of the organization.

For more information:
Media Contact
Ashley Stinson
Communications and Development Coordinator
714-523-4454 x118

Giving Children Hope
8332 Commonwealth Ave.
Buena Park, CA 90621

** Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent of ANS, is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station. Michael's involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- Michael Ireland Media Missionary (MIMM) -- of ACT International at: Artists in Christian Testimony (ACT) International. His weblog appears at: Michael Ireland Media Missionary.

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