Our main goal is to bless and equip our community. To ease peoples suffering and improve their lives however we can. We do that in various ways. In addition to church and school sponsorship program, we also have several other projects we have started for community development.
Here are some of our current projects:
Adult literacy class:
Here on the Swahili Coast a lot of women are illiterate, meaning they have never gone to school. When they grew up they where thought that women did not need to know how to read and write, because they were just going to stay at home to take care of the kids anyway. Thankfully this view of girls has mostly changed, and today there is a big emphasis on sending girls to school. But their mothers still suffered from this, and they are not able to read their report cards, help with homework, and they are very limited in their potential for their lives because they never went to school themselves. We want to empower our local women and give them autonomy over their lives, by offering adult literacy classes.
When they learn to read and write, they suddenly have so many more options for their future. The classes are in Swahili, but they are also taught some English which is very helpful! If they can read and write, they are also able to start their own business, and communicate through messages, and a lot of other things. They are so proud to be able to read their Bible and understand more and more of the world around them. We love seeing their joy for learning!
Football really brings the community together! We have been coaching the local football team for the last few years, and it has been a great area of discipling and building relations with the local boys. We have been able to help several boys get out of drugs and change their lives through this. Football is also a good way of teaching healthy athletic discipline to our youth.
Often on Sunday afternoons, we have a game for the fathers against the youth, and so many people come to watch and hang out. That is a great arena to strengthen friendships in our neighbourhood.
Through donations from Norway we have been able to provide our team with jerseys, shoes and balls. Because of the thorny surroundings of our football ground the balls doesn’t last long, and soon we are hoping to build a better football ground for the community in a better location. Get in touch if you want to donate some footballs or equipment for our team.
One of our core values is: “Give a man a fish, and he has food for one day. Teach a man how to fish and he has food every day!” We strongly believe in teaching people skills that can help provide income and improve their lives. One of the ways we have helped the women in our community is to teach them the skill of knitting. By donated cotton yarn from Norway, we have taught about 15 women how to knit washcloths that we buy from them and sell. These are women who otherwise have no job opportunities, they have never gone to school, and they are stay at home moms, dependent on the mercy of their husband to get money for food and school fees - if they have one.
By giving them the opportunity to earn their own money, we have not only provided them with necessary means to provide for their family, but we’ve also given them a sense of accomplishment and pride. You can connect with this project by either buying washcloths, or donating yarn.
Soon we will also be adding a sewing group to this project, so follow us on social media for updates.
Farming is the number one needed skill in this area, as most people live mainly off what they harvest from their fields after the rain season. The main crop here is maize, and also some vegetables like spinach, kale and beans.
Even though farming is something most people do, their method of doing farming is traditional and inefficient.
April 2022 we invited our community to a farming workshop where a teacher was teaching them how to do more efficient and smarter farming through permaculture principles. We also made a demo site on our land where they could learn specifically how to farm in the slopes surroundings our village better. There were over 30 families represented, and they were so eager to learn! They quickly applied what they had learned for this planting season, and we are excited to see them reap a better harvest because of it.
We also help our community by lending out for free all the areas of our land that we are not using for them to plant their crops on. If the harvest is good, they can have enough maize to sustain them for several months, reducing their living costs significantly.
We have such a heart to disciple youths in their daily walk with Jesus, and to see them grow to be mature, independent adults who can pursue the dreams God has put in their hearts.
Of course much of the discipleship happens through our church in our Bible groups for all ages, but we also focus a lot on connecting with our youths on different areas of their lives. In school holidays we have extra programs to connect with both boys and girls, through sports, movie nights, cooking and excursions. Teaching them life skills, practical skills and bible teachings. Our goal is for them to become healthy individuals who will start healthy families, trying to reduce the cycle of poverty and broken families that we are surrounded with.
In school holidays we also have many youths living with us on base, providing them a good and safe environment and being part of our Mahanaim family, whilst growing with God and getting help with their studies.
In addition to these projects, we also do various things to strengthen and improve our community and our neighbours. It is everything from giving them first aid and medical attention if they’re hurt, to organising and providing for manpower and material to fix our broken roads, letting them use our tools and equipment when needed, to pursuing government officials to bring electricity and piped water to our village.
We have also recently finished up a prototype of a hexagon house, designed by Lindas father Frank Abildsten who is a blacksmith in Norway. With this type of housing, we are hoping to provide our community with more affordable ways to build safer houses, that does not collapse as easily as their traditional mudhuts do.