A Nation Facing Extinction
Swaziland is the smallest nation in the southern hemisphere, with a population of just over 1.2 million people. Economic poverty is prevalent and the rate of HIV/AIDS is the highest in the world. Approximately 10% of the entire population is orphaned or vulnerable as a result of the AIDS epidemic and over 54% of the population are younger than 24 years old.
When compared with the United States of America, a child born in Eswatini is:
• 8.3 times more likely to die during infancy
• Will live 27.9 years less than an American
• Is 6.6 times more likely to be unemployed
• If he/she does manage to get a job, he/she will earn 83.4% less than an American
• Is 4.6% more likely to live below the poverty line
• Is 73% less likely to have access to electricity, as only 27% of the population has access to electricity (compared to 100% in the USA)
The United Nations predicted that Eswatini/Swaziland would become extinct by 2050 if radical change does not occur.
With His Majesty, King Maswati’s blessing Challenge Ministries Swaziland (CMS) is taking a stand to ensure that this beautiful nation is not lost to the grip of poverty and the effects of HIV/AIDS.
CMS is adding years to the longevity of Eswatini through Kingdom Transformation, One Life at a Time. This transformation occurs within numerous ministry projects that are intricately woven together to form a wholistic solution to the giants of HIV and poverty. Standing as David when facing Goliath, Founder of CMS, Kevin Ward believes that it is the radical Kingdom Transformation of Eswatini that will make this nation the pulpit to Africa and beyond.
For a nation to be transformed, individuals must be changed. That is why CMS focusses their ministries on the following key areas:
♥ Evangelism & Discipleship
♥ Community Development
♥ Social Enterprise & Sustainability
♥ Global Input
It is only by God’s miracle working power that we have hope for continued restoration leading to entire transformation of Eswatini and a reversal of the prediction of extinction of this beautiful kingdom.
Our Causes And Impact
In response to the dire need for orphan care facilities within Eswatini, Kevin Ward and his wife, Helen, opened full time child care in 1999. . Believing that every child deserves to grow up in a loving family.
In response to the dire need for orphan care facilities within Eswatini, Kevin Ward and his wife, Helen, opened full time child care in 1999. Believing that every child deserves to grow up in a loving family, CMS designed their child care model to place a maximize of seven children with one mother figure. All caretakers, called “aunties” are specially trained by CMS to care for victims of trauma or abuse, as many children received into CMS’s care come from troubling backgrounds – not least of which includes the loss of parents.
CMS currently cares for approximately 400 children in full-time orphan care.
Through their network of ministry sites and facilities, CMS is able to care for children of all ages, ranging from birth to late teens. The Eswatini social welfare department is responsible for the placement of orphaned or vulnerable children throughout the nation. For this reason, CMS is in constant communication with government officials referring various children to their care.
Through CMS’s ICBC (In Community By Community) model, they are able to reach the rural communities and identify children at risk or recently orphaned. The head pastor of the ICBC site is then responsible to meet the immediate needs of the children. Best practice, as defined by the Eswatini government is to provide a means by which the children are able to remain in their native community, providing them with a connection to their supporting relatives and community members.
In cases where this is not a viable solution, the CMS will be directed by social welfare to provide more direct care by having the ICBC pastor provide housing and familial care for the children at the ICBC site, still keeping the children within their native communities.
In the case of extenuating circumstances (such as community abuse) that result in social welfare determining to find secondary placement for the children, the orphaned or vulnerable children will then be placed either with Bulembu Ministries Swaziland or Hawane CLC, a central ICBC site equipped with large child care facilities
Public education in Eswatini is not free, and families that can afford to pay for school fees then have to carry the financial burden of school uniform as well. For this reason, many of the children that are brought into the care of CMS have never been to school before.
Public education in Eswatini is not free, and families that can afford to pay for school fees then have to carry the financial burden of school uniform as well. For this reason, many of the children that are brought into the care of CMS have never been to school before. As a result CMS is intricately aware of the importance for education and the hope and joy that it brings within the Eswatini context.
CMS firmly believes in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
For this reason, CMS now runs 7 schools and is responsible for educating over 750 children.
Over its many years, CMS vertically integrated its educational programs right the way from educating the educators, mentors and pastoral staff all the way through to pre-school programs
*Currently closed due to lack of funding
At the top end of the vertical integration is the Edugate program, which was designed to teach individuals the best practices for educating children at pre-school level, in preparation for primary school (7th Grade). Graduates of the Edugate program would then be placed throughout the country at different ICBC sites to take on the teaching roles at the various CMS ICBC pre-schools.
The community pre-schools at the ICBC sites serve the local rural community by providing top quality education and biblical principles to little children. Students graduating from these pre-schools, entering local primary schools are said to be academically ahead of other students by two to three years.
Bulembu Christian Academy, providing education from pre-school level through high school for all children in the care of Bulembu Ministries Swaziland. Adults who decide to end their secondary education or graduating high schoolers are then counseled on job opportunities or tertiary/skills-based training. Bulembu does its best to fun the students as they launch into furthering their education.
Finally, the Life Skills School is a program designed to assist children who were not given firm educational opportunities before they joined the CMS family, and as a result have not been able to catch up within the mainstream educational programs. The Life Skills School combines a biblical-based curriculum with general life skills and best practices in order to equip students to be productive members of society, leading our nation to a place of Kingdom Transformation.
Students are then able to request job placements with a variety of enterprise partners who seek young talent that is teachable and grounded. Students can also choose to continue their studies and further their biblical studies by working towards their Diploma in Theology.
Lack of funding has resulted in the mothballing of the Life Skills School. However, theological education continues through Potter’s Wheel church with releasing the ISOM training materials to students who seek to obtain their Diploma or even degree in Theology. The ISOM course and pastoral training is used also to empower the ICBC pastors and assist with continued training and knowledge acquisition.
Since its very first entrance into the country, the Christian church has had to work very hard to maintain the truth of the gospel. Threatened by a perversion of the faith, through a mixing of Swazi traditional beliefs and Christianity.
Since its very first entrance into the country, the Christian church has had to work very hard to maintain the truth of the gospel. Threatened by a perversion of the faith, through a mixing of Swazi traditional beliefs and Christianity, the church must make an uncompromised stand. Challenge Ministries Swaziland seeks to accomplish this by empowering local pastors in their ICBC network. And through these rural community churches, spread and sustain the gospel and life of Christ throughout the country.
Potter’s Wheel Church operates as the central hub for all Challenge Ministries church operations. Training and direction is shared with the other sites from Potter’s Wheel to the ICBC churches and Bulembu Community Church.
With government healthcare unable to meet the demands of a nation with the highest HIV rates in the world, the Swazi population have turned to witchcraft and traditional healing practices. Not only does this result in continued spreading of the virus.
With government healthcare unable to meet the demands of a nation with the highest HIV rates in the world, the Swazi population have turned to witchcraft and traditional healing practices. Not only does this result in continued spreading of the virus, but it also further distances the believers from God’s intended way of life. In order to combat this plague, the church must put faith into action and bring medical solutions infused with gospel truth.
- ICBC Healthcare
- Bulembu Clinic
- Special Needs Community Group
The ICBC church sites provide the medical base for The Luke Commission team to meet the medical needs of each community, bringing life and hope for true healing.
Bulembu clinic administers immediate healthcare to the needs of the child care and greater community.
The special needs community group meet on a weekly basis and work to provide a social, stimulating environment for those who would otherwise be left in a room, stigmatized and rejected by society.
The Challenge Ministries Swaziland core programs (Child care, residential centers, and educational centers) are high-impact environments with true life-change. Thousands have been touched and transformed through these ministry programs.
The Challenge Ministries Swaziland core programs (Child care, residential centers, and educational centers) are high-impact environments with true life-change. Thousands have been touched and transformed through these ministry programs. However, Challenge Ministries realizes that there is still more work to be done and no matter how many internal programs they develop, some will be left out.
This is why Challenge Ministries has developed a unique church-plant model that focusses on developing the most impoverished areas of the country by empowering the community to help the community.
ICBC sites are established in rural, poverty-stricken communities with the objective to transform their community by empowering community members through the faith and hope of Christ. The church provides the community with healthcare, preschool, feeding programs, emergency food relief for families, clean drinking water, and protection and provision for orphaned and vulnerable children.
At its core, Challenge Ministries Swaziland strives to be self sustainable, deviating from the donor-dependence that has been the social sector status quo. In an effort to make this vision a reality, the Challenge Ministries team have established numerous micro businesses.
At its core, Challenge Ministries Swaziland strives to be self sustainable, deviating from the donor-dependence that has been the social sector status quo. In an effort to make this vision a reality, the Challenge Ministries team have established numerous micro businesses. The objective of each business is to grow revenues and profitability so that the majority of the net income from the businesses can fund child care and other ministry expenses.
Challenge Ministries Swaziland identifies business concepts that fit its current resources, area of expertise, or core competencies. A team is set up to establish whether or not the business concept holds validity. Once proven to be a high-return venture, Challenge Ministries approaches donors and investors to establish the business.
We know that God places innate talents and blessings within specific individuals, and as the body of Christ, it is the joining together of unique skills and talents that leads to effective impact.
We know that God places innate talents and blessings within specific individuals, and as the body of Christ, it is the joining together of unique skills and talents that leads to effective impact. This is why we place such a high value on input, feedback, and knowledge sharing with partners from around the globe. This is why we intentionally seek to develop new partnerships and further existing relationships.
Challenge Ministries has international offices and formal representation in the U.K., USA, Canada, and Germany. The international offices seek to drive awareness of all that Challenge Ministries Swaziland is doing and cultivate ministry partnerships. The offices have a 3G strategy – to seek out those who wish to partner with Challenge Ministries in
- Giving (prayers, time, assets, finances)
- Going (visiting and serving Challenge Ministries Swaziland)
- Growing (through strategic development)
The international offices refer individuals or teams to the Mission Impact team at Challenge Ministries Swaziland. Together, they coordinate trips to Eswatini wherein the participants will make a meaningful and encounter unique service opportunities.
Upon return, the participants will be provided with materials necessary to become an advocate/evangelist for the Challenge Ministries Swaziland cause. Thus, the individuals are empowered to take on the extending the impact of the international offices.
With your help, we are providing a bright future, full of hope for orphaned children, who will be available to serve their nation in their God-given gifting.