DILLSBURG, PA – The Forgotten Voices ministry is committed to doing its part to transform the lives of some of the 4.1 million orphaned and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi. Although it is a small organization compare to like-minded global outreaches, its impact is, nevertheless, soul-stirring.
Forgotten Voices follows a local church-based, family-focused, child-driven model.
They enter into a community by engaging with trusted and committed churches who have a vision not only to serve vulnerable children but also to become caregivers for them. Before doing anything, they listen to the church leaders to gain a better insight into the workings of the community.
Teams from Forgotten Voices train and equip families within local churches with the skills, economic empowerment, and emotional support necessary to provide a home with a safe, loving, and Christ-honoring environment. The teams typically spend about five years nurturing church and family leaders to ensure they are fully prepared for the task that lies before them.
Child-driven means that there is no “one-size fits all” plan for all children. Every parent with more than one child learns this with the advent of their second child. Forgotten Voices works in partnership with the local church sponsor to create custom plans that place special emphasis on meeting each child’s individual needs.
Here is a look at where Forgotten Voices works and how the Lord is blessing their efforts.
Zimbabwe’s population includes nearly half-a-million orphaned children under the age of 17. They have been orphaned primarily due to parental deaths from AIDS. Nearly three-quarters of the 14.5 million people live below the poverty line.
Forgotten Voices’ work has been well-established with more than 110 local churches. In 2019 alone, the FBO worked actively with 22 church partners on behalf of nearly 1,200 orphans and caregivers.
An estimated 17.5 million people live in Zambia. More than 45% – of the country’s population is age 14 or younger. The median age for the entire population is 16.9 years. Compare this to the median age in the United States, which is 38.5 years.
Thirty-two percent of the population has no access to clean drinking water. Fifty-six percent are without improved sanitation systems. About 1.2 million Zambians are infected with AIDS, ranking the country ninth in the world.
During 2019, Forgotten Voices engaged with 25 partner churches to impact more than 3,500 orphans and caregivers.
Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a per capita GDP that ranks 223rd out of 234 countries. There are more than 9.7 million young people (about 46% of the population) under the age of 14. The public school student/teacher ratio is 73:1 – enough for even the most seasoned American teachers to quit.
Yet, in 2019, Forgotten Voices was able to collaborate with 12 local church partners to transform the lives of 1,180 orphans and caregivers.
The millions of orphaned children in these three contiguous countries represent a small percentage of the hundreds of millions who are suffering each day across the 10/40 Window in a struggle for survival. The Lord Jesus Christ is their only hope. Groups like Forgotten Voices are making a difference.
Readers may learn more about Forgotten Voices by visiting their website.