Category Archives: Orphan Care/Children’s Homes

African Hope Trust Fulfills Cape Town Kids’ Need for Love

Alyssa Carrel recently returned from a brief stint as a volunteer with ER partner African Hope Trust. Here she details its work with vulnerable children and its plans to build a new safe house.

African Hope SafehouseMy time at African Hope Trust was brief, but oh how refreshing. I struggle to adequately describe what it felt like walking into the two African Hope Trust safe houses, but suffice to say, acceptance, love and peace were a big part of it. The women who run the homes aren’t devoid of struggle, but they all exude a sense of peace and quiet confidence.

Located in the South African township of Masiphumelele, just south of Cape Town, these homes are a safe haven for abandoned, orphaned and abused children. Each employs one to two trained house moms and provides a stable environment for five to seven kids.

Judging from a letter one of the children wrote for Mother’s Day, it’s evident that they know how much they are loved – even when discipline is involved. I couldn’t help laughing when I read, “Thank you for shouting at us in love so that we can understand that it is wrong.”

In addition to its work with kids, African Hope Trust cares for people in emergency circumstances. In the five years since it opened its doors, African Hope Trust has been able to address some 15 short-term emergency cases, such as relocating a child from an abusive uncle’s home. The Trust’s philosophy is while it cannot care for every child in need, it can love as many as possible.

Approximately 40,00 people reside in Masiphumelele, with 50% of them believed to be HIV positive. While anti-retroviral drugs are readily available and free of charge, many still live in fear of the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS, and therefore refuse to be tested or treated. Consequently, countless children are left to fend for themselves.

Before African Hope Trust began, only one orphanage existed in Masiphumelele, and it was created for older children. With African Hope Trust, a gap is being filled, at least in part, for younger children in need.

African Hope Trust now is seeking to build and open a third home in Masiphumelele, which would allow for the care of six more children. That would mean six fewer children living in extreme circumstances and wondering where their next meal will come from.

These children need someone to love them and African Hope Trust offers exactly that. The “mamas” care for the children as they do their own. In one of the children’s words, “They give me more love that I didn’t have before.” All these mamas want is a chance to love them – to show them a love that is greater than life. Listening to these kids, it’s evident they have succeeded.

Click here to learn more about African Trust and its plans for a new safe home. 

Belwop Kids Wreck the Hearts of California Team

“Every human should be able to sleep on a mattress.” – Travis Clark

unspecified-2Would you travel 9,500 miles – each way – at your own expense – to have your heart wrecked by some orphans? That’s what happened to eight volunteers from Canvas, a San Francisco-area church, when a team led by lead pastor Travis Clark and his wife Jena visited Belwop Rescue Centre.

And get this…they want to go back.

When the Canvas team traveled to Nyeri, Kenya, to visit the kids a Belwop, they intended to do some projects and spend time with the kids. But they got way more than they bargained for.

unspecified-14“We definitely saw the lives of our team changed,” Travis said. “Their lives were impacted in a way that only hands-on missions can do. When you get a hug from one of these kids, it’s not just a ding; it wrecks your heart.

“The trip really filled our tanks with compassion and generosity. It helped us meet physical needs and love our neighbors in another country. It allowed us to connect personally to Belwop and its mission of rescuing kids.”

unspecified-9The Clarks first encountered Belwop while Travis was serving as a young adults pastor in Arizona. He joined a team that traveled to visit Belwop in 2012. During that first visit, Travis learned that building relationships could be more powerful than meeting physical needs.

“I was personally impacted by a little boy named Peter. I met him the first time I was at Belwop when he was in second grade. He’s now in sixth grade and we picked up where we left off. He’s my guy there.

unspecified-12“We had so many good moments. I asked Peter if he could go anywhere in the world, where would he choose to go. He said he wanted to visit me in my home.

“Saying goodbye was another special moment. Peter tried to act tough. He stared at the ground. But then I bear-hugged him and the floodgates opened. We experienced a deep love for each other. It was the second time I said goodbye to Peter and it was definitely harder because our relationship was deeper.”

unspecified-15Travis also shared a special relationship between a Canvas team member, Angelique, and a Belwop girl named Judy.

“Angelique really connected with Judy because they shared some of the same things. Judy was struggling with loneliness and isolation and Angelique was able to identify with that and speak into her life. Judy was very quiet when we first arrived, but not when we left.

“Kids like Peter and Judy break your heart in a good way.”

Travis Veronica and Jena

The January 2016 Canvas trip to Belwop was the fulfillment of a passion the Clarks have carried since their first trip where they met Veronica Mumbi, who oversees the children’s home. Travis started sharing Belwop’s story soon after joining Canvas in 2013.

Travis said the team had goals that went beyond doing good works.

“First, we wanted to accomplish the practical by meeting tangible needs, those we knew about and those we didn’t. We wanted to leave Belwop better than we found it.

“Second, we wanted to build relationships. Our approach is to support a few key relationships but with deeper impact. So we brought Veronica to Canvas for some pre-trip meetings to build rapport.

“Our team now has faces to associate with names. We can tell stories about the kids by name. Most of our team had never traveled outside the U.S., except maybe to Mexico for vacation. It created a bit of shock when they saw how the kids at Belwop live. It brought about the realities.

“The kids a Belwop don’t have much, but their joy is rich,” Travis added. “It was convicting to the team and caused us to re-evaluate our priorities.”

unspecified-6One particular situation created a wonderful opportunity for the Canvas team to be generous.

“We did not know about the need for beds before getting to Belwop. While we were there Nick Carnill (ER Africa Team Leader) asked Veronica to name a big need at Belwop. She mentioned the kids’ mattresses. The kids were sleeping on one-inch-thick foam and cardboard. Once we saw that, we knew we wanted to supply not just the mattresses, but new sheets, blankets and bedframes too.”

The sight of new beds and bedding sent the kids into a frenzy of joy.

Belwop Bed Surprise

Last week the Canvas family came together and provided new beds, mattresses, sheets, blankets and pillows for over 30 kids at the Belwop Children's Home in Kenya. For those of you who were a part of making this happen, here's a quick peek at the their reactions! Thanks for leading the way in generosity Canvas!

Posted by Canvas on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

unspecified-7“It was a huge win for the kids,” Travis said.
“They share everything, but their beds are special, something they can call their own and be proud of. Every human should be able to sleep on a mattress.”

The Clarks and the Canvas community hope to return to Belwop, perhaps as early as this summer.

“People definitely came back from the trip on fire. We pitched a second trip for August and more than 20 people said they want to go.

unspecified-13“We’d love to do two trips a year, one that is more relationship-focused and another that is more work-focused like a building project. We’d like to find a way to get both men and women engaged.”

Learn more about Belwop and Canvas. Interested in sending a volunteer team to a place like Belwop? Visit our Extreme Teams page on the ER Website.

Tim Fausch manages communications for Extreme Response. Contact him at


How One Boy’s Success Helped Inspire Edukids20

Toto soloMy name is Toto. I am 12 years old Grade 2 student. Today I live at the Manila Children’s Home and my life has changed a lot.

I was a failure in my education. I failed three times during my childhood years; once in Kindergarden and twice in Grade 1. I failed in school because I spent more time focused on my peers rather than myself and my studies. I also struggled because my parents failed to guide and support me. I did not have any school allowances. Before going to school, I ate as much food as I could so I would not get hungry until classes ended. I didn’t even have a decent school uniform. During that time, I was sad.

When I was brought to Extreme Response’s Manila Children’s Home, there was a time that I attempted to run away. “I don’t want to be here” I said to myself. Then the staff talked to me. They made me realize what life awaits me if ER was allowed to help me. My decision was right.

First, I enrolled as Grade 2 student, knowing that I finished my Grade 1. During validation, my social worker discovered that I din’t have any existing school records. The school decided to transfer me back to Grade 1. I was disappointed and became lazy, but during those times the staff supported me and did not forsake me.

Now I am in Grade 2. I also took the acceleration test, the Philippine Educational Placement (PEP) Test. I am one of the students who was given an opportunity to accelerate to higher grade and I feel glad about it. Though I was nervous that time, I know, the staff and my fellow children were supporting me.

My family is my inspiration. I want to help them and to make it happen, I need to continue and finish my education. My dream is to be a sea captain someday. Why sea captain? It’s because it pays a lot and more than enough to help my family. This time is the best time of my life and my dream would be possible through education.

Kids who come from broken families, like Toto, often wind up as street kids. Their futures are pretty bleak. That’s why ER launched the Manila Children’s Home. Our ER Asia staff care for these kids in every way – nutrition, healthcare, education/tutoring and a loving family environment.

EDUkids logoIn order to meet the needs of all the kids in the MCH, we launched Edukids20. Edukids20 allows sponsors to come alongside these kids to provide for their schooling, supplies, lunch and tutoring. We’re in need of sponsors at just $20 per month. Would you be willing to sponsor a kid like Toto?

Learn more about the Manila Children’s HomeExtreme Kids and Edukids20.

“Education can help you to read better, speak better and gain valuable skills needed to find a good job. Education can provide you with information necessary for being a good citizen in a globalized world by giving you a better understanding of the beliefs and customs of other cultures. Thanks to education, you will be less likely to believe myths and superstitions and more likely to make intelligent decisions.” – Donna Halper

Editor’s note: Toto’s name has been changed in order to safeguard his identity.

Belwop Playground Creates Laughter Among Kenyan Orphans

playground finished 2
By Kim Merrefield, Extreme Women Communications Writer

“Veronica has such a mother’s love for the children. The kids had never been on a swing or slide. She longed for them to connect with each other, and for it to be another step in their healing. I knew we had to help.”

Laughter and smiles fill the playground. Children swinging on the swings yelling “higher!” A little boy grips tight to the monkey bar rocking his body back and forth to grab another bar. A young girl giggles as she slides down the giant twisting slide, screaming “wee!”

playground finished 4All of these sights and sounds seem so common for many of us, but for 41 children in the small town of Nyeri, Kenya, this scene was just a dream.

Kelly McClelland, Director of Women’s Advocacy, recently sat down with Belwop Rescue Center founder Veronica Mumbai. Belwop, which cares for abandoned, abused and orphaned kids, has been an Extreme Response partner for many years. After hearing Veronica’s story and feeling compelled to help, Kelly asked, “If you could dream big, what would be one thing you would desire for the children?”

20150611_173830Veronica told Kelly she dreamt of a playground. A playground where laughter could abide and giggles would be endless. A playground where the children could run and skip and hop. A playground where imagination could flourish and dreams could be built.

“Veronica has such a mother’s love for the children. The kids had never been on a swing or slide. She longed for them to connect with each other, and for it to be another step in their healing. I knew we had to help,” Kelly said.

In early 2015, Kelly and the Extreme Women team set out to accomplish this giant task. Through advocating and fundraising, they were able to not only raise the funds for the playground, but also provide Belwop with additional funds to help with the children’s schooling for the year.

A playground company in Kenya was able to complete the project in just a few days. The playground consists of monkey bars, three slides, a pair of swings, and a jungle gym. The kids are looking forward to enjoying more time on it during their summer break in just a couple months.

finished playground 5“The playground we got through this partnership has brought much excitement to our children, as well as the children of the neighborhood,” Veronica said.

Many thanks to all the generous donors for helping Extreme Response make this dream come true! You are making a difference in these children’s lives!

Kim MerrefieldKim Merrefield manages communications for Extreme Response International’s Extreme Women. ER recognizes that women disproportionately bear the burden of poverty throughout the world. Women living in extreme situations are in desperate need of advocates who will share their stories with leaders and influencers. That is why we’ve established ER’s Extreme Women, an advocacy program created by women to help women in need. 

KellyFor additional information on Extreme Women and how you can get involved, please contact Kelly McClelland at a or visit


This year, Extreme Response is working to rescue more kids from hunger, poverty, human trafficking, homelessness and more. Read ER founder Jerry Carnill’s rescue message here.

Bringing Hope to People in Africa, Asia & Latin America

Jerry & Masi Kids

By Jerry Carnill                                                                                                                              Jerry Carnill, Extreme ResponsePresident & CEO                                                                                                                        Extreme Response International

I’d like to share a personal experience that shook me to my core, an event so powerful that I think about it Jerry in Malawioften. During my first visit to Malawi I met with potential Extreme Response partners. Malawi was in the midst of severe drought and famine, and people were suffering greatly. One day we were walking in an area that was experiencing intense hardship and I noticed a fragile-looking women struggling as she walked toward us.

Then she simply dropped. She fell straight to the ground and did not move. She died right before my eyes! She was malnourished – unable to find enough food to eat – and her body finally gave up. It was an experience that changed my life!

That day I realized that a lack of food, nutrition, and medical care was killing people who could be saved. I knew that ER needed to play a larger role in helping save people in Africa. I knew we had the desire, will and passion to do it. We just lacked the resources.

Malawi Malnourished boy

While we’ve been working in Africa for 13 years, this year we began strategically investing more resources – people, time, and funds – specifically to change the lives of women and children living at risk.

Beaufort West KidsHow are we doing this? We are taking the lessons we’ve learned from helping people struggling in extreme poverty in the Quito Dump and exporting that knowledge to South Africa, Kenya, and Malawi.

This summer we set up a temporary Africa Regional office and have begun sending staff to South Africa as they raise support. Our staff will lead volunteer “Extreme Teams” to run kids clubs, provide medical care, conduct training, and do construction and maintenance. We’re also excited to begin construction of an ER workspace in partnership with Living Hope near Cape Town.

ER also will bring on an African Regional Director to provide local leadership and build relationships with our partners throughout Africa. This role is vital to our future plans for Africa. For now, I am filling this role on an interim basis.

Our vision? Feed, nourish, train, rescue and encourage high-risk African people. Jerry and Red Hill Girl

But we cannot do it alone.

Would you considering joining us by making a donation? This year we want to increase our impact in Africa, while continuing to help in other countries.

Here are just a few ways we’ll create that impact:

…We’ll bring in work teams to teach, train, feed and encourage people.

Dawn with Masi Girl…We’ll provide coaching for local leaders who are battling poverty, hunger, disease and human trafficking.

…We’ll celebrate Christmas in children’s homes, squatter communities, and slums by bringing food, gifts, and the Christmas story.

There are two easy ways to contribute. You can send a donation to our international headquarters at P.O. Box 345 Snellville, GA 30078-0345 or our Canadian Office at P.O. Box 1013, Simcoe On N3Y 5B3. Or,  visit

On behalf of our staff, interns, partners and volunteers around the world, Carnills with Masi kidsthank you for helping “the least of these”. Please contact me to discuss any of our work or relationships. I would love to share the ways we are changing lives and how you can make a difference!

Serving Together,


P.S.  We’ve just posted a 90-second video that will help demonstrate our vision for helping people 2015.

Helping the Helpless: House of Hope Haiti

House Of Hope Haiti House Moms

Tim Fausch  By Tim Fausch                                                                                                                                        ER Communications

Learn what ER staff members encountered when they visited House of Hope, a children’s home located on Haiti’s north coast. ER’s Jenny Reitz Compère, who serves as House of Hope’s Director of Development, hosted the trip.

Upon clearing customs, four ER staff members step outside the Port-au-Prince airport and are greeted by heat, humidity and chaos. We quickly are encircled by local “tour guides” offering their services in both Creole and English.

House of Hope Haiti
Djordjy and Jenny travel rough roads to get to HOH.

Eventually, we spot Jenny Reitz Compère and her husband Djordjy. They whisk us off in a rented SUV that will become our all terrain transportation for the next week.

Jenny deftly maneuvers through streets packed with vendors, scooters, goats, mules and pedestrians. She honks, accelerates, and passes cars like a woman on a mission – because she is on a mission.

As we drive into rural Haiti, Jenny uses every gear to navigate hours of unmarked, motocross-style roads. Her energized driving mirrors what’s inside her – a deep passion for Haitian people, especially kids.

Jenny came to Haiti in 1992 as an intern from Briercrest Bible College in Caronport, SK, Canada. She returned to Canada to finish college, but the desire to help kids, combined with friends’ encouragement, led her back to Haiti in 1996. For the last 17 years, Haiti has been home. Jenny and Djordjy were married in 2012.

House of Hope HaitiWe arrive at House of Hope (HOH) in the northern city of LaPointe. Along the way we see poverty on a scale unknown in the U.S. Large numbers of Haitians live without electricity, running water, or even latrines. Just getting food and water consumes much of their day.

We pull into the HOH compound to a warm greeting. Jenny is home, and kids of all ages rush to see her and Djordjy. We meet Linda Felix, an HOH “graduate” and its Director since 1988.

With help from HOH, Linda survived a bad case of childhood spinal TB, but not without severe damage that has left her unable to walk normally. She returns the love she received as a child by pouring herself into the kids.

Jenny’s role is more diverse. She, too, immerses the kids in hugs, structure and encouragement. But as HOH’s fundraiser, she has the added responsibility of communicating with supporters from around the world. In this role, Jenny tells whoever will listen about real needs like food, clothing, school uniforms, and medical care.House of Hope Haiti Kids

The needs are big. Really big. More than 80 kids currently live at HOH, including some with special needs. Many of the kids arrive from the mission hospital next door. They are young, often babies, whose parents are sick, dead, or unable to care for them. Some are abandoned.

Many of the children suffer from disease, malnutrition, or neglect. Treatment and care are challenging, but Jenny, Linda and a staff of house moms do their best to create a safe, healthy, and positive environment. Dozens of happy, smiling children are testimony to their faithfulness.

House of Hope Haiti Kids Enjoy Photos
HOH kids really enjoy spending time with visitors, including our team from ER.

One major challenge facing HOH is finding exit strategies for the kids as they enter adulthood. With extreme unemployment throughout the country, their options are limited. Some remain at HOH well into their twenties.

The future of HOH is tenuous. Having lost financial support during the recession, budget shortfalls occur frequently. HOH needs new supporters.

Today, Jenny Reitz Compère is living in Canada and focusing on Development for HOH. She’ll be returning to Haiti regularly, bringing teams and running programs for the HOH kids.

Want to help the helpless? Contact Jenny at or read her first-hand reports at: