Collaborative– involving two or more people working together for a special purpose.
The dictionary says the word collaborative is an adjective, but the Greater Hope Project uses it as a noun. It is people, a place, and a thing. Numbers of organizations coming together for a common purpose, to help the South Sudanese refugees. It seems that God has stirred hearts from various places around the world to participate in the collaborative we call the Greater Hope Project.
It started as one Nigerian man’s vision and call. Uche heard God say, ‘Go.’ He went, not knowing what was ahead of him. He heard, he followed. Simple obedience. For years, he and his wife Sola worked with the people of South Sudan, in the world’s newest country. When war broke out, the couple moved their efforts to the refugee camps of Northern Uganda outside of Arua. The atrocities of war traumatized the people who had fled. They went from having everything to nothing. Many lost their homes and family members in dramatic unimaginable ways. The size of the crisis was overwhelming, the largest refugee crisis since WWII.
Uche asked Adventures in Missions if they would partner with him to help empower the refugees. As they wait to return to their country, why not create a community with hope? Why not develop skills which will be useful when the war is over? A team was formed made up of people from different fields of study, who brought their unique skills to the table.
In the meantime, a group of refugees determined they wanted education for their children. Led by a man named Alfred, they began a community school…under a tree. With no resources, they got creative and began to build a structure with posts they made from trees. When the Alfred and Uche met their visions combined, and began a collaborative effort which continues to grow as time moves forward. Each organization that comes alongside brings a specific piece of the vision to life. Rather than Uche and Alfred to have to develop all these pieces themselves, God is bringing those who are specialists in each area of need. It is amazing to watch it come together. Look at what has happened to this point.
- The Department of Education of the Anglican Church of Uganda in Arua caught the vision and partnered with Uche to enable him to access the camps under their umbrella.
- The Office of the Prime Minister made a way for the team to work within the camps, including giving permission for the filming of a documentary to raise awareness of the crisis.
- Adventures in Missions (AIM) brought together a team, called the Citizens of Refuge, to live in the camp for 3 months to create the film. They gathered footage and brought it back to begin the editing process on the movie titled A School of Hope. It was a huge project that took many months to be completed.
- The Greater Hope Project began to fundraise for items the refugees determined they needed, such as the materials for the roof of the school and other construction projects, as well as books for the students. They started a feeding program at the school, and since there is no secondary school (Hope Primary is kindergarten through 7thgrade) they began a scholarship program for students who score well enough on the secondary school entrance exam. They also started a micro business grant program for the teachers, since they do not receive a salary. This is to create financial resources to provide for their families, so they can continue to teach.
- While the film crew and GHP were engaged in their creative efforts, a ministry of teacher trainers, Advancing Leaders International (ALI), collaborated with those on the ground involved with Hope Primary School to host teacher conferences. These ongoing conferences focus on helping the teachers, who are mostly untrained, to learn teaching practices they can use to create a learning environment in refugee schools. Teachers helping teachers. ALI supplies knowledge and also books and other supplies for the teachers.
- In addition to teaching techniques, teachers needed to be aware of signs and symptoms of trauma, not only for their students, but for themselves as well. Parakletis, a ministry of trauma trainers, became another organization who brought a specific skill set to the project by training teachers and others in the community how to recognize and deal with trauma.
- As the refugees learn about forgiveness of their enemies as a step to healing their trauma, they realize they cannot give away what they do not have. Many have come to know the Lord of Grace as the healer of broken hearts. Creating a need for discipleship, which the organization His Sickles, led by Uche, has addressed by creating small groups of teachers who lift one another up as they study more about the love of God for them and their students.
- Other organizations are catching the vision these refugees want for their children. The Meraki Workshop is using art to teach the students the cultural traditions of South Sudan, so they will not be lost. They will sell these art projects to create a source of revenue for the school.
The people…refugees and organizations…are working in a place…a refugee camp school…to bring a thing…HOPE. See? The Greater Hope Project. A noun. A Collaborative.
www.aschoolcalledhope.com (Go to this page to watch the film.)
www.greaterhopeproject.org(Go to this page to find out more about the project.)
Other organizations who work on the project.