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Helping Hands Children's Home (HHCH)

In 2009, with our colleagues back from their furlough and a place for the orphanage found, we began renovations of the buildings etc... to prepare for children. One of the things that we have also believed in and we wanted to implement right away was our philosophy of Cameroonians helping Cameroonians. One way we wanted to do that (and also be at least partially self-funded) was to start businesses. The first business that was started was a car wash (here called a washing point). The first washing point opened in Jan of 2009. It was slow but sure. Lots of work to get it opened and established. We also had major problems with our first manager who was stealing from us. The Lord is faithful and there are now 2 washing points opened and doing well and a butcher shop in the works. God is good...these businesses not only provide good jobs for quite a few Cameroonians, a service that is needed, but it also is paying for the rent on the orphanage property, the tuition for one of the best schools in town and occasionally for a needed project.

Our initial policy for accepting children was: both parents deceased, family unable to feed/educate properly (desperate situation) and the children between 2-12 years old. We weren't really setup for younger children and older children often bring bad habits etc... with them (so we have been told). So our first 3 children tested that policy. We ended up with an 8 month old on our first rescue. God knows what we can handle and it all worked out fine. We do have a couple of children who were outside of those parameters, but we haven't regretted any of our decisions! We have heard many comments about how well our children get along despite coming from different tribes and families. And that is how we desire to keep the a family. Our staff consists of a Pa and Ma, one or two cooks (who also serve as aunties and stay in the rooms with the girls), an uncle who takes care of maintenance and stays on the boys' side. We also have one part time worker who comes in the afternoons and helps with homework and cooking. It has worked amazingly well.

Sometime in 2010 our landlord at the time started to try and raise our rent ~300-500% despite a 10 year contract that we had. Often here a person can just pay a bribe and get a judge to rule in their favor in these types of things. The decision was made to move to a new property rather than take a chance on having this happen (the landlord was well known and connected). We loved our other property but believe this property to be even better. So into a safer home (a walled compound whose owner just happened to win the lottery for a visa to America) we moved and started to develop this property. We have now started to raise table birds (to sell and eat), layers (for eggs), rabbits (to sell and eat). We also utilize the trash for compost for the crops (which are located at a nearby school and a smaller plot just outside the compound). It's our desire to train the children with useful skills that they can take with them wherever they go.

Speaking of which....although none of our children have reached that age yet....this orphanage is different, in that, we won't kick a child out when they reach 18. We want them to have some type of skill/education so that they can thrive on their own. This will mean raising additional sponsors for them to be able to attend university or apprentice somewhere (which you have to pay for here) so that they can earn a living when they leave HHCH. Currently we have 30 beautiful children who were all rescued from desperate situations living as one family at the HHCH property. We are so blessed to be a part of their lives and a part of what God is doing here in Cameroon!

April 2009 - present

The first 3 children that we rescued

Our first location before the facelift

homework time

story time with a visitor

inventive ways to entertain themselves

Pastor (who was an orphan) sharing with children

Bible club buddies

their grandmother (we helped her get medicine too)

After "facelift" -- hard working team

new bibles from a family

this is how we used to get around

boy will be boys

children's bible club

lots of repairs to be done

The wall of our new compound

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