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Building a Brighter Future For Those in Need
In 1984 Peter Pretorius’ life changed forever when he visited a food distribution center in Pambarra, Mozambique. He was taken to the small village to observe the conditions and issues facing the government. Peter intended on staying for just one day, but when it was time to leave there was no airplane waiting for him.
On that first day, Peter saw 18 people die from starvation. He’d never seen so many people living in those conditions, and it struck him to the very core. Peter spent the next ten days in the village learning about the people around him and their struggles. One day an old man stumbled across the clearing. Peter sat him down under a tree and told him to wait while he went to get water. By the time Peter returned to the man, he was dead. It was then that something within Peter snapped. He shouted at God and felt something in his heart and knew what he needed to do.
When Peter returned home, his wife Ann immediately noticed that something had changed within him. He assured her that nothing was wrong with him, but something significant had changed. Peter explained that he needed to commit his life to help improve the lives of others. That’s when Joint Aid Management (JAM) was born.
The Success of School Feeding Programs
Malnutrition is still a substantial problem in many countries. Nearly half of all deaths in children under the age of five are attributed to under-nutrition. That comes to a devastating loss of approximately 3 million young lives each year. Those who are malnourished, especially young children, experience delayed recovery and are at increased risk of dying from common infections; but has broader implications as well. Hunger and the effects of malnutrition create a major barrier to breaking the cycle of poverty through gaining access to education in Africa.
JAM implemented nutritional school feeding programs to help address this issue. To help keep children in the classroom while supporting their nutritional needs, JAM feeds the children a highly nutritious soup at school locations. Once each child is fed, they have the energy to engage with their education and community. But the school feeding program goes farther, by providing a safe harbor for children to learn and grow. In addition, they provide additional resources to the community to ensure that young girls can remain in class and receive the same quality education as the boys.
In 2015, Michael and Susan Ellison joined JAM in Mozambique to observe the profound impact the school feeding program was having. As the children were waiting to be fed, Michael and Susan noticed how lethargic and weak they looked. It broke their hearts to see young boys and girls living this way.
After the children received their meals and began to show signs of improved energy, Susan gave a soccer ball as a gift. They were astounded by the difference in their behaviors. Such a simple item, one that many people in developed countries take for granted, had the power to change so many young lives. It was in that moment that the seeds of House of Giving’s Peter Pretorius Field of Dreams initiative were planted.
Peter Pretorius Field of Dreams
To grow into healthy and happy adolescents and adults, children require the right foods, plenty of activity, education, strong community and spiritual guidance. JAM and House of Giving are working together to provide every student these essentials.
The current project in Mozambique began with a single soccer ball, but quickly grew into providing full soccer kits that included jerseys, gloves, shorts and soccer balls to 1,020 children in 34 different schools, orphanages and hospitals. Now House of Giving is raising funds to help build a beautiful, first of its kind irrigated soccer field where children will be able to play and compete in soccer tournaments but will also be mentored by renowned coaches and soccer celebrities. These coaches will provide leadership to each child, teach the value of teamwork, build self-confidence and help support healthy physical and mental development.
Schools from all over will recruit players and create numerous teams and leagues to play on the fields which will serve as the regional sports and event center. But the Peter Pretorius Field of Dreams isn’t just a state-of-the-art soccer facility; it will sit alongside the Centre of Excellence, which will provide education and training for the surrounding communities. This complex is situated next to JAM’s largest semi-commercial farm which produces crops and provides technical training to local farmers and community outreach programs. New programs offered will focus on farming methods, business development and other useful resources to teach students about the farming industry, which is so vital to their survival and future development.
Project Status and Future Plans
To date, House of Giving has made significant headway on the Peter Pretorius Field of Dreams project. Below are a few accomplishments and the next phases for the project.
Peter Pretorius Field of Dreams Accomplishments:
- Clearing and grading of the ground
- Removal of soft sand and soil analysis
- Installation of an irrigation system
- Laying of base soil and fertilizer
- Offsite grass runner germination
- Successfully harvest of grass runners at the final field site
- Purchase of maintenance tools and appliances
Next Steps for Peter Pretorius Field of Dreams:
- Install grandstand and additional seating
- Construction of field fences
- Drill boreholes and installation of water stands and taps
- Installation of restrooms and changing rooms
- Hire and train a groundskeeper
- Purchase sports kits for players and referees
House of Giving has also partnered with Freekicks, a non-profit organization that uses soccer as a vehicle to inspire young people throughout the world to dream. Soccer has so many benefits for children; it builds community, promotes teamwork and ignites children’s passion and determination. Freekicks train coaches to teach children soccer skills while ministering Biblical principle and teaching life skills.
How You Can Help
What if you could give the gift of hope, faith, joy, security, community and the promise of a brighter future? Your contribution to the House of Giving’s Peter Pretorius Field of Dreams initiative gives that, and more, to thousands of children and their families.
To date, the Peter Pretorius Field of Dreams project has been fully funded by House of Giving donations from caring individuals like you. Every contribution is greatly appreciated and helps move
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