Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on September 17, 2012

Labels: Namibia , Women’s and Children’s Health

Project HOPE in Namibia.

Thank you. Two of the most powerful words in the English language. 

The phrase becomes even stronger when it is sung by a chorus of orphans and vulnerable children to the distinctly rhythmic cadence of traditional African music. 

Today, the HOPE delegation and I visited two rural villages nearly two hours east of Rundu, Namibia. As we sat beneath the branches of a large tree, we listened to the moving testimonies of women, all of whom are caregivers for the children, describe how HOPE's programs have improved not only their lives, but the lives of the children they are responsible for as well. 

Project HOPE in Namibia

The women participate in a micro-lending program which allows them to start small businesses such as fruit and vegetable stands, jewelry and basket making and other endeavors to support the children and their villages. 

As part of the lending program, the women come together to learn healthy habits in child care disease prevention and nutrition from HOPE field workers. During our visit, the women demonstrated their new found knowledge of nutrition through word and cultural dance. 

Before leaving the last village, the Head Man, a term used in reference to the village leader, said that before HOPE came to his village his people were "blind" to the importance of health in their lives, but now they "see." 

The Head Man's observation was one of several expressions of gratitude we heard from the women and village leaders. But it is to them that I wish to say thank you for their commitment to the program and their inspiration. 

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