Blog: August 2013
Twenty-five years ago UrbanPromise in Camden, NJ was started by a small group of college interns. These young leaders, fresh out of college, were filled with idealism and energy. They built the foundation on which the ministry now stands. UP has always believed in the potential of young adult leaders. This summer, UrbanPromise International has helped launch an internship program in Malawi, allowing college students the opportunity to serve in practical ways in the existing affiliate ministries throughout the country. They teach, they coach, they lead songs, they mentor, they role model...they love Malawi's most vulnerable children in the name of Jesus. Meet Nathan and Innocent (left to right). Innocent works with ProjectTEACH, just graduated from the African Bible College (ABC), and is an avid soccer player. At TEACH, Innocent coaches the under 14 team and teaches Bible at the day camp. Nathan serves at Rays of Hope. Nathan is going into his junior year at ABC and studies communications. At Rays he teaches computers in the morning and teaches Art and Literature at the summer camp. These extraordinary young men embody the spirit of the intern program--they love children, work long hours, and see themselves as part of changing Malawi.
"What kinds of things do boys say to have sex with you?" asked former UPI fellow, Doreen Kaphalanya. There was an immediate burst of laughter from the standing-room only crowd--about 100 girls between the ages of 10 and 14.
"You're the only," shouted one girl.
"I'll marry you," called another.
At this point Doreen got serious. She cautioned the girls about some of the dangers of sexual activity and how they have the power to say, "No!"
Last September, UPI funded Doreen to return to Malawi to begin a girls' empowerment program with ChristCares Ministries. For the past year, three days a week, Doreen talks candidly with young women about self-esteem, education, faith and...sex.
The girls sit in rapt attention as they listen to this poised, educated, college graduate. More than the lessons she teaches, Doreen's effectiveness is the life she leads. A college graduate, committed in her faith, who has returned to the village. That speaks volumes to these young learners. --Bruce Main
Doreen, inspiring young girls to expect great futures.