Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Bright Hope PD Mark Brubacher Speaks at South African Orphan Summit

Samfya, Zambia – Mark Brubacher, Bright Hope Partnership Developer for Zambia, spoke at the South African Orphan Summit in June on effective orphan care. The conference set out to educate organizations, churches, and individuals on best practices of orphan care to help make a lasting, positive impact on children’s lives.

Brubacher was invited to speak given his vast knowledge of orphan care and the humanitarian aid community. With a bachelor’s degree in agricultural crop science and a master’s in international development, Mark monitors and provides field support for Bright Hope’s projects in Zambia and Uganda. He has extensive international development experience, including post war reconstruction efforts in Sudan and has spent the past 20 years living and working in rural Africa with his wife and two daughters.

At the conference, Mark spoke about Bright Hope’s success in providing care for the guardian families of orphans through the local in-country church. Beracah, Bright Hope’s program partner in Zambia, exists to support communities filled with at-risk orphans and provide hope to struggling families. Since Bright Hope partnered with Beracah in 2002, the number of orphans being cared for in families went from 75 to 180 with 22 church partners.
Brubacher presented Bright Hope’s strategy for providing Hope to Beracah at the Summit. He explained that providing for immediate needs will only help the problem temporarily and how Bright Hope uses a three part approach with Hope for Today (clean water, feeding programs), Hope for Tomorrow (education, microloans), and Hope for Eternity (pastoral training, discipleship). By creating sustainable initiatives such as microloans, families are enabled to regain their independence by providing for themselves. Bright Hope also supplies training for the church to follow up with adoptive families and correct any problems. Providing the opportunity for microloans and training enables the family to have a better quality of life. Supporting adoptive families through the church decreases the risk of orphan abuse and teaches families how to give their children the best care.

By sharing the story of a woman named Rebecca, Brubacher was able to provide listeners with a real example of the effectiveness of Bright Hope’s work in Zambia. Rebecca had received her first microloan in 2010. As a smart businesswoman, Rebecca used the loan to start selling goods in her community. A year and a half later, her business had grown considerably larger. One month prior to the summit, Brubacher had followed-up with her and found she was running a full scale shop with a reputable business strategy. The microloan program helped her regain her independence and put her orphaned younger brother through grade 12. Her next goal is to provide for him to attend college.

Bright Hope works through the local in-country church to empower others. Through speaking at the South African Orphan Summit, Mark Brubacher was able to present viable options for other churches and organizations to provide better care for orphans in their communities.