Evangeline Ministries runs a Life Skills program for disadvantaged women many of whom are HIV positive, from the township of Masiphumelele in Cape Town South Africa, to give them basic skills to improve their earning capacity and point them to Jesus Christ, the Hope of Life.
Since its start in 2006, Evangeline Ministries over 500 women and men have graduated from the program and received new sewing machines. EM has trained another 20 in other organizations. EM’s goal is to give HIV positive and other disadvantaged women from the township of Masiphumele and other townships, skills on which they can build with the goal to find jobs and earn income through sewing projects or computer competence,
EM’s goal is to train a maximum of 48 students annually to prepare them for jobs and entrepreneurial enterprises. It is also to introduce and strengthen their faith in a God who loves them in Jesus Christ.
EM has grown from its single focus ministry, based on sewing to an expanded Life Skills Program that includes Basic Computer Skills and English training, Bible teaching and a healthy lunch. Each graduate receives a new sewing machine and a Bible.
Evangeline Life Skills teaches women skills that include basic Sewing, computer and English as well as Bible lessons. EM supports five local teachers which we continue to mentor and build leadership capacity.
For the past ten years, Evangeline Ministries (EM) has served the people of the township of Masiphumelele, Cape Town, thanks in part to the generous and faithful support it’s donors. EM has focused on its core program of giving skills to HIV positive and other disadvantaged women to lead them to the love of Christ and find ways to earn a living. EM has until recently, kept classes to a maximum of 24 students annually so as to ensure maximum personal input into the lives of the women. After observing EM’s work in the township, the Masiphumelele Corporation and Trust approached EM and offered to partner with us to double the number of students with a long-term goal of developing more business opportunities in the township. Starting in January 2012, this partnership began with the potential to train 48 women (and a few men) annually. We were able to meet that goal in 2013, 2014 and with our graduation in December 2015 of the second class this year, we will also meet our goal.
EM runs a mentoring, teaching, leadership and development and economic uplift program disadvantaged women, most of whom are HIV positive. EM has a four-part strategy:
- Hope in Jesus Christ
- Skills to include Basic English and Computer classes
- Sewing Classes
- Sewing machines along with outlets to market what they have learned.
EM does Evangelism through Bible Study at each class where students read the Bible in their own language and discuss what the Scripture teaches about God’s love for them. In addition, there is a Spiritual Emphasis day for Evangelism during each semester. EM’s teachers are also active in looking for opportunities to lead students to a personal faith in Jesus Christ.
In addition to what is listed above, EM also includes a South Africa Awareness day for the students, most of who have very little experience of Cape Town outside of the township.
As of December 2015 (includes our current class), approx. 500 women from Masiphumelele and other townships will have graduated from EM’s program. EM seeks to builds hope and self- esteem and our graduates, more than anyone else, have proven to be amazing ambassadors who advertise the program and their changed lives in the community. We are able to cull students for each new class from their testimonies and the message of hope they share with their peers.
In 2011 EM was invited to partner with the Masiphumelele Corporation and Trust which enabled us to double our potential students from 24 to 48 annually. They fund 50 per cent of the program for the increased students. EM is still responsible for raising its budget to support the basic program.
Starting January 2013, EM is now linked to an expanded sewing and income generating program, in the form of the Sewing Café. This effort is led by entrepreneur Athene Stephanou. Currently about 40 of EM’s sewing graduates have returned to participate in this program. It involves coming together two days a week and sewing projects that have been generated by businesses in the broader community. We have more graduates waiting for further training on EM industrial machines that have been seconded to Athene. Some of the products the graduates have made include mattress covers for crèches (day care centers) in Masa; bags for schools supported by MediaCorp, and there are orders for school uniforms and other sizeable contracts which enable the graduates to earn income. This promises to grow even more as Wendy continues to meet with other entrepreneurs who are looking for sewing labor.
In addition to Bi-monthly and special mailings, Wendy has a blog on the Evangeline Website www.evangelineministries.org. She also keeps donors informed through personal and individual emails. EM sends out at the end of each year a Thank You note to all of its donors that specifies what they gave for the year and the IRS identification number.