Shared Hope is a Charitable Trust established by two brethren – Howard Peebles and Ian Burness – around five years ago. Both brethren felt that their long experience and ministry with Echoes of Service particularly fitted them for the task envisaged by the Trust – to engage in educational, social, medical, economic, agricultural, and childcare projects in the developing world. The biggest area of ministry at present is in education, and around 40% of current projects have an educational dimension. Every project seeks to give people a hand-up, rather than a hand-out, and the brethren believe that without education there is no hope for those who are born into poverty.
The Trust, which has four Trustees, and a total of eleven team members, began operating on 1st September 2008. This report is provided by Howard Peebles.
Our motivation in Shared Hope is what Jesus said was the second great commandment – ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’.
We are seeking to express this timeless challenge in the following ways:
By expressing mercy in seeking to meet the needs of individuals and groups who do not have the resources to meet their own needs and to be a catalyst in that process
By promoting justice in practical ways for the poor
By upholding dignity in empowering the poor to become independent and self sufficient
We are one Trust among many but we feel that we are, in a small way, playing a part in making a difference in the lives of some.
As well as directly supporting projects ourselves, Shared Hope works in partnership with two Christian-based charities. We work with Bright Hope World, which started in 1992, and is based in New Zealand. Rob Purdue, who founded this charity, has been involved in leadership in different initiatives over the years. We also partner with Starfish Asia, a Christian charity that has been supporting Christian schools in Pakistan since 2003.
Through the above structure, we are seeking to meet the needs of those in extreme poverty. We are attempting in all we do to promote independence and sustainability. To this end, we work in partnership with key individuals in their community and leaders of local churches.
The broad principles that drive how we operate can be summarized as follows:
Working with partners.
Keeping overheads to an absolute minimum.
Require clear accountability.
Ensure regular visits to each project either ourselves or through our partners.
Ensure clear communication.
In the context of our ministry, we are people focussed rather than project focussed. We partner only with those whom we know, or who are known by others whom we trust. The vast majority of our ministry partners are national believers. We use the word partner because that is how we see our relationship with those who are in charge of the projects which we sponsor. We do not attempt to interfere in the running of the projects, believing that the people on the ground are best placed to make decisions on how things should be run, and our task is to support and encourage them, while requiring accountability on the use of the financial resources we provide.
When we launched the initiative in September 2008, our initial target was to be supporting five projects within six months. In fact, things developed far more quickly than we anticipated, and today we have around seventy live projects in seventeen countries.
Apart from the printing of brochures, which we have given or sent to those with an interest in what we are doing, we have not spent any money on promoting this ministry. We have simply told our story as and when an opportunity arose, and we have been taken aback by the generosity of those who have felt led to support the ministry.
It is inevitable that not all projects operate equally well, and while, in the goodness of God, we have had no experience of the misuse of funds, we have, after giving a period of notice, withdrawn a few projects from our portfolio. As stewards of the money given to us, we feel the burden of doing everything we can to use that money wisely. This is a faith-based ministry, but we must be wise in the responsibilities that we take on lest we create problems for our partners by being unable to support them in the terms we promised.
We do expect the number of projects we support to increase somewhat, but we are constantly aware of the danger of expanding beyond our capacity to cope, both financially and administratively.
While it is impossible to accurately determine the impact that the ministry of the Trust is making, we believe that directly and indirectly, we are probably touching the lives of between eight and ten thousand people.
Detailed below are three examples of projects that we support. While our projects are practical in focus, they are motivated by the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, and our prayer is that they will touch not only the practical but also the spiritual needs of those that we are seeking to help.
This school in Lubumbashi has been providing education for deaf-mute children, in a Christian environment, since 1983 and there are one hundred and thirty children attending at the present time. In addition to academic studies, the girls learn sewing skills and the boys learn joinery skills.
This centre, which trains around thirty ladies in sewing skills during a twelve-month period, empowers Christian ladies who have had no education, by giving them the capacity to earn money to support their family. Abdul Masih oversees this centre. During his thirty years of Christian ministry, he and his team, with the Lord’s help, have seen twenty-two assemblies established, eighteen schools, and eight sewing centres, as well as two Bible bookshops, and two Bible book vans are in operation.
There are presently thirty-five children in this home. The home was established to help children removed from their family by the government, due to challenges such as alcoholism and abuse. The Christian environment of the home is very strong with a special emphasis on Bible memorization. The children are being looked after in a vibrant environment, where apart from attending school, they are taught agricultural, cooking, and general house skills. They attend the local assembly on a Sunday. The goal is to have them return to their families, and this is happening.
For more information visit the web site at:- www.sharedhope.org.uk