Imagine going to school for 13 years in a classroom with over 40 other kids.
You work hard at school, you come home and do the homework you can but when you need extra help there is no one to help. Your parents didn't graduate high school so they wouldn't be able to help even if they were home.
Every day you walk a few miles and take a train to school because you're lucky and your parents have sacrificed to get you into a better school. Lunch time comes and you have nothing to eat, again your parents had to make sacrifices so you could get an education, not eating lunch is a part of that. You do everything you can to succeed.
At the end of 12 grade you take a test and most of the material on the test you have never seen before. If you fail this test that’s it, your chance of going to university is over, your chance of getting a decent job is gone. There is no community college and there is very little you can do.
This is the reality for many kids in South Africa especially in the poorer communities. Even if they do everything they can to succeed the tools are not there and many will fail. Jobs that pay decent require at least finishing high school, yet these kids are not taught what is on the test.
In South Africa everyone pays to go to public school, the more you pay the better the school and the better the school the better the teachers and the better the school the better chance you have to pass the final test.
So the cycle continues, and the uneducated communities stay uneducated and poor. Dreams of becoming something more are destroyed and the cycle starts all over again.
The story above gives a small glimpse of why we chose to start OHCP and move our family of 5 from the USA to South Africa to run it. But there is a lot more to why and we would like to share some of those reasons with you.
Eddie grew up in South Africa in one of the colored communities. He fits into the story above with the exception that he was able to pass his final exam and get into collage.
He grew up knowing what it felt like to be hungry and oppressed. He knew the pressure to get into drugs, alcohol, gangs, to deal with racism every day. At 10 years old he was shot with a rubber bullet by a police officer, that may not sound bad to you but it hit hard enough he still has a scar.
After high school he went to law school but soon learned that was not for him. He went into missions and helping others.
In 2008 he moved to the USA with his wife and started a new life there. Over the next 7 years he had the American dream: A family, a great job, a house, 2 cars, good schools for his kids, all things he never had in South Africa.
But with all that something was missing. South Africa was still dangerous, the school system was still failing his people. Poverty, AIDS, alcoholism, drugs and human trafficking were controlling the communities. That's when God called him back, back to be the difference. You see, we can see everyday the difference having an education and parents who support you makes.
He now can be the difference in these kids lives. He can offer them the opportunity to rewrite history, to change the community and bring hope back.
South Africa's 3.6 million mixed-race people are referred to as Cape Coloreds or Coloreds. In other places in the world, the word colored used to describe race is considered disparaging (negative or critical). In South Africa, it is used to describe an important segment of the population.
South Africa's Coloreds are descended from the intermarriage of white settlers, African natives, and Asian slaves who were brought to South Africa from the Dutch colonies of Asia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Most Coloreds worked as domestic servants, farm laborers, and fisher-folk, but large numbers were also involved in the skilled trades. Colored masons and engineers are responsible for nearly all of the beautiful buildings in Cape Town, and colored seamstresses and tailors are well-known for their craftsmanship.
Coloreds learn two languages: Afrikaans & English, though many in the townships are only fluent in Afrikaans. At one stage during the apartheid, many Coloreds chose to avoid speaking Afrikaans and combined the two languages in a distinctive, informal local dialect. Many still speak it today.
The Coloreds of Cape Town observe two main religions—Christianity (mostly Protestantism, but also some Catholicism) and Islam, which plays an influential role in a large sector of the population. In urban areas where Coloreds live in large numbers, it is common to hear the faithful Muslims (observers of Islam) being summoned to prayer from mosques.
When most of the apartheid laws were introduced after 1948, many Coloreds were forcibly moved from their traditional residential areas to segregated suburbs and townships. This relocation was bitterly resented and resisted, and it remains one of the worst memories of South African history.
District Six, an area in Cape Town, was the traditional home of many Colored families. Under apartheid laws, it was rezoned, but for whites. The Colored residents were forced to move to the sandy Cape Flats, where crime, alcoholism, and other social problems soon developed. As of the late 1990s, Coloreds can live wherever their economic status allows. Some have moved into gracious homes, but the problems of forced removal created a legacy which will take a long time to eradicate.
During apartheid, Coloreds were kept by law out of the best jobs and the best schools. Because they were restricted in where they could live, Coloreds had to travel long distances each day to low-paying jobs. The result was a high incidence of crime, alcoholism, and other social ills. When the apartheid ended in 1991 and the black majority assumed power in government, what many Coloreds feared: that the government would create programs that gave strong education, economic, and employment advantages to blacks became a reality.