Mormon Helping Hands 2016

Mormon Helping Hands 2016

From orphanages to old age homes, graveyards to schools, public spaces, hospitals and even a police station, members, joined by friends, have helped to clean up and beautify their local communities. 

“Mormon Helping Hands is the number one tool to help bring the Church out of obscurity in Africa”, said Elder Kevin S. Hamilton, Africa Southeast Area President. 268 449 man hours have been offered in service by 52 641 participants throughout Africa in 2016. Anyone can join with Church members to help serve in the community, and these projects often bring together people of different faiths, as well as NGOs and government organizations.
Some projects have been completed in a day and others have taken months. In Malawi members of the Kawale Branch spent a day cleaning a police station, mopping the floors of the holding cells, cleaning offices, washing blankets, and clearing the grounds (photo on the right). And in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe members from the Luveve and Gwabalanda wards spent some hours cleaning the area around a primary school, picking up and disposing of trash. 
One of the projects which is ongoing is also in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. There the Mpopoma ward are helping to build a sports ground at the Inyathi Youth Centre (photo on the left). The project was started in January and is yet to be completed. Bishop Happy Ndlovu expressed gratitude to members who have volunteered their time to this project. As a result of their ongoing efforts, members were awarded a certificate of outstanding service to the community by the local authorities.
Bulawayo Inyathi Youth Centre.jpg

So often the aged are forgotten members of our society, but not in Windhoek, Namibia.  Members spent time visiting the elderly at the Katutura old age home. They sang hymns, shared spiritual messages and also helped them create Family Pedigree charts, a comforting reminder of the family legacies of which they are an important part. Members provided a lunch which was enjoyed by the residents. (Photos below)

Namibia Old Age Home

Children are another vulnerable group in Africa. The Kayole 1st ward in Nairobi, Kenya, chose a local children’s home for their service project. They painted walls, washed bedding and clothing, repaired doors and cleaned both indoors and outdoors.

In some places there were unusual Helping Hands projects. For example, in Ethiopia the Megenagna and Beklobet branches joined together to donate blood (photo below on right). Members in the DRC in the Pointe-Noire district also chose to donate blood for their service project (photo below on left), as did members in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Throughout Africa there is always a shortage of blood reserves, so these donations were welcomed by their respective local communities.

DRC Pointe Noir blood donation.jpg
Members often joined with other organizations to provide service in their communities. In Botswana LDS Charities and Mormon Helping Hands assisted with the Ministry of Health’s Measles, Rubella and De-worming initiative (photo on the left).
Botswana LDS charities MMH joint initiative.jpg
South Africa Cape Town Khusela Ikhaya joint initiative.jpg

And in Cape Town members, joined by a visiting BYU Women’s golf team, worked together with an NGO, Khusela Ikhaya, to paint dwellings in an informal settlement with a fire retardant paint which burns at a slower rate and temperature, thus preventing fires from spreading rapidly and destroying shacks and lives (photo on the right).

Not only people and buildings received attention, so did some animals! A rescue kennel in KwaZulu Natal has too many dogs for staff to walk regularly, so members of the Hillcrest ward spent some time walking the dogs. Schools, playgrounds, city streets, municipal buildings, hospitals, homes for the elderly and children, beaches, and so much more, were beautified and cleaned and cleared and made safer.
KZN Hillcrest dog walking

 Young and old, from Mauritius to Ethiopia, came out in their numbers to contribute thousands of hours of service. They understand the truth of the words of King Benjamin:  “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).

Read more about Mormon Helping Hands projects throughout the Africa Southeast Area.