Southside Organization Shares Christ Through Orphan Care
Photography Provided by Amy Counts & The Boaz Project
Around the globe, more than 140 million orphans struggle to survive. A Greenwood non-profit offers a variety of ways to help them.
For two decades, The Boaz Project has been providing effective channels for donors, volunteers and prayer warriors to impact children without parents around the world.
“The Boaz Project is a little different from many orphan care organizations,” says April Jurgensen, the founder and executive director. “We don’t do individual child sponsorship. Instead, our methods of assisting orphans are strategically designed to nurture their attachment to the long-term caregivers in their orphanages. We don’t want these children constantly looking to the next group of foreign visitors to meet their needs. We want them to feel secure, knowing their house parents are competent to care for them.”
Through house parents and volunteers who are native to the countries where The Boaz Project operates, the organization assists orphans with ongoing humanitarian aid, job training and tutoring, baby nurturing, Bible Discovery Classes, as well as birthday and Christmas gifts.
“Our mission is to inspire and equip leaders around the globe to care for orphans in their own communities,” explains Jim Jurgensen, managing director.
To do this, The Boaz Project comes alongside those God has called to provide the daily, hands-on care for orphans in their countries and assists them through financial support, prayer, encouragement and training. Their trauma-informed care classes help those who care for vulnerable children deal with the behaviors and challenges that often come with abuse and neglect.
“The house parents and volunteers we’ve partnered with are just amazing, taking children from the streets and raising them as their own,” Jim adds. “But most don’t have any financial backing from their government, any training in trauma, any moral support until we are able to join hands with them.”
Engaging a Caring Community
In order to accomplish its mission of helping orphans and their caregivers, The Boaz Project engages the Greenwood community and beyond.
“The need is much greater than our small staff can meet alone,” April says. “So we see educating our community about orphans’ needs and recruiting individuals, churches and businesses to help as part of our calling.”
Staff from The Boaz Project are available to speak in schools, churches and civic organizations. They also partner with local businesses to host local events like an annual 5K and a variety of dine-to-donate events where the community can learn about and give toward the needs of the orphans in their care.
In addition, they hold one-hour, inspirational introductions to the ministry. These “Encounters” are not fundraisers, just an informal means of learning about the needs of orphans and The Boaz Project’s strategies for meeting them.
Today, The Boaz Project serves 428 children in 14 homes in Russia, India and Kenya.
“But there are so many more children still in need of help — infants in garbage dumps, children on the streets,” April says. “As long as that’s the case, we’ve got more work to do.”
Currently, the organization is raising money for the construction of a multi-story apartment building in Kenya which will house six foster families (48 children total). This home will be the first to care for orphaned girls in the village of Limuru and will allow orphaned siblings to stay together.
“If a little girl is orphaned in Limuru today, the authorities will put her on the streets. They just don’t have any alternative,” April says.
You can learn more about The Boaz Project and how you can help provide a home and a family for numerous vulnerable children by visiting boazproject.org/kenyahome.