A Saturday in mid-July was especially exciting for children at the Little Seed Center in Cacuaco, who received gifts from the Young Adults Organization of Bethel United Methodist Church. Between songs and laughter, the children expressed gratitude for the rice, sugar, pasta, oil and maize flour, as well as teaching resources.
According to Berta Joaquim Albertoque, deputy director of the center, many of the children reside at the orphanage because their parents cannot provide for them. “Our greatest desire,” Albertoque said, “is to reintegrate these children into their families.”
The Little Seed Center was founded in 2004 to house and care for orphans and needy children in and around the community of Cacuaco. United Methodist Pastor Junior João Cassule leads the initiative. After completing studies in Zimbabwe, Cassule decided to fulfill his dream of aiding the most disadvantaged. The orphanage currently houses 100 children ages 4 to 18.
The center receives no support from the government Ministry of Social Action or Ministry of Education, which would be responsible for licensing and paying teachers. Instead, most teachers are young people from the community. Some volunteer, while others receive an incentive. Other individuals and companies assist the orphanage.
“At this moment,” Albertoque said, “our biggest problem is what to pay the people who work here … who need some encouragement to continue and keep the center standing. This is the real cry for help from the leadership of the Little Seed Center — calling for financial support.”
Other needs include food, clothing, basic health care, teaching resources, and materials for entertainment and arts and crafts. The 12-classroom center teaches up to the sixth grade. For grades seven through 12, students attend schools near the orphanage.
“Our commitment to combat the social ills that afflict society is continuous,” said Celso Borges, director of the Young Adults Organization. “Our organization, from time to time, has promoted the delivery of soup to children and youth in … the city of Luanda.”
He said the group is motivated by Jesus’ words in Matthew 25, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing.”
Bethel United Methodist Church is in the municipality of Luanda, Rangel Urban District, about 15 miles from the orphanage.
The young adults, ranging in age from 25 to 35 and numbering about 100, said their commitment to social action, along with education, health and ministry of the Word, has always been present in the lives of the people called Methodist.
Da Cruz is a communicator for the West Angola Annual Conference.
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