Orphaned and vulnerable children : a development challenge to the Christian community of Pietermaritzburg.
Naidoo, Mirolyn Eunice.
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The Christian community and local government in Pietermaritzburg is confronted with a crisis of orphan and vulnerable children (OVC). Orphan numbers are expected to peak between 2006 and 2010. No amount of external policies and legislations can adequately deal with both the outward needs and the internal trauma that orphan and vulnerable children experience. However, this study argues that the Christian community is well placed to meet the holistic needs of OVC. By engaging David Korten's Four Generational Framework, the Christian community is challenged to move beyond meeting the visible short term needs of OVC and to become more involved in policy and decision making bodies. Further, through the endeavors of voluntary organizations represented by Fourth Generation development strategies, People's Movements could be mobilized to enhance the strategies of government and other organizations involved in the OVC crisis. Human nature includes issues of human dignity, existential worth, civil responsibility, social equity, political liberty and individual destiny. Understanding one's origin, as expressed in the Bible in terms of humans being created in the image of God (Imago Dei), guides the Christian community first in developing an understanding of themselves and second, on how to function in practical ways toward those that are hurting and are in sorrow. In this study reference is made to OVC who find themselves in this situation because of circumstances that are beyond their control. The crisis of parentlessness leaves children unprotected and vulnerable and thereby sets the stage for hopelessness and despair. God's Imago Dei is the genetical establishment of the individual's person and anthropological construction. The nature and mission of the Christian community is central to its understanding of and response to human need. The Christian community as custodian of the revelations of God reflects the image of Christ as the image of God. This places compliancy demands on the Christian community to represent God's image and transact God's affairs on the earth. Theological reflections on God's mission to the Christian community are explored with the aim of inspiring the Christian community and local government to work together in combating the OVC crisis. Studies seem to indicate that local government is prepared to partner with the Christian community in its attempts to deal with the crisis of OVC in an effective and sustainable manner.
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