H.O.P.E.Helping Orphans by Providing Empowerment—supports orphans and impoverished families in Africa through an economic upliftment project which provides employment to women living in abject poverty in the shanty towns of South Africa. Women with no source of income and no skills are taught the ancient African skill of making beaded jewelry.


They work in groups doing the beading, and gain both mutual support from other group members and the wages that can be quite literally lifesaving for their families. The income they earn both directly supports the women and all the children in their care, and indirectly helps to lift the whole community out of poverty when that money is spent.

The concept that underlies the economic upliftment model is simple. The previously impoverished women making the jewelry are now earning money. So they can now buy bread and the baker profits. They can now buy clothes, and the seamstress profits. They can now buy meat and the grocer profits. And on and on, with the initial income sending out ripples in a way that helps to improve the future of the whole community, giving them all hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Since education in this part of the world is normally only possible for those with money to pay for school fees and uniforms, the future of these women’s children is also made brighter since they can now afford to pay those costs and give their children the education that can help to permanently lift them out of poverty.

H.O.P.E.'s co-founders are Lark Lands, M.S., Ph.D., a long-time AIDS educator and internationally respected expert on HIV treatment and nutrition (, and Liza Rossi, the woman who founded the Ekukhanyeni Relief Project and has spent years on the ground in South Africa working to help orphans and other impoverished children and the often widowed or abandoned women who also live in abject poverty in these communities (

Lark and Liza met in South Africa when Lark was invited there to present information on HIV nutrition at a conference and they discovered their mutual passion for helping the women and children trapped in such terrible circumstances.

These are photos of Lark and Liza doing what they love most, holding the beautiful children at an orphan's crèche in Lawley. Each of these little girls was close to death from malnutrition when they first encountered them. Thanks to the nutrition aid provided by Ekukhanyeni, both are now doing remarkably well.

After so many years of working with people living with HIV disease and the children who have been orphaned by the disease, these two women came to believe that a better idea was needed to truly help orphans and other impoverished children and women. They believe that H.O.P.E. is that idea.

It is their belief
that this is a model for the future. Instead of the old-fashioned idea that relief organizations have to give a never-ending stream of donations to help those living in poverty, the H.O.P.E. model truly helps to end poverty for these communities.

The profits made by selling the jewelry is used by H.O.P.E. to support Ekukhanyeni, the Home of Light and Hope, a registered charity (a non-governmental organization or NGO) in Gauteng Province, South Africa, that provides nutritional support to orphans and other vulnerable children.

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