Cherish helps young women find hope
Despite a decade of sex education, the rate of teenage pregnancy in South Africa is high, and drug and alcohol addictions are rife among youth—and Ruth Israel is doing something about it. Israel, a YWAM worker, is working with a group of other volunteers in a program called Cherish to disciple young women from ages 13 to 25.
Cherish is a new and evolving ministry with a vision to help young women reach their God-given potential in life. The program started off as an eight-week discipleship study about relationships and biblical purity. Launched in 2007, Cherish has been established in three countries: South Africa, Zambia and Swaziland. The vision is for Cherish programs to be established throughout Southern Africa and beyond. In Midrand, South Africa, Cherish groups meet at two high schools and in some churches.
“Cherish has been a wonderful experience for me,” said Anna, an 11th grade student. “I got to know a lot of things about being a woman of God. It helped me a lot, especially removing the pain that I felt. Now I know that wherever I go, God is with me and that I have been created for a reason, and it helped a lot with me accepting who I am.”
Anna is among many young women whose self-confidence and sense of personal value has been built up through participating in the Cherish study. Since the launch of Cherish, it has become apparent that that there is a great need for broader ongoing discipleship among young women. In addition, many Cherish participants desire to continuing meeting once they have finished the program. To meet these needs, Cherish Clubs and skills training seminars have been developed.
Cherish Clubs are less structured than the study groups, yet provide a sense of community and family, creating a safe place for learning and development to continue. Bible study, prayer, craft activities, leadership development and community service are some of the activities of Cherish Clubs.
In addition to helping young women find a sense of personal value and self- worth in order for them to make healthy relationship choices, there is a great need to equip them with practical skills. These skills are passed on through skills training seminars.
Israel said that the first skills training seminar was called Finding Your Purpose in God, which offered a Biblical foundation to work and God’s purposes for work. Practical sessions included how to write an effective curriculum vitae and perform well in a job interview. The seminars planned for 2009 include Managing Your Money, Water Safety and Swimming and First Aid.
“I learned that God is a restorer and that God gives purpose back to those years which have been difficult,” says Sophie, program participant. “So I can say if I hadn’t gone through (the program), I wouldn’t have (had) the chance to get to know God better and make the decisions that I have made for my life. God accomplished something in my character and in my spirit.”
Cherish is looking for women who will commit a year to developing Cherish study groups and clubs in Midrand, South Africa. An internship program is also being established. Development of a board of directors for Cherish is also a need at this time.
For further information please visit the Cherish website: www.cherish.org.za or contact Ruth at firstname.lastname@example.org