News Story

Mormon Helping Hands Team with Local Governments to Serve Southeast Africa

Thousands of Mormon Helping Hands volunteers dressed in yellow vests worked alongside non members to benefit many Southeast African communties.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ have performed Mormon Helping Hands projects in most of the communities of Southeast Africa, including the following countries: Botswana, Cameroon, DR Congo Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Thousands of people have participated in projects through the 16th of August 2014, with some projects ongoing into the future.

The Mormon Helping Hands program brings together members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their neighbors to provide community service. These volunteers in their trademark yellow often partner with government and nonprofit organizations to support and improve the communities where they live, in addition to helping people whose lives have been affected by natural disasters and other emergencies. The Helping Hands program reflects the desire of Mormons to follow the example of Jesus Christ by serving others.

Some examples of the type of Mormon Helping Hands projects during 2014 consist of:


In the city of Wendo, Ethiopia, members of the Church joined with the community to plant 710 tree seedlings provided by the government along a government fence line.  Two government leaders attended and participated in the project.

Over the course of several weeks, the Lusaka District of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participated in a face-lift of the Matero Police Station in the northwestern section of the City of Lusaka, Zambia. The project consisted of replacing several broken windows, cleaning windows on the street side, constructing a ceiling in the reception area, painting the reception walls and new ceiling, installing light fixtures in the main hallway and reception area, refinishing the building entrance, painting the front and sides of the main building in four distinct colours, and painting the parking/driveway barriers in the facility entrance and parking area. Some landscaping and general clean-up were also accomplished.

In Harare, Zimbabwe, a project to help spruce up the Harare Town Council building which consisted of cleaning up the public areas surrounding the building, revamping the garden and painting the entire exterior. Painting required complicated scaffolding that reached up three stories high. Crews worked for weeks and acquired donations from local businesses for materials to help them with the various phases of this project. They hope to finish this large renovation by the end of August.

In the South Africa Bedfordview Stake area of the Church, which includes Bedfordview, Edenvale, Germiston, Alberton, Katlehong, Vosloorus, Vereeniging, Ennerdale, Orange Farms, Sebokeng and Sharpeville, thousands of members have identified an organisation within their local community to arrange service projects involving their members of all ages, including primary children, young men and women as well as young single adults. Some of the organisations which were served this year, include orphanages, old age homes, children’s homes, homes for the homeless and abused, centres for the disabled, the Lost People Bureau with abandoned children, clinics and municipalities. Services performed include: cleaning of roads, building and garden maintenance, building of wheelchair ramps, washing and ironing, housecleaning, making of food, clothing, repairs to jungle gyms, cutting hair, musical entertainment, reading stories, children’s parties, skills development and making and providing handmade quilts.

In Cameroon, hundreds of volunteers are participating with the government plan to rid the area of plastics bags and other harmful trash. In August, members of the Church could be seen in their yellow vests picking up trash from the roadways and cleaning trash out of drainage ditches and other critical areas around the community. This project will be an ongoing effort to get rid the community of discarded harmful plastics.

These projects in combination with hundreds of other projects led by Mormon Helping Hand Volunteers are following the 2014 theme of Hand in Hand With Local Government, believing that they can rally members of the communities and join with other churches in offering their service to help their local governments. They believe that following Jesus Christ means doing what He would do to help others and have found that members of the community of other faiths feel the same. Their joint efforts really have made a difference.

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