The name Beautiful Gate, which is inspired by a Biblical miracle of healing and restoration, could not be more appropriate for the non-denominational Western Cape-based children’s ministry that has spent the last two decades reaching out to children and families in distress who have little or no hope for the future.
The name was taken from Acts 3:2 in which the apostles Peter and John are asked for a gift by a cripple beggar who is sitting at a gate called Beautiful. The apostles reply that they have neither silver nor gold to give, yet in Jesus’ name they extend their right hand to the man who is instantly healed and then accompanies them into the temple to thank and worship God for his healing.
“This is what Beautiful Gate is about – actively being a part of the body of Christ in ‘reaching out to a society in need and the miracle of restoration and healing’ that follows,” explains the website .
20 years of sharing God’s love
Beautiful Gate celebrates 20 years of sharing God’s love this year. It was started by Toby Brouwer three years after he arrived with his wife, Aukje, in South Africa from the Netherlands in 1991 with the purpose of establishing a ministry for children in need. Beautiful Gate Executive Director, Vaughan Stannard, says, “Our mission is to reflect God’s image – His love and grace – as it cares for and protects children, empowers and preserves families and mobilises communities. The services offered to the community include after school services, sports, holiday clubs, a children’s HIV clinic, Youth Resource Centre, and crisis care for children in need of protection to family strengthening services, parenting skills training and community mobiliser training.”
Despite its humble beginnings in the Western Cape coastal town of Muizenberg, the organisation’s footprint now extends beyond South Africa’s borders with offices in Zambia, Lesotho and Holland. However, during its 20 years of existence, the organisation’s growth has not only been limited to the areas within which it operates or its extended number of services, but also its partnerships with other organizations, the number of staff and volunteers it employs, and, in recent years, it has acquired a total of six certifications achieved for quality standards from UK-based international child care organization, VIVA (ww.viva.org). In order to obtain its six certifications for its operations, the organization needed to complete Quality Improvement System modules in governance, project planning, child protection, child wellbeing, financial accountability and people care (pertaining to its human resource management).
According to its last Annual Report, the organization had quite a few programme highlights including, among others, more than 4 000 visitors to the Beautiful Resource Centre, which provides young people with information and links them to opportunities for work and study; 650 children reached through holiday clubs; almost 500 children who were able to start receiving HIV treatment; 300 women empowered through a Dignity Campaign; 65 teenagers receiving life skills training; and 163 families that benefitted from food parcels.
Stannard says, “By far one of the most satisfying experiences is seeing children go “home” in a better emotional, physical, spiritual and mental state that when they arrived at our Child Care Centre. Another joy has been the privilege of being part of the journey of parents in Crossroads as they seek to be the best parents they can be! Our young people too continue to make us proud as they grow in confidence and character, and in learning to serve others.”