In 2000, Benedict Schwartz was reading about street kids around the world. His heart was broken as he imagined what it must be like to be a child with no one to protect or care for you. He cried out, “God, there must be something we can do!" After much prayer and conversations with other Christians, he led an initiative at his church in Maryland to start a Children’s Home in Namibia.
After the children's home in Namibia had been running for 5 years Benedict learned that 1/10th of the population of Zambia were orphans. Since he now knew that God’s call for his life was to “come to the aid of widows and orphans” (James 1:27) he began the process of establishing a Children’s Village in Zambia. He set up a non-profit in the United States, All Kids Can Learn International. At the same time, in Zambia, he established a Non-Governmental Organization, All Kids Can Learn Zambia.
Using income from his software business and depending on God’s provision, he began the transition from American businessman to African businessman and farmer. At a time when many people are making their retirement plans and developing a “bucket list” of things they still wanted to do, his focus became rescuing orphaned and vulnerable children.
Miraculously, land was found on the best and busiest road in the country, the main thoroughfare between South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, passing through the Copperbelt. The land was also in one of the most fertile farm areas of the country.
Benedict and Kathleen did not have the backing of a big organization, or funds available to begin to build the vision. However, whatever money that God brought, was used to implement the vision. Individuals and churches began to find out about the project and after visiting and experiencing both the need in Zambia and the hope being offered through All Kids Can Learn International and in Zambia, funds began to come in to continue the development.
In 2007 Benedict and Kathleen and their youngest daughter Sena moved to Zambia and the Village of Hope. Since that time the Village has become home to almost 100 children. A school has been established that is providing quality education to over 650 students. The employees of the organization have been trained to do all kinds of work; food services, welding, woodworking, animal husbandry, crop production, and loving childcare. Their skills have been enhanced. Several hundred volunteers have come to help and have found their own lives changed forever.
Over and over again, Benedict and Kathleen have seen how God can lead and provide; how God sends those who are able to help; how the rescuing hand of God is at work in our world. Benedict likes to tell the children in the Village and at the School that they are living in a miracle. God is alive and His transforming grace is made evident every day.