Saving the Orphans of War from Slavery

Saving the Orphans of War from Slavery

Project Summary
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Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We intentionally go to the war zones to establish a peaceful presence with housing, food, medical care and food for the orphans and widows at high risk of slavery.

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Positioning of your initiative on the mosaic diagram
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Vulnerability of targeted populations

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Increase community resilience

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic

Barrier or Principle: WAR and Hostile/Isolated Regions. Make Way Partners intentionally selects areas to work based upon the fact that it is a hostile area or country/region at war. We have found that due to the danger, risk and expense factors little to no help is available for the widows and orphans in these war zones. Thus, they are the first and easy prey for traffickers and slave raiders. There are no roads, bridges, airports or infrastructure to deliver supplies, we truck all supplies over nearly a thousand miles of hostile terrain.

What is your signature innovation, your new idea, in one sentence?

We intentionally go to the war zones to establish a peaceful presence with housing, food, medical care and food for the orphans and widows at high risk of slavery.

Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?

Currently, we are the only orphange available for the Darfur orphans who are at high risk of enslavement. Most consider it too dangerous, too remote and/or too expensive to build and maintain housing and care programs within this region. Some groups offer food drops/dispersements or funds for 'in-home care". However, we have found that when orphans are placed in a desperate families home, as in Sudan, the money is used to care for the pre-existing family unit and the orhpan is used as a slave to fetch water, tend live-stock, collect firewood or worse. These programs do not ensure protection for the orphans or those at risk from being sold or traded or captured for slavery.
In 2005 we launched an indigenously managed school, food program, medical clinic, orphanage and slave repatriation ministry on the border of Darfur and Southern Sudan - the only orphanage available for these children. We are not involved in the political situation, instead we take in Muslims, Animists and Christians alike. We provide housing to orphans from both sides of the war and are modeling peace, forgivness and eventually teaching job training/placement within their country.
We are proving that you can be in a war zone and still model peace within an indigenous, sustainable program.

Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing?

We send small professional teams into work with local leadership. These leaders are trained in education, healing, medical provision and childcare. The leaders are then empowered to develop the program that will work best within their cultural context to care for and protect their most at-risk women and children.

How do you plan to grow your innovation?

Last year we completed our first orphanage on the border of Darfur and Southern Sudan. This year, we are building our second. By yearend, we will have capacity for 450 orphans in our school, housing and food program. (currently, we house 200). The majority of our staff are former slaves from the war invasion. We build around their healing process and prepare them for job service within the school/orphanage. In 2009, we plan to start our third orphanage, again relying on indigenous (many former slaves) to care for the children. This is a powerful and empowering model as, in Sudan, the best hope for survival is marriage. Most Sudanese men will not 'have' these women because they have been 'marked' by the militias. we offer them a way to not only live - but to be useful and protect others from what they have endured. It is a very healing and empowering opportunity.

Do you have any existing partnerships, and if so, how do you create them?

Yes. We have developed relationships with other organizations who do more temporary 'relief' type work in the area: African Leadership, Open Doors, Voice of the Martyrs, AIM. These relationships have developed through on-site visits, collaberation on projects and funding.

Provide one sentence describing your impact/intended impact.

We provide prevention of war-orphan slavery today, while education and preparing the at-risk orphan for indigenous service in the future.

What are the main barriers to creating or achieving your impact?

Threats from the militias, no local resources and no roads to deliver supplies we purchase in Kenya or Uganda, expensive to charter planes to get into the region with supplies (no commercial planes will go there), exhaustion from 130 degrees heat and living in tents, diseases, lack of global commitment to stamp out genocide and ethnic and/or religiously motivated slavery.

How many people have you served or plan to serve?

We currently have 450 orphans in our school and food program. We have built housing for 200 of them (see video of housing on website) and will have the remaining housing done within a few months.
We have also helped to repatriate more than a thousand former slaves from the North.


450 orphans
75 indigenous staff
1000 former slaves (and their children)


The entire community of more than 100,000. Make WAy Partners has offerred much hope as we have stayed on the ground even during atacks and threats. We offer free medical care to the community through our clinic. Our presence has encouraged many to belive they are not totally forgotten.

Please list any other measures of the impact of your innovation?

In 2006, before we built the housing for our orphans, we simply feed and educated them. we tried having them live in the community with other family units because this was the model others porported. However, we learned that a) most of our children missed 2-3 days of school per week for they were not allowed to come unless they found food, water and firewood for their host family b) we lost 278 orphans from January to October that year with the number one cause of death being wild dog or hyenna attack. (the host families made them sleep outside) and c) several of our students were sold to slave traders so that the host families could provide better care for their children. Since building housing, we have 100% school attendance, have not lost one orphan to death or slavery and have provided 75 jobs to indigenous locals.

Is there a policy intervention element to your innovation?

Intervention-Prevention is primarily what we do through our orphan care.

Exactly who are the beneficiaries of your innovation?

Darfur and Southern Sudanese orhpans.
former slave women from the war.
indigenous leadership which we train and equip.

How is your initiative financed (or how do you expect your initiative will be financed)?

Make Way Partners raises all support for the indigenous efforts. Our donor base is comprised of foundations, businesses, churches and individuals from more than 30 states, Austrailia and Hungary.

If known, provide information on your finances and organization

Annual budget: $2,000,000
Revenue Generated: $2,000,000
Stateside: 7
Sudan: 75
Romania: 3

What is the potential demand for your innovation?

We would like to raise an additional $2,000,000 for at-risk war orphan care.

What are the main barriers to financial sustainability?

Our only barrier seems to be more Americans wanting to see their dollars stay in the U.S.

The Story
What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

My family and I were missionaries in Spain and Portugal when I first learned of children being trafficked into the Iberian Peninsula. We first began to fight for these children's release and rehabilitation. We were successful at getting them out, but it didn't take long to learn that we needed to go to the root of the problem - what made them vulnerable to this atrocity to begin with and what could we do to stop it. We formed Make Way Partners to do just that go to the root, stop the trafficking before it took place by working with the cultural context of what the local driving factors were in each location.
We wanted to go to those at the highest-risk with the fewest options. We learned this meant going to countries at war with difficult access and limited supplies or extremely isolated and hard to penetrate regions. I have spent nearly 2 years on the ground personally in Darfur/Sudan, learning the culture, selecting and training locals for the orphan care and hearing the indigenous heart to free their people from the militia raids killing their men and enslaving their women and children. I have recorded hundreds of personal stories, many of which you can read at:

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material

Rev. Kimberly Smith, President and Co-Founder of Make Way Partners, leads from a solid foundation of leadership skills which were honed through her success in the business sector. Leaving the business sector for fulltime ministry, Kimberly began to serve in high-risk regions such as Darfur , Sudan . Living in the desert for extended periods of time, with only the people indigenous to the region with her, has given her a deep cultural understanding of these regions.
Make Way Partners' groundbreaking work has been documented in newspapers, magazines, radio and television reports. Kimberly has also given first-hand testimony to various members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Emphasis of Work

Prevention through housing, education, protection and medical care for at-risk-war orphans and widows.