The need for structured, meaningful activity for the unsupervised children on the streets prompted Hope for the Future Ministries to start a program in a temporary structure beside a church in 2004. Here the children from the surrounding area of Nonde were invited to come and play, learn and eat, receiving nourishment for their body, soul and spirit. Over the years the number of children in attendance has continued to grow and in 2009, a facility with a good outdoor play area and running water became the new home to the Inner City Program.
This program has two components – the Breakfast Program and the After-school Program. The latter operates two days a week. With a staff of committed and caring local people, sometimes assisted by visiting volunteers, the children are given the opportunity to engage in outdoor activities such as soccer, gymnastics, sand play, and indoor activities such as board games and puzzles, drawing and crafts. To nurture understanding of the world around them the staff and children are encouraged to look at books and magazines together. Sharmala, or her assistant Leonard, lead a song and story time and the children listen to the lessons of life through Bible Stories. At the end of the program, a much anticipated nutritious meal is served.
A Breakfast Program was added in 2009 to include a daily meal which is served during the morning break at school. It provides many children with the incentive to stay at school by alleviating their hunger and facilitating their ability to concentrate. Schools have reported that dropout rates have fallen drastically since the introduction of the program.
Through the Inner City Program, specific individual needs for medical care, school fees, school uniforms, hair-cuts, warm clothing, etc are identified and addressed. Envisioned for the future is a permanent facility that will provide full-time educational and vocational training programs to meet the needs of more of the children in this area.