Refugee school in Malaysia wins 2020 Hope Awards contest

ElShaddai Refugee Learning Centre in Klang, Malaysia, received the most votes out of nearly 9,000 cast in our 2020 Hope Awards for Effective Compassion contest. El Shaddai will receive $10,000. Our other finalists—The Dream Center in Easley, S.C., Gilgal in Atlanta, Overflow Café in Maryland, and Refugee Hope Partners in Raleigh, N.C.—will gain $2,000 each.

ElShaddai—God Almighty—opened 12 years ago with 22 students. It now has 1,400 at its main center and several subcenters, a number reached by overcoming many obstacles. WORLD senior reporter Angela Lu Fulton visited ElShaddai and reported in our Sept. 26 issue that it is an openly Christian organization working with mainly Muslim refugees in a majority-Muslim country with strict laws against proselytizing. Students come from 20 different countries, including Myanmar, Indonesia, Pakistan, Somalia, Cambodia, and India.


The Dream Center in Easley, S.C.

Tiny houses, big hearts
Chris Wilson runs the Dream Center to help people escape homelessness, but fighting client discouragement is a constant battle
by Charissa Koh

Listen to WORLD Radio’s profile

Gilgal in Atlanta

Relearning how to live
Gilgal helps women leaving addiction and homelessness. But some leave before they’re ready, and staff members have to cope with disappointment
by Charissa Koh

Listen to WORLD Radio’s profile

Overflow Café in Cambridge, Md.

Overflow of love
The Overflow Café provides a place for Christians to build friendships and make disciples. But keeping the shop open is a struggle
by Charissa Koh

Listen to WORLD Radio’s profile

Refugee Hope Partners in Raleigh, N.C.

“It’s just a simple friendship”
Refugee Hope Partners seeks to form relationships with refugees and help them become self-sufficient
by Charissa Koh

Listen to WORLD Radio’s profile

ElShaddai Refugee Learning Centre in Klang, Malaysia

A reputation for excellence
Refugee parents seek out a school in Malaysia that teaches refugee children from 20 countries
by Angela Lu Fulton

Listen to WORLD Radio’s profile

Nominees for future Hope Awards

For consideration in next year’s Hope Awards contest and thereafter, let Charissa Koh ( know about a Christian ministry to the poor you’re familiar with that relies not on government financing but on compassionate volunteers supervised by dedicated professionals. Please include a brief description of why a particular ministry impresses you and include its physical and website addresses.

Hope Awards directory

If you’re looking for ideas about something you could start in your own backyard, please see our listing of the organizations we profiled from 2006 to 2019, with their major focuses: addiction, babies, community, disabilities, education, family, gardening, homelessness, immigration, jobs, legal needs, medical, prison, repair work, sex (anti-prostitution), transportation, and youth.

The directory also shows what it takes to start a poverty-fighting ministry: a license, a specific skill (such as auto repair), experience (such as that a mother gains), or neighborliness (a simple desire to invest time in helping others).