Empowering Children for an AIDS-free Tomorrow
Global Camps Africa changes the lives of South Africa’s vulnerable children and youth by providing HIV/AIDS prevention education and training through high-impact residential and day camp experiences and continuing education, equipping young people with the life skills that will support them in becoming safe and productive adults who have hope for the future.
Global Camps Africa was founded on a belief in the power of camp. Veteran U.S. camp owner Philip Lilienthal, brought together his belief in the transformational nature of camp and his passion for helping people around the globe to create a powerful force in the lives of South African children.
Lilienthal learned about camping first-hand as the owner and director of Camp Winnebago in Maine. Prior to taking over the camp, Lilienthal experienced the challenges and triumphs of Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. In 1966, he established Ethiopia’s first residential summer camp.
After 30 years of camping in the U.S., Lilienthal decided to draw on both experiences to pursue a new goal, to help children affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa.
GCA was founded in 2003 to create an enduring foundation and a prototype camp dedicated to changing attitudes and behaviors of South African children and youth about HIV/AIDS and their future. By the next year, Global Camps Africa had established its first residential camp program in South Africa, Camp Sizanani.
What began as belief in the power of camp has become a model for changing the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable children.
Located in a mountain area outside of Johannesburg, Camp Sizanani provides education, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention and crucial life skills all wrapped up in a spirit of fun and camaraderie. Multiple times a year, hundreds of children from some of South Africa’s poorest townships hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS crisis come together for several magical days at camp to learn, to laugh, and to love again.