Growing Together this Holiday Season: A Letter from Phil

Dear Friends,

In Zulu, asikhulisane means “let’s grow together.”  That’s the name of our program for children who aren’t yet old enough to attend Camp Sizanani, but who live in the same heart-breaking circumstances as the youth who come to camp.  We started this program with the help of some seed funding from LinkedIn in response to a community need:  basic health education, life skills development, and a safe, supportive environment for the younger children of the townships around Johannesburg. 

That’s one of my favorite things about Global Camps Africa...we’re so close to the communities we serve that we can hear directly from them about what their children need to thrive, and we can respond with innovative new programs that directly address those needs.  From a seed of support, a flourishing program has taken root.  Over 1,000 children came to our Asikhulisane Clubs this year!  

One of those children was Mzwandile from the township of Orange Farm.  He started coming to the club in 2015 as an 11-year old, and this September (after turning 12) he was invited to Camp Sizanani.  Here’s what Mzwandile said about his experience:

"At camp, I loved the sports and learning about how exercise is important to stay healthy.  We also learned about different diseases in Life Skills.  I loved learning how to swim, and making new friends! ”
Mzwandile and his mom outside their home

Mzwandile and his mom outside their home

Mzwandile’s mom shared what she thinks about Global Camps Africa’s programs, and our impact on her son:

"He loves the club, and he enjoyed camp.  When he comes home from the club, he talks about the club and what they did.  It helps us connect about his life.  When he came home from camp, he was so proud of the certificate he earned there! ”

The children who start with us in the Asikhulisane program, then join us at camp, are the seeds of a beautiful future in South Africa and beyond.  With knowledge, empowerment, and a new vision for their lives, they are growing into the agents of change that will transform their communities.  Your support now will make this continued growth and change possible.  I see the change in the campers at Camp Sizanani. It is powerful and recognizable.  It moves their lives in a trajectory that will make them successful community members.  I’m so grateful for every dollar you choose to invest in their futures, because I know what they would be facing without your support:  hopelessness. 

I want us to continue to grow together...grow our impact, grow the opportunities for the vulnerable children of South Africa, and grow our sense of hope for the future...together.  Thank you for all you’ve done to plant and nurture these seeds of change.  

I hope you will consider continuing your support so that, together, we can reach more children like Mzwandile in 2017.

With gratitude and hope,

Phil Lilienthal, President & Founder