February 7th Marks National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a day set aside to advocate for HIV/AIDS education, testing, involvement, and treatment for African Americans in the United States.

African Americans account for 14% of the US population, but fully 44% of new cases of HIV infection, making the African American community the most at-risk population in the country. The rate of new HIV infection among black women in America is more than 15 times higher than among white women. As a result, children of African American women are more likely to become HIV positive through mother-to-child transmission of the virus. In fact, in 2005, 66% of the people living with HIV who had contracted it from their mothers were African American. The global health community has made great strides toward protecting children from HIV infection around the world, and we must continue our work here at home.

Global Camps Africa joins its HIV-prevention and education colleagues around the United States to encourage all individuals, especially those at high risk, to get tested for HIV and know their status. To find your local testing facility visit www.hivtest.org.

Information regarding the impact of HIV/AIDS on African Americans can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/aa/PDF/aa.pdf.

All statistics courtesy of the CDC

Global Campfire event to support World AIDS Day

 RESTON VA-  In honor of World AIDS Day on December 1, a local non-profit organization, Global Camps Africa (GCA), will host an event in Reston, Virginia.

Through high-impact camp experiences and follow-up programs, GCA provides HIV education and life skills to HIV-affected children in South Africa. Using the power of camp as its vehicle, GCA delivers these services to the under-served and at-risk population of orphans and vulnerable children from some of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the HIV epidemic in South Africa.

In keeping with the camp tradition, the World AIDS Day event, called Global Campfire 2011, will feature music, singing, and poetry readings.  The campfire will take place at Lake Fairfax Park, Campsite G1, from 6:00 until 8:00 PM and will be open to the public.  Global Camps Africa will also be streaming the Global Campfire event live on its web site so that people all over the world can participate virtually.

“We invite everyone to join us at Global Campfire to remember the 30 million people who have died of AIDS-related illness since 1981, and to bring attention to the continuing need for prevention, care, and treatment for HIV-affected youth around the world,” said Emily Crowder, Global Camps Africa’s Executive Director.

The theme for World AIDS Day 2011 is “Getting to Zero,” which refers to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) strategy to reduce the number of new HIV infections to zero by 2015.  Global Camps Africa’s efforts to reach HIV-affected youth in South Africa with messages about prevention and empowerment are one important component of that strategy.

Phil Lilienthal, Founder and President of GCA, described the goal of the Global Campfire event, saying,“We want our campfire to bring the community who attend closer together to feel the strength of what a group can bring to a problem: even one as immense as HIV/AIDS.”

For further information, please contact Jessica Johnson (jessica.johnson@globalcampsafrica.org).

Emily Crowder Announced New Executive Director

On June 1st, 2011, Ms. Emily Crowder was announced Executive Director of Reston-based nonprofit Global Camps Africa.

Emily Crowder will join Mr. Phil Lilienthal, who will continue as President/CEO. Ms. Crowder has been working with GCA since 2010. In her new role as Executive Director, she will be responsible for organizational and Board development, operational management, and the strategic coordination of fundraising and communications activities.

Prior to joining GCA, Emily Crowder served as the Executive Team Lead at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, where she facilitated the organization’s global strategic planning efforts, co-produced a documentary film about the Foundation’s work, and managed the Executive Office of the President and CEO. She received her graduate degree in global health policy in 2011.

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 camp and day camp experiences and continuing education. Thousands of vulnerable South African children participate in camp and Kids Clubs activities each year through generous contributions from donors from around the globe. Learn more about Global Camps Africa at www.GlobalCampsAfrica.org

National HIV Testing Awareness Day

In honor of National HIV Testing Day, Global Camps Africa urges all Americans to get tested.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) approximately one out of every five Americans living with HIV are unaware of their status. HIV testing is a critical step in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, a disease which claims upwards of 2.8 million lives worldwide each year. To find a test center nearest you, visit HIVtest.org, call 1-800-CDC-INFO, or text your zip code to KNOWIT (566948).

With knowledge comes power: once HIV is diagnosed, medicine and proactive treatment can postpone its progression, and people living with HIV can lead longer, healthier lives.

Whether on a local, national, or global scale, education about HIV/AIDS and its prevention is a crucial step towards its eradication. From raising awareness about testing in the U.S. to teaching young children in Africa the basics of the disease, it is necessary for all of us to know about HIV/AIDS so that we can join together in the fight against it. Global Camps Africa is working to foster this mindset in the most vulnerable young people of South Africa through a residential camp which incorporates HIV/AIDS education as well as life skills and support.

Please join us on this important day to work towards empowering everyone, from Americans to South Africans, adults to 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 camp and day camp experiences and continuing education. Thousands of vulnerable South African children participate in camp and Kids Clubs activities each year through generous contributions from donors from around the globe. Learn more about Global Camps Africa at www.GlobalCampsAfrica.org

Team Up for World Cup Soccer and Global Camps Africa

New York City – The much anticipated FIFA World Cup Soccer match in South Africa between the U.S and England will be televised at a viewing party Saturday, June 12 to benefit Global Camps Africa and children affected by HIV/AIDS. The event will be held from noon to 5 p.m.at Vintage Irving/Side Bar located at 15th and Irving Pl., Union Square, NYC. Special guest, Rima Fakih, Miss USA, is scheduled to appear prior to the start of the match.

This matchup is the first time the U.S. has faced England in a World Cup since a famous upset 60 years ago when the United States, against all odds, defeated England 1–0 in what has been named the “Miracle on Grass”. The game and the U.S. team were profiled in the book “The Game of Their Lives” by Geoffrey Douglas, which was later made into a film. At the time, England considered itself the “King of Football”; the odds were 3–1 the English would win the World Cup, and 500–1 for the U.S.

Proceeds from the benefit will support Global Camps Africa (GCA), a U.S. based nonprofit that provides a unique camp experience and ongoing support for children in South Africa affected by HIV/AIDS. The camps, which serve thousands of children, are part education, part HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, and part crucial life skills all wrapped up in a spirit of fun and camaraderie. Three 9-day camps are held each year. Boys’ and girls’ camps alternate, bringing together 135 children each session. The children are from 11-16 years of age and largely from the Soweto area of Johannesburg. Follow-up support is provided at bi-weekly Kids Clubs in Soweto where up to one thousand children show up each Saturday that Kids Clubs are held.

In anticipation of the impact of the World Cup, this past April GCA presented training near Pretoria to nearly 200 representatives of 65 South African NGO’s to prepare them to provide camps during the World Cup when many schools in South Africa will close.

The viewing party will include 2-for1 drinks, big screen viewing of the match and a silent auction including autographed soccer merchandise, tickets to New York Red Bulls matches and vouchers to fine dining in New York City along with a number of other items.

Tickets to the pre-game gourmet brunch and viewing party from noon to 5 p.m. are $100 VIP (which includes a special gift) and $75 General Admission. Tickets to the viewing party from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. are $40 through June 11 and $50 at the door. Space is limited so advance ticket purchase online at http://globalcampsafrica.eventbrite.com is encouraged.

American-Style Camps Teach Life-Changing HIV/AIDS Lessons During World Cup

JOHANNESBURG, South AfricaJune 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — While all eyes are on the World Cup in South Africa, local NGOs caution that school closings, influx of tourists, and relaxation of border controls leave children susceptible to exploitation, petty crime, prostitution, and drug dealing. South Africa is already riddled with one of the highest prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS. But a unique collaboration of Africans and Americans is tackling the problem.

Camps for youth in Africa to teach life skills have grown in popularity. Global Camps Africa (GCA) was founded in 2004 as an HIV/AIDS prevention/education program by Phil Lilienthal, a Virginia attorney who ran Camp Winnebago in Maine for 30 years. Six years and 33 camps later, GCA has reached more than 4,200 children inSouth Africa.

In partnership with HIVSA, a South African-based NGO, GCA holds residential camps and bi-weekly Kids Clubs each year for children aged 11-16 years mostly from Soweto. Traditional recreational activities of a U.S. camp are combined with HIV/AIDS awareness, Voluntary Counseling and Testing, and life skills.

In April 2010, GCA shared its model through training funded by USAID/PACT to 65 South African NGOs.

Mr. Lilienthal notes, “Camp is a profound educational tool to change children’s lives in a way that schools inSouth Africa have not been able to do.”

According to UNAIDS, Sub-Saharan Africa continues to have the world’s largest population of people living with HIV. In South Africa, 18% of the population are infected compared to an estimated 23% in neighboring Kingdom of Lesotho.

Reaching across African borders, GCA worked with the Office of the First Lady of Lesotho and the International Association of Applied Psychology, a UN-accredited NGO, and US Doctors for Africa to hold a “Girls Empowerment Camp” before the World Cup for forty school drop-out females.

Dr. Judy Kuriansky, internationally noted clinical psychologist, IAAP NGO representative to the UN, and faculty member of Columbia University Teachers College, and IAAP team member Mary O’Neill Berry, partnered in implementing and evaluating the program.

Says Kuriansky, “The camp was powerful in teaching the girls HIV risk reduction behaviors and income generating activities crucial to resist being seduced into ‘transactional sex’ for money for food, clothes or school.”

The First Lady of Lesotho, Mrs. Mathato Mosisili, lauded the South African and Sesothan teams, and the Americans’ expertise as a promising approach to reduce the serious shared health problem.