Camp Sizanani Welcomes 140 New Campers
Training is underway as our vochellis (counselors) prepare for the next session of Camp Sizanani, opening on October 4th. 140 HIV-affected children will arrive in the Magaliesburg Mountains of South Africa this Saturday to participate in a life-changing 8 days of learning, growing, and fun. We thank you, our friends and supporters, for making it all possible. No one can express the power of Camp Sizanani better than the children who have experienced it, so we invite you to see and hear it directly from one of our campers in the video below.
Report from the Field: Summer Vochellis
Every year, a few South African Vochellis (camp counselors) have the opportunity to spend time in the U.S. at American summer camps. This year, 12 counselors made the trip. Three of them joined the GCA staff in Reston in June for Sizanani Family Fun Day before they joined their camp programs. (See June Drumbeat).
When the summer camp season came to a close, three vochellis, Lerato, Kutlwano, and Sifiso spent their last few days off in the United States exploring New York City and reflecting on their experiences. Kim Posthumus, a member of GCA’s staff, spent a few days with them and recorded some of their reflections.
This was Lerato’s second time visiting the US, in her 10-year tenure with Camp Sizanani. She expressed her sincere gratitude for the opportunity to visit again, “Both times have been awesome… You get to experience the culture that Americans have, which is different than ours. It is an awesome learning experience… I also learned that we are the same in many ways… We all feel close to each other through music and the things we do.” Those who have been to Camp Sizanani understand the connective power of music. It brings a sense of belonging to the program.
For Sifiso and Kutlwano, this was their first time visiting the United States and they had a great time. Sifiso explained why the experience was so valuable for him, “This was an opportunity to build myself up and learn about how to do things differently. I have learned a lot and gained a lot of new skills to take back with me to Camp Sizanani.”
It was a joy to hear the counselors speak so highly of their experience this summer. They all showed profound gratitude, and spoke about how they would use what they learned to improve upon their work at Camp Sizanani.
Lerato shared this message with the generous donors of Global Camps Africa, “Thank you Global Camps, you have been awesome. We hope we represented you well.”
New Youth Club Programs Underway!
Over the past few months, since we received the LinkedIn Innovation Grant in July, our staff has been working to build a new curriculum for the younger children who attend Youth Clubs year round. The program is specifically designed for children who are younger than 11 years old, and it addresses the key issues of personal health, self-confidence and HIV education in an age appropriate manner. This project has been the product of great collaboration between our South African and US based staff. We are pleased to announce that we launched the new program on September 13, 2014. Please stay tuned for more information in the coming months about how the program is going. We are all excited to be able to provide this important education and support to the younger children who attend our youth clubs. Parents have expressed the need, and we have been able to answer their call. Thanks again to those who have made this possible.
Global Campfire for World AIDS Day
Nov. 6th - Special Screening of 'How to Survive a Plague,' with honored guest, director and filmmaker, David France.
Dec. 1st - World AIDS Day Global Campfire. Stay tuned for more information.