Report on Ubuntu Conference Call

October 8, 2013

Facilitator:  Philip Lilienthal, President & Founder of Global Camps Africa (GCA) 

Guests: Diana and Brian Anderson from Afrika Tikkun (AT)

AT Logo.jpg

 Phil greeted participants, told about our history with AT and about a new opportunity for GCA.

New opportunity:

We’re excited that we’ve been invited to give training for USAID partners in South Africa who work with children and want to learn about an intentional camp program. We offered this training in 2010 and have been invited to do it again.  We’ve made arrangements with the same excellent trainer who conducted the 2010 training, Michael Brandwein, and have scheduled the session for November 19-23.

Partnership with Afrika Tikkun:

GCA began working with Afrika Tikkun in 2004 when their founder invited us to give a training for the caregivers in one of their centers.  We then gave a camp training in 2011 and worked with their staff to provide a day camp in Diepsloot Township.  We collaborated on another day camp in June/July 2013 for 175 young people.  We are very happy with this partnership and would like to be involved with more organizations to make their child and youth programs more productive and effective.

Introduction of speakers:

Diana and Brian Anderson are the US representatives for Afrika Tikkun, primarily responsible for fundraising.  

Diana spoke first:

She started by saying how happy they are with the work that Global Camps Africa is doing in South Africa and then told about her background. 

She has worked in marketing and development in the United States at Macy’s, a private school and other organizations. 

Now she has reached a point in life where she wants to give back to her home country.  She met Berte Lubner, the founder of Afrika Tikkun when visiting South Africa several years ago.  She agreed to take the job for six months and, eight years later, she is still working with AT. 

Since that time she has seen Afrika Tikkun develop into an organization with six community Centers of Excellence providing employment and services to those in need.  The organization has grown 40% since 2011.   

Afrika Tikkun was founded in 1994 when a Jewish group asked Nelson Mandela what they could do to help South Africa.  “Look after my people,” he replied.  “We can’t look after them all,” they said, “but we can look after some of them.”  Thus began the Centers of Excellence, which have since provided essential services to 17,000 individuals.

These centers provide Early Childhood Development Centers for children to age 7, after school facilities for teens, nutrition and security services serving 500 meals each day, primary health care, family support services, enterprise and skills development, and programs for children with disabilities.  The new slogan of Afrika Tikkun is “Cradle to Career.”  They seek to identify orphans and vulnerable children in the community, enroll them in the early childhood program, and keep them in the program “from cradle to career.”

Diana is very pleased with the partnership between Afrika Tikkun and Global Camps Africa and the valuable information that their children and staff learn from the Camp Sizanani program.  She closed by mentioning several things that impress her about our program:

The fact that we bring the program to the kids in their home communities through the Youth Clubs

Our Monitoring and Evaluation Study that examines the program to make sure we are teaching the right lessons. 

Our goal of partnering with other organizations to share our expertise and bring the program to as many children as possible.

Brian spoke next:

Brian became involved with Afrika Tikkun after retirement.  He talked about the organization’s involvement in the local community.

Much of their success, he feels, comes from the fact that they work with local leaders and employ people from the community rather than bringing in outsiders.  They give citizens the chance to give back to their community.  In fact, 70% of their employees have received services from AT. 

To provide those services, AT partners with more than 20 other organizations in the community to share their facilities, such as libraries and computer centers.

To accomplish their goal of supporting families and educating kids, they realized that they must help kids find jobs when they finish school.  Thus, they began a new program to create jobs and prepare their young clients to become entrepreneurs.  A microfinance program was started recently to support these young people to start their own businesses.

60% of Afrika Tikkun clients are female and 40% are male.  Most are Black or mixed race (referred to as “coloured” in South Africa).  Most are South African but some are from other countries.  70% are under 40 years of age.  40-45% are under 18.

A discussion among participants followed the presentation followed with the following highlights:

  • One participant was a volunteer at the Afrika Tikkun/Global Camps Africa day camp in 2011.  He commented that he was impressed with their focus on nutrition.  “The kids were having fun with it,” he said, “and learned that eating can be a fun and healthy aspect of life.”
  • Diana: AT emphasizes the nutrition program which plays a big role in the community.  They have garden projects in Diepsloot and Orange Farm so that participants can learn to grow vegetables, then cook and eat them. 
  • Phil:  When GCA builds our new permanent camp site we will be able to host other organizations for classes and projects like this.  Cooperating together, we can make it happen.  For example, Afrika Tikkun would have local contacts that might be able to give in-kind donations for the permanent camp. 
  • Diana likes that we have personal statements on our website from people who’ve been to camp, personal stories.  She is going to recommend that AT add that to their website.
  • Phil mentioned that we call the counselors at Camp Sizanani and Youth Club “vochellis,” a word that we made up.  Brian exclaimed that they have been using that term for years and he never realized that it came from Global Camps Africa.  Just one example of the influence that Global Camps Africa has had. 

The talk ended on a note stressing the importance of good organizations working together to get a greater result.