Excited chatter, a sea of smiling faces … the little ones are arriving home from school at midday knowing there is a hug and a meal waiting. This is Zwelkids Club, an after-school care facility – a home away from home for some 100 vulnerable children from the rural community of Zwelisha outside White River, South Africa – just a stone’s throw away from the magnificent Kruger National Park.
Why this initiative you may ask? Originally a feeding scheme, it was clear the need went far deeper than just physical nourishment. Under the guidance of Ethne Cameron, a vision of holistic care for children in Zwelisha impacted by AIDS, coming from child-headed households, became a reality in the form of the Zwelkids Club. Aside from the practicalities of food and clothing, the Zwelkids are exposed to reading, games and homework support, with even the opportunity to play soccer or be part of a cycling club. Most importantly, there is lots of love and dedication from Collen and Gugu who run the project, with assistance from Ethne on the side.
The positive impact of all this is tangible (notably seen in the children’s school results) and this programme is unquestionably a force for genuine, lasting change for the children, as well as the broader community. It instils in the children a sense of dignity, each being able to develop according to their ability rather than hampered by circumstances beyond their control. And that is why we feel so passionate and proud to be supporting this project.
What is needed? There is some monetary aid from the local community, and limited overseas assistance, but the reality is that it needs to be self-sustaining to make economic sense and to foster longevity. This is where you can get involved. African Avenue has committed to a donation policy whereby if you choose to make a monetary contribution to Zwelkids, we will equally match that amount ourselves.
We invite you to partner with us on this project, and help give your travel a meaning beyond just the journey of discovery.
See the ZwelKids Club Facebook Page.