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African Impact Foundation

Girl Group

16 Days of Activism

By News
Womens Group Livingstone

“According to UN Women, 46% of Zambian women will experience physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence during their lifetime. However, gender-based violence can also take emotional or financial expressions, none of which are usually highlighted.”

UN WomenUnited Nations

Written by: Franciska Reinholds

(Head Office Virtual Intern, 2021)

Today, December 10, marks the end of this year’s international campaign against gender-based violence. 16 days of activism recognizes that one of the biggest obstacles to achieving gender equality is the daily violence girls and women are facing worldwide. According to UN Women, 46% of Zambian women will experience physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence during their lifetime. However, gender-based violence can also take emotional or financial expressions, none of which are usually highlighted.

The Girl Impact program functions on six pillars. When combined, they become a holistic strategy to fighting gender inequality. At the centre are the girls. Many are initially exposed as a teenager and enter a long and vicious cycle which is often perpetuated by poverty. An important first step to break that cycle is to support girls’ education. Additionally, classes are held to discuss various topics related to their health, such as the issue of early pregnancy. However, sessions also target self-confidence to teach the girls the skill of speaking up for themselves and others.

“By raising awareness about inequalities and questioning gender stereotypes, boys become allies for the cause. “

Another beneficiary of the Girl Impact Program are the women’s groups. Oftentimes women in Zambia have little – if any – resources of their own, financially or socially. Therefore, a heavy focus is on creating income generating opportunities for women. Along the way, sessions also tackle many of the social issues facing their local communities. As a result, the women become resilient leaders, which allows them to be good role models for the girls around them.

The boys are the third and final beneficiary. As brothers, future husbands and fathers, it’s critical to involve them. By raising awareness about inequalities and questioning gender stereotypes, boys become allies for the cause. Through their decision-making, boys – as they grow into young men – can contribute to the safety of girls, both in public and private spaces.

Boys Club

With these six pillars (education, health, early pregnancy, self-confidence, income generation and safety) the Girl Impact Program uplifts girls, boys and women to prevent and address the different forms of gender-based violence. December 10 marks the end of 16 days of activism. But it is also International Human Rights Day. A good reminder that violence against girls and women is not feminist issue, but a human rights issue. As such, we need to fight it collectively.

Find out more about our Girl Impact Program, here

Disrupt the cycle of poverty with African Impact Foundation 

Sponsor a child

Supporting our Sponsor a Child Program

By News
Sponsor a Child

“ We were proud to hear that nearly all the parents noted that SAC has improved their child’s confidence and attitude to school.”

Carol ShikombeloSponsor a Child Coordinator

Written by: Rosie Dupont (Head Office Intern, Cape Town, South Africa, 2021)

Monitoring the impact of the Sponsor a Child (SAC) program is no mean feat. With just under 200 children in 34 different schools in Livingstone, keeping up with all our beneficiaries means our team is very busy. One of our main ways to do this is to visit each school to catch up with all of our students and their teachers to see how they’re doing, both academically and personally.

This helps us support the success of each student as well as keep our sponsors informed on the impact they are making. This process is also useful for us to identify any wider challenges that are impacting multiple students in the program.

Through this process, we had noticed that our students’ attendance since COVID-19 wasn’t as high as it was before the pandemic induced school closures. We recognize that this is an issue being seen around the world. To help combat this issue we decided to host a ‘parent and child event’ to bring students and their families together to address any underlying problems and dig up some motivation.

We held the event at the start of October at a sports complex in the local community. We were pleased to see a turnout with 56 children and 49 parents. After a group discussion led by our SAC Coordinator, Carol, we divided the parents away from the students and walked each group through assessment questionnaires.

“The majority of our students stated that the sponsorship has helped them improve their goals, improve their mental health and gain higher self-esteem.”

At the event we learnt that 85% of our students walk to school, and it takes 70% of our students an hour or more to get to school. Nearly half of the parents acknowledged that this long trek to school affects their child’s academic performance. Although gender equality is something that is a relatively new idea in the local context, the questionnaires highlighted to us that the majority of these parents are encouraging it in their homes through things like chore sharing and encouraging an education for girls.

Positively, all the parents agreed that an education is important for their child, and they will actively encourage and support the completion of school. We were proud to hear that nearly all the parents noted that SAC has improved their child’s confidence and attitude to school. Over 90% of the students themselves told us they feel confident in taking on leadership roles in their school and community. Additionally, the majority of our students stated that the sponsorship has helped them improve their goals, improve their mental health and gain higher self-esteem.

Sponsor a child
Sponsor a child

Overall, the event was successful with the Foundation gaining a better idea of the position of parents in relation to the sponsorships, as well as understanding some of the challenges our students may be facing. We are continuously looking for more ways to interact with the communities we work with and improve the impact of our projects, which we hope you enjoy hearing about as much as we enjoy sharing with you!

Find out more about our sponsor a child, here

Disrupt the cycle of poverty with African Impact Foundation 

Sponsor a Future

Sponsoring a Future

By News
Sponsor a future

“I think I never had enough funds to take myself to school, my parents didn’t have money to take me to school, but this organisation thought of my potential.”

FrancisSponsor a Future beneficary

Written by: Rosie Dupont (Head Office Intern, Cape Town, South Africa, 2021)

In Zambia, only 4% of young people that complete secondary school go on to higher education. In our long standing Sponsor a Child initiative we’re supporting young people through their school years, but with Sponsor a Future, we are now able to expand their opportunities after they finish school.

The other day I was grateful to meet Francis, a previous beneficiary for Sponsor a Child, and now part of the Sponsor a Future project, and sit down with him for a chat about his experiences. Livingstone is where Francis grew up and went to school, but he now resides about 7 hours away in Lusaka, where he is currently studying a degree in Clinical Engineering. Livingstone is the base for the Foundations’ Zambia projects, so it is my home also for the next couple of months. I’m lucky to have caught him- next week he will return to Lusaka to continue his first year of his studies, after the lockdown in Zambia had prevented the university from teaching for a couple of months. Today he’s popped into the Foundation office to show his report cards to the team before he goes back. He shows me the papers with his work, the content of which I have no chance of understanding, but what I do understand is the 85% and 95% scribbled on the top with red marker. He shrugs at my excitement that he’s doing so well, but he smiles at me proudly when I ask to take a picture of him with his scores.

Francis has been supported by the sponsorship program starting in grade 10, as his family were struggling to pay his school fees; “I think I never had enough funds to take myself to school, my parents didn’t have money to take me to school, but this organisation thought of my potential.” His teacher had heard about the program, and after realising Francis’ situation she brought him to the Foundations’ attention. He’s been on the sponsorship all the way through the rest of his secondary school, through college, and now university. About his funding, he says “I have no idea if I could have managed to go to the university without this Foundation, so I think it’s very useful”. Although Francis impressively earned himself a full scholarship for his university fees, the Foundation pays for his accommodation and other fees which makes it possible for him to attend.

“He shrugs at my excitement that he’s doing so well”

It’s not all easy though, Francis explains that he’s not used to this “new kind of online learning” and doing group work at university means sometimes he has to organise travel to meet his group which is tough. Also, for the first time Francis is living away from home, which comes with its own set of challenges – when I ask him about having to cook for himself, he laughs and says, “The first time it was something else, because I didn’t enjoy cooking… but we’re helping each other with my friend”. I ask him what his favourite part of going to university is, and he replies quickly with “watching movies”.

“Watching movies?!” I laugh, confused. I can’t imagine there’s many movies in clinical engineering. He explains, “Sometimes, when I’m done with school stuff, the best thing I can do is watch a movie then going around, because in Lusaka when you start going around off campus, you end up finding a bad situation. When I’m done with assignments then after that I watch movies”. Understanding now, I start to appreciate the mindset Francis has about staying out of trouble to excel in his studies. He’s currently watching a marvel series ‘The Gifted’, which I agree is a great escape.

Despite the challenges, and besides the movies, it’s clear Francis works hard and has chosen his course well, “it has been my dream to do my career, so I’m really enjoying it”. Which is important to him, so he can stay motivated – “my prayer was to go with the things that I like most, so I don’t disappoint the people who are paying for me, I really wanted to go with something that I really like”. He also has big dreams for the future – he wants to work in the medical field and become a doctor, which he thinks he will enjoy as he will be able to help people

Francis has just over three years left of his course in Lusaka, and I have no doubt he’s going to ace it. This year we have many students in Sponsor a Child finishing their secondary education and thinking about what the future holds for them.

Find out more about sponsoring a future, here

Disrupt the cycle of poverty with African Impact Foundation 

Travel intern blog

The Land of Inspiration

By News
Travel Intern, Zambia

“They ran an effective operation and it is so obvious they have their hearts and souls in these projects.”

Ronald TysonTravel Intern (2021)

Written by: Ronald Tyson ( Foundation Travel Intern, Livingstone, Zambia 2021)

Greetings, I’m RON, a recent MBA graduate residing in sunny Tampa Florida. I choose and came to The African Impact Foundation as an NGO Intern in Livingstone, Zambia because it is a field of interest to me. I researched several probable internships to apply for but AF’s almost universal online positive reviews and focused mission statement of educating and developing young people and the community development initiatives is what brought me to their front door.

Working within African Impact and the Foundation I got hands on involvement in community projects such as building schools and sustainable structures like constructing park benches out of plastic waste and bottles. Eco Friendly projects are practiced here.

Our TEAM engaged in several Livingstone Community development initiatives like planting sustainable gardens for nutritionist food, and educational involvement like teaching English literacy in local communities. This was truly a remarkable experience. I was also able to contribute business-level research and analysis on future endeavors.

On the internal operational side, I witnessed firsthand Team building exercises and development, resource allocation and coordination, and the daily impact our team efforts achieved within the communities we served and partnership with.

“We worked together.”.

The leadership and supporting staff are absolutely amazing, and they should be commended for creating a user-friendly environment of hospitality and alliance. We worked together. They ran an effective operation and it is so obvious they have their hearts and souls in these projects. They care about the communities they serve and within days of being around them, I guarantee you will too. We work diligently in the day and have social gatherings in the evening within the team. We play games, sing songs, celebrate our daily efforts, we dine together, laugh out loud, have movie nights, help each other, counsel each other, and by the end of it all, become friends.

Weekends are up for grabs as you are a free agent. This is the opportunity to explore the city. Not as a tourist (there are always touristy things to do) but as a temporary local. Walk the streets of the friendly town, greet and meet people, establish dialect. The natives are super friendly and welcome you open-heartedly. Get invited to churches, greet and meet foreigners now locals who have relocated to the city and set-up their own personal shops and businesses (like the Doctor from INDIA I meet that opened up an 8-building orphanage for young girls). Explore the shops, take in local cuisines, and definitely get to the museums.

After all was said and done, I achieved exactly what I set out to do and I would recommend this internship to anybody. Our base of operation was structured and professional maintained with the heart of GOLD our leaders and supporting staff added to the projects. The Foundations operations are inspiring, meaningful, and add value to all involved. Being on this continent, AFRICA has a reputation of enlightening people. It has both a spiritual and psychological influence on you. Being here builds passion and sympathy in your heart. Creates a drive to reach out, contribute, add value and inspire. Our team concluded that Africa brings out or develops these character traits in individuals who visit the land. As far as we could tell, no other land mass in the world can make this claim.

 I would have stayed longer if the VISA requirements at that time had not required me to depart. But just like THE TERMINATOR, my final words to my new friends were “I’ll be back” and those plans are already in progress.

Find out more and book your travel internship, here

Find our more about our impact, here

Disrupt the cycle of poverty with African Impact Foundation 

Mpho’s Chilli Sauce

By News
Chilli Sauce

“Through the programme I learnt that I can even forget working for someone else, and work for myself. I can be a boss of my own”

Mpho, Participant

Written by: Rosie Dupont, Foundation Intern (2021)

Mpho lives with his family, and they have a separately build room beside his house which they use for a variety of things- including marinading chillies. When I visit him for an interview, he walks me through to the room and starts to explain how the chillies are nearly ready to be purified and bottled into chilli sauce, prepared to be sold locally. This is Mphos’ new small business, put simply in his words; “my business is that I’m doing a chilli sauce”. Although just how small is questionable as the estimated amount of bottles of sauce these chillies will make is around 100.

Mpho is working closely with Johann, the project manager for Farmers of the Future, who has created this sauce recipe and has buyers ready to take the bottles once they are ready. A week after our interview I return to Mpho’s place with Johann, to watch him walk Mpho through how to make and bottle the sauce, a simple yet effective process resulting in four ‘practice’ bottles- which look incredibly professional for being made in a small backroom. Mpho beams with pride at the final result, which is why I feel slightly guilty that all of the bottles are then promptly bought off him by me and the current volunteers at the project. This was quickly made up for though by his excitement at receiving the first profits from his hard work- a truly heartwarming moment to experience.

“In the future, I wish to have my own brand, and have my own big farm”.

Mpho started the FotF programme while studying financial management at school and managed to study both simultaneously. The drive and enthusiasm he holds is apparent, and after we chat it’s obvious there’s no doubt from either of us that he will make something out of this business- “through the programme I learnt that I can even forget working for someone else, and work for myself. I can be a boss of my own”. And he’s not holding back, “in the future, I wish to have my own brand, and have my own big farm”.

He’s already explaining to me how he’s going to perfect his own sauce recipe (with different kinds of chillies) and create a name for himself through local advertising in order to gain his own customers. But first, he plans to grow his own chillies. Due to the time of year he graduated the training, it wasn’t possible for this round of sauce so he had to find someone to buy them off, which proved quite difficult. He says this was his biggest challenge, but he already owns land he will plant the chillies in once the season is right, so he’s hopeful that challenge is behind him.

It’s a familiar story now how apprehensive family and friends can be when the participants start the program as there aren’t any stipends for attending. So, it’s no surprise that this situation played out with Mphos’ family, especially as he explains they didn’t have faith that he would finish the programme. He definitely proved them wrong, and he describes that now, “after finishing the programme they are proud and more supportive”, even helping him with his chilli sauce sometimes.

When I ask if he would recommend the program to other people, he excitedly states that he already has. Although there are no stipends, he says he is explaining to his friends that “when going to do the programme, you must not think about money, no. This about the experience and the benefit you will get to the programme”. We start talking about any advice Mpho has for people starting their own business, and he focuses on positive thinking, and working hard. “Base your business on what you want to do, and even if you fail, wake up and do it again. So until you achieve it”.

After watching him make his first bottles of sauce, it’s clear to me that Mpho is following his own advice and doing something that excites him. At the end of the interview, Mpho shows his gratitude for the program by wholesomely adding a thank you to “the people, the ones who thought of starting the great learnership like this one, it was a great idea”.

Find our more about our Farmers of the Future program, here

Disrupt the cycle of poverty with African Impact Foundation 

Divine Chickens

Divine and his chickens

By News
Divine Chickens

“You know I love when I see them laying eggs, it excites me, it ignites my spirit, it makes my day.”

Divine, Trainer

Written by: Rosie Dupont, Foundation Intern (2021)

As Divine currently works at Nourish, where I have been staying, I have had the pleasure of getting to know him over the past few weeks. To introduce Divine in words is near impossible. His personality can be described as nothing less than larger than life- when he arrives every morning you will hear his laughter before you see him and his kindness, enthusiasm and passion has continued to inspire me throughout my stay here.

Divine was working in the garden at Nourish since before he was a participant in the program, holding workshops about permaculture and teaching the community about backyard gardens. When Farmers of the Future (FotF) started here, he jumped at the opportunity. He now has a small business owning chickens and selling organic eggs within his community, but that is not all- “they saw something in me, that I can also be a trainer”. Which doesn’t surprise me, as it doesn’t take very long to see the potential in Divine. Since graduating the program, he has been involved in the training of the most recent participants, which he’s very excited about (a phase which was repeated often- there is a lot here that excites him). Maybe because of this, I’m not sure there could be a better trainer or advocate for FotF. In his own words, “It’s a program that I’ve enjoyed so much and I so wish that it can continue and help other people because I have seen that it helped me, and there are people that it is going to help as I will be there monitoring them and assisting them”.

Feeding Chickens
Chicken farm

“no we don’t need money, we need knowledge… because if we can have money without knowledge the money will be useless”.

When I ask what the most useful part of the program was for him, he enthusiastically starts talking about all the business skills he learnt. Before the program, he had started a business but he describes how he wouldn’t record how much he spent on resources, or pay attention to how much he was selling his product for. “I didn’t even know whether the business was working, whether as people are buying I was getting a profit or if it’s a waste of time”, but after his training he is now handling his finances more effectively. He explains how a lot of businesses in his area fail due to lack of business skills, but now he has the knowledge to help, he provides mentoring to anyone he can find that is struggling with their business. “Even when you are not part of farmers of the future participant, but I can see you with a business, I want to try and intervene”.

To Divine, knowledge is key. When his friends and family were apprehensive about the program as there are no stipends for attending, Divine wasn’t deterred; “no we don’t need money, we need knowledge… because if we can have money without knowledge the money will be useless”. He is also a big advocate of patience, a trait which he attributes to his FotF training.

He has an analogy for this which he has explained to me often; “everything in life doesn’t come with a microwaved meal, if we are going to have noodles everyday then we are not going to be a good country”. This makes me laugh, as most of what Divine says does, but the lesson is a valuable one- “I’ve learnt that perseverance is a matter of success, and then we need to be patient in everything that we do, we need to work hard in order for something to be successful”.

Alongside being patient and seeing the value in knowledge, one of the main pieces of advice Divine has for anyone starting their own business is to love what they do. And to no surprise, Divine is very good at living by his own advice. “You know I love when I see them laying eggs, it excites me, it ignites my spirit, it makes my day”. Even before going to visit him for the interview, Divine insisted he took me to his house to meet his chickens. We walked into his ‘chicken room’ and he energetically picked one up and handed it to me, before taking pictures proudly. A similar series of events happened when I met his baby son, which I think says quite a lot.

Divine has dreams to expand his farm on a bigger plot of land, first to supply his eggs to his community and local bakeries, and then to big supermarkets and the lodges that surround this area. He says he wants 5000 chickens- which is a bit of a change from the 68 he currently has. But for now, although his business is small, the accomplishment is still great. “There’s a step that I’ve took. There’s a walk to freedom, I can see my freedom there, so that’s a big achievement to me”.

Find our more about our Farmers of the Future program, here

Disrupt the cycle of poverty with African Impact Foundation 

Terrence, Hydroponics, South Africa

Terrence, the Hydroponics Guy

By News
Terrence Internet Research

“I now describe myself as an eco-farmer… I am always on the internet, searching hydroponic things, how to do this, how to do that.”

Terrence, Participant

Written by: Rosie Dupont, Foundation Intern (2021)

Terrence graduated from the Farmers of the Future (FotF) programme in 2019. I met Terrence at his farm a week ago, and today I’m back to talk to him about his participation in the project. It is clear to me from the first time we meet that he is a confident, humorous person who is proud of his new business, which is hydroponic farming, and happy to show me around and explain how it all works. Hydroponics is growing crops purely in water, instead of the traditional farming method of planting them in soil. He explains to me that there are many challenges to traditional farming, including hard labour, soil degradation and pests. He jokes, “Hydroponics is for the lazy farmer”.

Terrence heard of FotF through a friend and was interested to join in order to expand his knowledge further than traditional farming, which is what he had been doing before the programme. He explained to me how time-consuming traditional farming could be, mentioning a time when after planting out his tomato plants he had to guard them so closely from the birds that he didn’t sleep until they were harvested. As we were talking, we were sitting in a building with a tin roof and wire fencing walls in which he had set up his hydroponic farm. In theory, this should have put an end to the dispute with the local wildlife. However, when I asked what challenges Terrence had faced since starting his new business, he started with comically saying “I was not aware that birds could enter inside this building!”. After losing some spinach plants he learnt quickly though, and thankfully the greenhouse is now (mostly) bird proof.

Hydroponics

“It’s very unique to me, because it’s the first time I met this type of farming”

As we talk I’m drawn into his enthusiasm for this type of farming, so it was no surprise when I asked what the highlights of the programme was for him, hydroponics made it onto the list; “I can say all the programmes from saving water, doing organic compost, bookkeeping, financial management, but the most one is hydroponic farming. It’s very unique to me, because it’s the first time I met this type of farming”.

He goes on to explain to me how much water he uses for the hydroponics system, and how he makes his own fertiliser to add to the water. Both water scarcity and expensive, chemical based fertilisers are prevalent challenges for traditional farmers, so when I asked about the most useful parts of the training programme, these two things came up high on the list.

Farmers of the Future

Hydroponics only uses around 50 litres of water every two weeks, which is very little compared to other forms of farming. Being able to make his own, organic fertiliser also sounds like a bit of a game changer. Made from chicken excrement from the chickens on his farm, he’s able to do this for little to no cost, and explains how he now sees the importance in eating organic foods for health reasons which he hadn’t considered before.

When I ask if he sees himself differently now that he’s completed the training and successfully started a business, I can see that the programme has helped Terrence build his brand, and give him confidence to be more independent, constantly researching how to improve; “I now describe myself as an eco-farmer… I am always on the internet, searching hydroponic things, how to do this, how to do this”. His dream is “to have a big hydroponic greenhouse, that’s my plan, to plant more more more, and grow it to a lot of people”. Importantly, he adds “So now I am just busy with my business plans”, before showing me an impressive document with detailed plans on how he’s going to achieve this dream. He’s jokingly keen to get me to invest in him.

As well as expanding his business, Terrence is also keen to educate others on this type of farming. He explains how there is a local market for it, proudly claiming when he first posted his hydroponics set up on his facebook page, he got over 2000 likes. On the opinion of his family and friends in this new business, he says; “some would say that I have time to play, but now after they see this, yoh! They are now interested”.

Eventually he wants to be visiting local schools to spread knowledge about hydroponics, and why farming is so important. He explains how little space and water hydroponics uses can make farming accessible to everyone; “everything we eat is from the soil, we cant live without food… All households have a small garden, big gardens, let us plant vegetables to eat”. 

 

Find our more about our Farmers of the Future program, here

Disrupt the cycle of poverty with African Impact Foundation 

Farmers of the Future

By News

“This year (2021), the programme celebrated five graduates who successfully completed the programme and are now starting their own small businesses.”

African Impact Foundation

Written by: Rosie Dupont, Foundation Intern (2021)

Farmers of the Future (FotF), based in rural South African communities in the Mpumalanga province, is an entrepreneur training program which uses agro-ecology and farming as a mechanism through which participants learn how to develop and run a small business. Originally run by African Impact, the Foundation took the reins during covid as African Impact went into hibernation. Since then, the programme has changed dramatically under the enthusiastic leadership of Johann, the Project Supervisor, towards a more business-orientated and sustainable direction.

As all successful programmes do, FotF are continuously evolving as more is learnt about the communities needs and how to deliver the training to best attract and retain participants. So, although the programme has been running since 2017, FotF as we know it now was launched in 2019 and despite the challenges of covid, has celebrated some major achievements since.

Chicken farm
Farming in South Africa

In the last census, Mpumalanga showed to have a 67% unemployment rate in youth aged 15-24 (Census, 2011)

Before we go on, it’s important to quickly cover why training programmes like this are so important for rural communities in South Africa. For the country as a whole, unemployment is a prevalent issue, especially for young people. In 2019, 27% of the population suffered unemployment, of which 63% are between the ages of 15-34 (Stats SA). But in rural areas this issue is even more pervasive, partly due to the huge lack of opportunities. In the last census, Mpumalanga showed to have a 67% unemployment rate in youth aged 15-24 (Census, 2011). FotF attempts to tackle this issue by working alongside local communities to design a programme to provide young people with training to gain practical, applicable skills and the capacity to potentially create their own opportunities.

Chilli sauce South Africa

Keeping this in mind, the FotF training programme now consists of three phases, the first two of which are 3 months long, and the third 6 months. Phase 1 focuses on business training, covering basic business concepts and agro-ecology training. Phase 2 acts as a business incubator, including hydroponics training, product development and income generation. Once Phase 3 commences the participants are ready to focus on business management and starting up their business with a kickstart loan from the Foundation. After the end of the programme, FotF remains actively involved in supporting and mentoring the graduates once their business is started.

This year (2021), the programme celebrated eight graduates who successfully completed the programme and are now starting their own small businesses, with five more to come in the next three months!  If you want to learn more about the participants and their stories, follow us on our social media.

Find our more about our Farmers of the Future program, here

Disrupt the cycle of poverty with African Impact Foundation 

African Impact Foundation Intern

My Internship with African Impact Foundation

By News
Written by: Zoé Champel, Foundation Intern

Hello there! I am Zoé Champel, I was a fundraising intern at the African Impact Foundation (AIF) for almost five months, that went way too fast (!!!) and I am here to tell you how great my experience was.

The internship was in two parts: one on the ground (with the African Impact) in the Greater Kruger area and the other in the AIF head office in Cape Town. Both were different but as enriching and fulfilling in terms of relationships, knowledge, social impact, etc.

The volunteer experience was a total escape, it was life changing.

In Kruger, I was surrounded by a team and other volunteers, we were living together 24/7, so you get a special connection with people. The team was very supportive (same in Cape Town) and always encouraging regarding my personal projects. The volunteer experience was a total escape, it was life changing. Going almost every day in the wild reserves and in the local communities is a privilege and a chance that I am so grateful I had! When you are on the ground, you get to see the real impact you are making, and there is nothing more rewarding than that.

Next thing I know, I take the bus to go to Johannesburg and fly to Cape Town. And here I start a more common life in this awesome city. Indeed, Cape Town is a rich city, where you get everything you need, all in one place.

I couldn’t feel more welcome than I was on my first day at work. I got to meet everyone in the office and to settle down a little before getting into the real job. I was given a clear program to follow during the internship mentioning that I could take the liberty to develop my own projects in order to help with the fundraising.

The team would thank me every time I would do a good job, which was so encouraging. The communication within the team is smooth and you get to feel comfortable immediately. My ideas were either approved or I was helped in develop them into better ones.

This environment was perfect for me to discover the professional world, who I was and who I wanted to become in this world.

I am extremely grateful for this whole experience and AIF was there all the way to make it even better. Thank you for everything!

If you would like to find out more about our Internships click here

Enrichment trip to the Norval Foundation

Enrichment trip to the Norval Foundation

By News
Written by: Efrance Karungi African Impact volunteer

On the first sight of the Norval Foundation Museum, I had the impression that this was a place for the fancy ‘artsy’ people that knew all the nitty-gritty about art pieces and can read the emotions in paintings or sculptures. I am not one of those people and I did not think the children or grandmothers from GAPA were either.

After waiting for over 30 minutes, the bus finally pulled up with 25 seven and eight-year-old children and 12 grannies. Everyone filled with excitement on arrival, shouting, waving, and some staring wide-eyed at the beautiful museum building. As I stepped out of the bus, I contemplated the benefits the kids would get from this trip. I knew the previous GAPA trip to Robben Island was highly informative and part of their history, therefore closer to their hearts.

Naturally, the kids were energized by the new environment and ran towards the building, ready to embark on a new adventure – or maybe because they knew it was snack time. As the guide started her introduction speech on the dos, don’ts, and other rules, half the kids were looking into the bags of chips to make sure they hadn’t left any barbeque flavoured chip uneaten and any sip of juice undrunk.

After snack time, the kids ran to hold the hand of the first volunteer they could find in their teams for the gallery tour. This got me thinking about the small home environments I saw in Khayelitsha – some were made from make-shift materials, lacking everyday comforts that I/we often take for granted.

The Norval Museum is a grand volume of space that these children now find themselves exploring.

African Impact volunteer visits to GAPA are designed by the Foundation, and they must be the building blocks of trust that were apparent to me. This is especially significant considering many of these children could be facing neglect or abuse.

Despite this, the children are extremely confident. They introduced themselves, asked personal questions, and started conversations with volunteers they had never interacted with before. The grannies were mostly intrigued by the foldable chairs they could carry around the gallery and use whenever they pleased.

On my team was a little boy, Joseph (not his real name), whose face was filled with curiosity and utter joy at the sight of each piece of art. He seemed to be stunned by what he was seeing.

The first art piece we approached was a huge sculpture by William Kentridge which was steel moulded into a beautiful piece. Several of the kids tried to touch this piece because they didn’t understand how something this big and beautiful was made from a hard material like metal.

Joseph tapped my hand and whispered, “This is very big but very beautiful. I like it very much, but wasn’t it hard to shape and cut?”

Indy, one of the other volunteers, overheard his question and answered, “The best work can come from the hardest materials.”

Joseph paused for a second as though he needed to process the depth of this statement.

As we continued the journey through the museum, the kids were drawn to the loud drumming in one of the rooms. Little did they know this was an extraordinary work of art that opened a world of inquisitiveness.

The kids went crazy, dancing, singing, and moving to music made by the drums. Their songs rhymed to the beats, becoming part of the performance art. At this point, the grannies knew this was not about to end so they whipped out their foldable chairs and took a seat while sipping juice from the complimentary juice boxes they got at the entrance.

(Why Should I Hesitate, William Kentridge)

20 minutes later, they finally calmed down and sat down ready and eager to learn why there was no drummer and how it works. As the guide talked about the art, she occasionally asked the kids questions to keep them alert. Joseph shot his hand up every chance he had.

As we walked out of this room, he turned to me and said, “Can I make something like this when I grow up?”

“Do you like art?”

“Very much,” he responded.

“Joseph, you can do anything you set your mind to.”

His little face lit up, and for the next hour, he admired each art piece and talked about how he wants to have work displayed in a big building for everyone to see when he gets older.

When I walked into this gallery, I did not think the artworks would have an impact on the kids’ lives, but I learned that it can take a gallery like this to show kids that their passions can lead to something so magnificent.

These kids taught me that your past does not define your future and that something beautiful can come from trauma and struggle. The light in Joseph’s eyes may lead him to a brighter future because he is ready to make the world his canvas.

Initially I wasn’t sure how my short visit was going to help; however, this internship experience has opened my eyes to what a long-lasting and positive effect the projects can have on a child.

I realized that my visit is part of a well-constructed puzzle that has a ripple effect not only on the children but on me as well.

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