Helping African Children
If you are a traveller passionate about Africa you will probably by now have experienced safaris, big game, birds, paradise-like islands and much more... but this is not all that Africa is about.
Africa is a continent of unmatchable beauty and wildness, but at the same time is a continent that needs help to improve the level of industrialisation, structures and social services. Even when water and food are abundant (and this is not always true for all the countries in Africa), this is not enough, especially when talking about children and all their needs for assistance and education.
Fortunately in recent years more and more organisations helping children are offering support in Africa. Some of them are local charities receiving international funds, others are large international charities operating in several countries. Their activities include providing accommodation and education to children, especially orphans, social work within families and local communities and projects to allow children to build up their future.
People all over the world can support them in several ways. Some of the charities, for example, accept international payments to support/adopt one child. People (who become distant foster parents) will send a monthly payment for the child. The charity will send updates on the child and his progress at school and in life and will facilitate when possible the distant foster parents to come and meet the child.
Another way to help children is through volunteer work. People can work for the communities for between just few hours to several months, maybe simply teaching an English class for half a day or entertaining the children with a story about their work or their country. Everyone is skilled enough to help. Volunteers can teach, do office workers and public relations, nurse the children or help with the computer. There are possibilities enough to accommodate anyone wanting to contribute. Whatever you do, you can help a charity.
Among the many international associations and the big local charities, in my time in Kampala as coordinator of projects in sustainable tourism for AfricAdventure I got to know two amazing yet little known charities: Sanyu Babies' Home and Kin Initiative. I met them by some unusual and strange coincidence. I was searching on the Internet for charities that could meet the criteria for our projects and after hours wasting time, someone just came to the office and told me that no more than 100 metres away there was this charity. You can imagine my surprise.
Sanyu Babies' Home provides medical care, education and a home for abandoned children. Children, from only few hours old up to two years old are found sometimes left in garbage bins, latrines, parking places or just on the side of a road. Sanyu Babies' Home was founded in 1929 by a Missionary sister. Their aim was, and still is, to receive and care for dispossessed, parent-less and needy children, regardless of race, tribe or creed. Their mission is to give back happiness to children, providing a family-like atmosphere and trying to find foster parents.
Kin Initiative is much smaller than Sanyu Babies' Home, but somehow even more impressive. One day I was walking in Kampala, talking about charities with two friends of mine, very loudly in Italian, as Italians always do. Suddenly I was approached by a Ugandan person, Ben, who, talking in a perfect Italian told me that he studied in Italy and he now manages a charity in Kampala. Their key objective is to respond to needs of less fortunate children, living in difficult circumstances, orphans, neglected and homeless. Their mission is to provide them with spiritual, moral, medical and physical support. Kin Initiative is in such a basic condition that they do not have running water or electricity and cannot take more children because the cost of food is too high. Still, all people there seem happy and Ben, the founder, is one of the most genuine, generous and caring person I ever encountered in my life.
In the last few months I have come across many wonderful charities and organisations supporting children and those in need in other countries, some of which it is also possible to volunteer your time for. For more information, please see our Eco-projects.
Do you have an hour or a month of time to spare? Do you have a penny or ten thousand dollars to donate? If so, think about these children and the incredible people who make little dreams a great reality that should make everyone involved very proud.