Reachout to Africa is a Canadian registered charity based in Vancouver, R2A started in 2005 and is dedicated to assisting orphans and vulnerable children in southern Africa. It raises funds to support various programs, camps and staff for Mamkhulu.org, our partner in South Africa. In addition, Canadian volunteers work alongside local youth leaders on short and long term projects. The founder and CEO is Nick Short, a former South African now living in Vancouver.
Mamkhulu.org is a registered South African NGO (Section 21) which began in 2009 as the vision of 7 women from Canada and South Africa, to assist orphaned and vulnerable children and youth living in southern Africa, particularly in South Africa and Swaziland. The word ‘mamkhulu’ means ‘auntie’ in SiSwati, the local language of the area, and it speaks to the work of those women who care for these abandoned and vulnerable children. The voluntary COO is a Canadian, Heather Stephens, who was born and grew up in West Vancouver but has lived and worked in southern Africa for 38 years.
“Together we are changing the lives of orphans and vulnerable children and youth who are in distress, by giving them hope and a future.”
What we do:
We run a variety of programs for these children and youth including psychosocial support camps, school support and homework clubs, skills development, life skills training, sports and leadership training. There are also programs for street kids and teen moms which assist youth to return to and stay in school. Thousands of children and youth have been assisted through the programs. In 2019 we are working directly with approximately 900 children monthly. There is presently 45 youth who are involved as staff and volunteers many of who were vulnerable youth themselves.
2020 presented a very different situation to what we are accustomed to with the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic. Schools were closed, government departments and support services were difficult to access, mobility was severely restricted. We changed our focus on a dime. We turned to those disadvantaged children and youth without access to basic food and care and delivered food parcels and care products. With schools finally reopening we will resume Hope Clubs and our support services.
What we want to do:
Our goal is to make our NGO sustainable long-term through our recent purchase of Ekukhanyeni, a 200+ acre property near Nelspruit, South Africa. This property will provide cash flow from its businesses to support our current charitable programs and will allow us to expand and reach more children and youth. There are 2 existing successful businesses on the property. One is a 20 bed guest house, which we want to also use to train youth in the hospitality industry. The other business is a fully functioning camp ground facility with bunk houses for 120 kids, which we use part time for our camping program while also renting it out to third parties to generate business income. There is also significant potential to add new businesses on the property such as forestry and agriculture, bee keeping and fish farming, which in turn could feed a hydroponic vegetable production project.
Fundraising Goal of $1,200,000
In late 2016 we set a 5 year target of raising $1,200,000. In just over 2 years we have successfully raised sufficient donations and financing to acquire the Ekukhanyeni property in January 2017. The previous owners provided a 3 year bond which we are in the 3rd year of repayment. Our current year’s fundraising goal is to raise $250,000.00 to repay this bond and an additional $100,000.00 toward other financing and youth programs. Covid 19 has impacted our fundraising program and we seek new ways of generating financial support in the future.
We need your help
There are hundreds of children and youth who participate in our existing programs and thousands more who desperately need our help. Will you join us to give them hope and a bright future?
Ekukhanyeni - The Place of Light
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