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Justina’s Story: Attending The Yale Young African Scholars Program

By | News

Growing up, how many times did you complain about having to go to school? In the Western world, education is often taken for granted and sometimes seen as a chore.

Elsewhere in the world, to receive an education – even a basic one – is a right that some children have to fight for. They must overcome significant challenges just to attend school. Their grit and determination to learn serving as a lesson for us all.

One such student is Justina, who lives in a rural village in Livingstone, Zambia.

As the youngest child and only daughter in a family of seven, it was always going to be a struggle to afford to send her to secondary school. Justina’s family has faced their own challenges, both past and present. Money and food are often scarce, and Justina’s four brothers all work to help support the family. 

How Did African Impact Foundation Help Justina?

Our Sponsor a Child Program in Zambia works with underprivileged children by sponsoring their education and providing support.

The sponsorship money pays school fees for a year, a set of uniform and shoes, a bag, stationary, exercise books, and necessary textbooks. Throughout the year they can ask for additional funds for school trips, extra text books, etc. In addition, 29.5% of the sponsorship fees goes directly to the school’s fund to improve the quality of education for the sponsored children and the hundreds of other children who also attend the school.

Through the African Impact Foundation’s Sponsor a Child program, Justina received sponsorship from Sam Peisch and ZAMFUND.

Sponsorship has enabled Justina to attend and thrive at secondary school, with teachers regarding her as:

“a disciplined and hardworking person, in spite of her living in such a challenging environment.”

Education remains a privilege for many children in Zambia, with just 8% of youth completing secondary school. Facing barriers such as unaffordable school fees due to insufficient government funding, a lack of places in classrooms, and too few trained teachers; a child’s road to education is anything but simple. Our Sponsor a Child program has successfully facilitated the education of over 150 vulnerable students in Livingstone, removing the financial barriers to attending school with the support of sponsors from around the world.

Yale Young African Scholars Program

Justina’s story does not end here. Earlier this year she was accepted into the highly competitive Yale Young African Scholars program (YYAS) – a summer school course held in Ghana for high-achieving African students.

Justina’s acceptance into the program is a testament to her academic ability and commitment to her studies; an opportunity made possible not only through her sponsorship, but also her own personal drive to succeed and achieve her goals.

When asked what she hoped to gain from YYAS, Justina replied:

“I hope to become more courageous so that when I go to university, I will be able to stand in front of a crowd and express my opinions.”

Ronel Stevens, from the African Impact Founadtion, supported Justina through the application process and commented:

“As a chosen participant, Justina represents an extraordinary group of young women from across the African continent. She is a huge inspiration to her family, her community and women across the world.”

Learn More About The African Impact Foundation

The African Impact Foundation works to implement long-term, positive change in the lives of individuals, families and communities in Africa. Visit our website and our Global Giving donations site to learn more about our mission and how you can get involved.

If you would like to help Justina on her journey to attend YYAS, please donate at Virgin Money Giving’s website.

Non English Speakers: DON’T BE AFRAID!

By | News | No Comments

Salut, hola, hallo, hej, ciao, hoi, hei, g’day… You got it, if you’re reading this post in a country where English isn’t the official language, you might be interested.

First of all, let me introduce myself. I’m William (aka Touille), doing a three-month internship with the African Impact Foundation and my time here in Cape Town is sadly slowly coming to an end. Most importantly, I come from France, which means that I only have a scholar English level, I had never lived in an English-speaking environment before and believe me, this isn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

As I studied close to where I live I never had the opportunity to spend a lot of time away from home before coming here, which made me want to live an adventure like this one, to discover new environments, new people and live things that you wouldn’t even think about when you’re at home. All of this sounds really cool and is basically what volunteering or interning with African Impact is all about. But there was one big issue: the language barrier! A few months ago (it might be your case right now while you’re reading this) I was at home, wanting to go on this trip but afraid of going there on my own and not being able to keep up with conversations or struggling to interact with anyone else. I ended up deciding to throw myself into it, fly 9000 km away from home and now that I’ve been here for a month I can tell you that it certainly is one of the best decisions I’ve made so far. Here’s why.

“When I landed here my feelings were mixed between excitement, fatigue due to the long flight and anxiety realising that I was there, alone in a foreign country having to think twice about everything I say to find the right words.”

Even though all of this sounds really cool I have to admit that my first week was a little bit daunting. When I landed here my feelings were mixed between excitement, fatigue due to the long flight and anxiety realising that I was there, alone in a foreign country having to think twice about everything I say to find the right words. The feeling of being alone went away as soon as Kaylee and Bridget (two lovely staff members) picked me up from the airport and introduced me to the other volunteers and the staff members at the House. During this first week I was one of only 2 persons that didn’t speak English as a first language, and that’s where the daunting part comes in. You have to be aware that the first few days are difficult in term of getting used to hearing and speaking another language all the time. As an example, we went on welcome drinks in a bar on the first night and with all the people in there, the music playing, the fatigue etc keeping up with all conversations was complicated.

But thankfully for me and for you future volunteers/interns, this lasted only a couple of days. Once you get used to it, you realise that no one judges you, your accent or your mistakes (yes, you’ll do some and it’s perfectly fine) and that having all those native English speakers with you is a real asset to make you feel comfortable and confident, as they will help you if you’re struggling to speak or to understand something. Furthermore, living with all these lovely persons is a fantastic way to share beautiful moments, discover other cultures and create life-long memories with people coming from all around the world. And when it comes to interactions on projects, there will always be some other volunteers with you and a staff member to make sure that everything is going well.

Doing an internship was also part of my concerns as you’re more involved than the volunteers and you have to be able to understand everything that’s going on as much as being understood. By now you should be expecting what I’m about to say so yes, all the tasks that you’re being given are also part of everything that helps you enhancing your English level and having more confidence. The intern role implies amongst other things having to speak in front of others (don’t worry no one is expecting you to be Barack Obama and speak full of confidence in front of millions of people) for different reasons, which running a workshop on the foundation for the volunteers is part of. It can seem intimidating but the volunteers are people that you know and that once again won’t judge you for your speaking abilities. This workshop is actually a thing that I really enjoyed doing because not only being a good speaking training it’s also an opportunity for you to raise awareness about really important topics that the foundation is dealing with. One of my tasks was also to help with the organisation of the GAPA trip, which implies having to get in touch with different companies. This can also seem like an intimidating task when you’re not confident with your speaking capacities but the outcomes are only positive as you’re contributing to the organisation of a wonderful event while having every staff members and fellow interns (if you’re lucky enough to have a Team Intern in the House) helping you in those tasks.

To sum things up, after having spent nearly three months here I can tell you that my abilities to speak and understand English have increased a lot (although you Australians are still giving me a bloody hard time) and that you shouldn’t be afraid of it but look forward to it as an opportunity to excel in a foreign language. Doing this internship has been a way for me to gain more confidence in speaking English and not being ashamed of my accent or mistakes, as well as making an impact on concrete issues and making new friends from all over the world with whom I now share unforgettable memories. Once you’ll get there, don’t hesitate to take part in conversations and don’t be afraid to make mistakes or to ask someone to repeat; the language barrier will rise in front of your willingness to come and make your impact!

– William, African Impact Foundation Intern

5 Reasons Why Everyone Needs to Skydive

By | News

Hey everyone! I am Daniel Delgado, an intern for the African Impact Foundation (AIF). Cape Town is filled with so many weekend activities that can be done such as climbing Table Mountain to venturing out to the famous Boulders Beach penguins on the Peninsula. Despite these fun weekend trips, skydiving has by far been the best. I hope this helps you decide to take the leap of faith! Enjoy!

The Jump
My eyes looked down past my feet when I was outside and it felt unreal, I was soon hurdling towards earth at 120 mph. I could not breathe, I could not think, but just have fun as I risked my life in one of life’s most daring activities. If you ask me, someone who is deathly afraid of heights and death who will not even walk to the edge of a building because my hands would be sweating, jumping out of a plane at 9,000 feet has been one of the best moments in my life. Although it may sound cliché, life is too short to live with regrets and throughout events in the course of life, many things cans be drawn.

These are the 5 things skydiving taught me:

#1 – Stress Release: The game of life is filled with too much stress with the craziness of work, school, drama, etc. When you skydive, you freefall. Skydiving is there to make you feel FREE. When you jump out of that plane, your adrenaline is pumping at extreme levels, so leave everything behind for just a couple seconds. You don’t realize how peaceful the world can feel at 9,000 feet. So why not skydive? You can leave everything behind and once you land, start anew with two sighs of relief. The first sigh for the fact that the parachute opened and you landed; the second one, anew.

#2 – Facing Fears: My top fears involve two things: heights and death. These tall points scare me to the point of no return, but yet I went skydiving. People ask me all the time “You hate heights! Why’d you do it?” Despite my fears, the feeling of achievement of facing them is a win-win in my book. Even if you close your eyes, you can still say that you jumped out of a plane, and LIVED! That is already a step above most people in the world who don’t jump! If you can risk your life jumping at deathly heights, you can sure as heck conquer tasks that may seem insurmountable in the real world. You can even conquer another fear! Hmmm… What’s next?

#3 – Bragging Rights: “YOU JUMPED OUT OF A PLANE!” exclaimed my parents. “HECK YEAH I DID!” I responded. The shock people get when someone like me who is afraid of heights skydiving is unreal. Nobody likes a bragger, but there are some cases, like jumping out of a plane, when it is ok to brag! Skydiving is a major achievement in life! Brag about it! In the future, brag about achievements like graduating with a PhD, marrying the love of your life, or traveling to every country in the world, you name it! It’s ok! You reached a milestone, share it! After all, there’s plenty who think about jumping, but don’t.

#4 – Confidence: Unfortunately, the world is filled with people who want to tear each other down and in a place where it is important to fight for yourself, confidence is a huge player. When you skydive, you entrust your life in the hands of the experienced jumper. If you ask me, that takes major confidence and once you land, you will feel it even more.

#5 – FLYING: ‘Nuff said.
Next time you complete a major achievement in your life, share about! Skydiving taught me only a couple of things, but when you’re in traveling you have to live your best life! There is so much to see in the world, so why not see it skydiving? You’ve seen the benefits! Take a friend with you and try it!

PS: Don’t wear shorts like I did

 

By Daniel Delgado – African Impact Foundation intern Cape Town

Gearing up for a brighter future

By | News

Easy access to education is something many of us take for granted. But, in Livingstone, Zambia, some children will walk more than 10km per day just to get to school.  Unsurprisingly, this severely impacts their education. Often, they are tired from the journey and need to take rest days.

Any drop in attendance severely impacts grades. The knock-on effect can be hugely detrimental – obtaining a quality education is the foundation to sustainably improving people´s lives and future.

Something as simple as a bike can make all the difference but, for many families, it is a luxury they cannot afford and the children’s education suffers.

Thankfully, there are people willing to make a difference to these children’s lives. One such group is Tour d´Afrique (TDA).

TDA bike riders are crossing Africa from north to south and, on April 3rd, reached Livingstone. It has been an epic adventure, which is only halfway through. Some started in Cairo, others joined along the way, the final destination is Cape Town.

The riders want to give back to the communities of the areas they pass through on their cycling tour. They also want to raise consciousness about bicycles as an alternative means of transport.

The TDA’s foundation – Global Cycling – alongside local partners and organizations, donates one bicycle for every full tour rider on the Tour d’Afrique. Here in Livingstone, they generously donated 20 bikes to African Impact Foundation (AIF).

The partnership with TDA is a perfect fit for AIF which works to implement long-term, positive change in the lives of individuals, families and communities in Africa.

This is the eighth time we have been honoured by the generosity of Tour d’Afrique and these kind donations have already shown a positive impact to the lives of previous recipients.

“With the help of these bicycles, pupils have reported early for school and are less tired, thereby concentrating on their school which has translated into improving academic performance,” a student at St. Rapheal´s told attendees at the bike presentation.

“These generous donations have helped alleviate the transport problem that we face as students due to the uneven distribution of schools in Livingstone…. However, with the generous bicycle donation from African Impact Foundation and Tour d´Afrique the situation has improved,” he added.

The courage and determination of the children here in Livingstone to make the long walk to school is testament to just how much they want to be educated and move towards a better future.

African Impact Foundation in Livingstone works closely with the communities to fulfil this need. As one of the main areas of our focus is education and enrichment, we are grateful for the Tour d´Afrique partnership and look forward to many more years working together to make a difference.

 

By Anna Nilsson – African Impact Foundation intern Livingstone

Experiencing Africa for the first time

By | News

Before coming to South Africa I didn’t really know what to expect. I thought that everything is going to be different to what I know but I couldn’t really imagine it.

Of course I googled “Kruger National Park” like a thousand times but the pictures I saw were always the same ones. Stunning five-star lodges with pools and incredible panorama views. Hordes of impressive animals such as elephants, zebras or lions in front of the most beautiful sundowns I have ever seen. It seemed to be the most fascinating place in the world and definitely the place I wanted to be.

I was very excited to go to South Africa and even more disappointed when I arrived. The great Safari Tours that I imagined myself to be on turned out to be long hours on an open vehicle, seeing only a few animals from the distance. The soils were dried out and all the plants and trees seemed to be more dead than alive. There was no green at all, only some thorny bushes and dry, sandy grounds. When going to the community projects, we passed very poor regions with trash lying around everywhere, as if trash cans don’t exist in this place. I somehow didn’t expect a country which is known for its beautiful and untouched nature and wildlife to be so dirty and careless about the environment. I somehow felt like I came to the wrong place and that all these amazing landscapes I had in my mind are far from reality.

The only thing that exceeded my expectations in a positive way was the accommodation. It is a very beautiful and clean lodge, surrounded by nature and wildlife reserves. Also the food is very delicious and the cleaning ladies make sure that the animals don’t feel too cosy in our rooms!

It took me about three weeks to realize how beautiful this place really is. I even started to love the previously described dirty small towns situated next to the streets and have to smile whenever we are in the car driving through the area. I am falling in love with this place every day a little bit more. It is not only about the animals you see, but also about the amazing people you meet and the experiences you make. Some other volunteers fell in love with this place the minute they arrived, but for me personally it took a little bit longer. When finally the first raindrops fell at the end of September, it seemed as if the area came back to life again. Everything has changed its colour from brownish into a bright saturated green, making this place even more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. Also the animals seemed to love the rain and we had the chance to be very close to them, creating incredible experiences and memories.

These animal encounters made me realize why it is so important to protect the wildlife here and why conservation education is crucial to the impact we can make. I also started to understand my role here as an intern a little bit better and know, at least somehow, what I am supposed to do within the next few months. The most important thing here that I had to learn the tough way is that it is important to ask whenever you have a question or are unsure about what you should do. They won’t come to you, but if you ask them they will try to help you as much as they can.

If there is an advice that I could give to anyone who is about to come to the Greater Kruger Area it would be this one: enjoy the time you have and don’t isolate yourself from the loving people that live here. Also take your time and step outside for a moment, go for a walk and breathe into the amazing surrounding whenever you feel like wanting to go home!

Let this place fill your heart with the joy and happiness that is around and I am sure you will fall in love sooner than you would imagine!

~ Melanie Frauenlob ~

African Impact Foundation Intern – read more about our internships. 

 

Book, Books and more books!

By | News

One of the United Nations Global Goals for sustainable development is to provide a Quality Education.

In Zululand we do this in a number of ways, with the main one being Reading Club.  Every week we have up to 100 children who come straight after school to have grammar lessons and to read to our volunteers.

The courage and determination of the children knows no bounds.

Helping our children to read and understand English will go a long way in ensuring they can complete their education and secure a good job, thus moving them towards the global goals of Quality Education, No Poverty and Building Sustainable Communities.

We are raising funds to allow us to purchase 40 dictionaries for these amazing children.  Learning how to use a dictionary and to expand their vocabulary will provide a great foundation for their future life.

We would also like to reward the children for their dedication, determination and confidence building by presenting them with their very own book at the end of the year.

The goal would be raise £1000.00 (ZAR 17,000/ USD 1300.00)

Get involved and Donate here – choose St Lucia and Educational Projects

 

My Best Summer

By | News

I worked for the Happy Africa Foundation and its partner African Impact in Moshi, Tanzania, and it was the best summer I’ve ever had. It was not only such fun and enjoyable experience, but also a great opportunity to learn about development and NGO management.

During my placement I lived in the volunteer house with others. Because we lived and spent so much time together, we got very close and became like a big family. Unlike government funded programmes like ICS, volunteers come from all over the world, which makes it so interesting to get to know other volunteers as they all have different cultures and stories. This is one of many things I miss about my time in Moshi. I had such a great time in just talking to other volunteers, sometimes sitting around a bonfire, watching the sky full of stars!

The weekend trips are also one of my highlights. They had a variety of trips and tours with reasonable price you can do over the weekends. I’ve done most of the tours, and they were all incredible. Watching a family of lions, crossing the border betweenTanzania and Kenya with a kayak, snorkelling in the turquoise blue ocean of Zanzibar, climbing Kilimanjaro, swimming in a hidden hotspring… and the list goes on.

The internship also offered me a great opportunity to deepen the understanding of development and NGO management. Working on the grass route level allowed me to observe how the community is changing, and how NGOs have been contributing towards its development. It was very interesting to learn how the team manages the projects, and being able to see how the projects are making impacts on the community even in a short term was amazing.

Being a part of the Happy Africa Foundation team was probably one of the most fruitful experiences I’ve had during the internship. With them, I was able to learn fundraising strategies. As fundraising is perhaps the most important element in the development and charity sector, having an opportunity to learn about it was incredible.

None of these experiences would have been great if it weren’t for the staff members of African Impact and the Happy Africa Foundation. They were always very friendly and supportive, which made it so much easier for me to adapt to the new environment and to understand my tasks. I couldn’t have asked for better people to work with.

Written by Shu, our Moshi intern for 3 months 

Life as an intern

By | News

I’ve officially been interning in Zanzibar for about 6 weeks now and still love it! The communities of Jambiani and Kizimkazi are incredibly welcoming and open, and continue to give me so much more than I could have imagined.

My first four weeks were spent working on the two main African Impact projects on the island. I taught geography and conservation classes at the Jambiani Educational Community Centre, as well as adult English classes in the afternoon. My students constantly surprised me with their work ethic and desire to learn. Some of them have been able to get jobs in the service industry this peak season because of the English skills they have learned with African Impact. This project you dive deep into the Jambiani community through daily connections with students and the local women’s group, the Kanga Ladies.

My second two weeks were spent on the Marine Conservation Project in Kizimkazi. This project focuses on creating a sustainable balance between the ocean and the local community through dolphin monitoring, Conservation Club, and ethical boat driver training workshops. The dolphin population in this area of the island along with increased tourism has created a dolphin tour industry that is damaging to marine life. Our workshops train drivers on how to ethically run a dolphin tour that lets them make a living while protecting and respecting the dolphins. Our Conservation Club is teaching younger students about the environment, conservation, and sustainability in Kizimkazi and Zanzibar with semester lessons like “Save our Seas” and “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” I absolutely love this project and the long-term impact it is going to have in the community. Plus, there aren’t many jobs that allows you to be on a boat every morning interacting with dolphins and coral reefs.

One of my goals for this internship is to improve in sharing my passion for conservation, the environment, and helping people with others. Experiencing both projects has allowed me to do this and therefore, helped me to perform my intern roles better. I can appropriately talk about both projects to volunteers with confidence and explain why they are so important using my own stories. Being a THAF intern has also opened my eyes to the non-profit sector and how important fundraising is to create a lasting impact. I am constantly learning about the business side of THAF and African Impact while interacting with the communities on the ground. I think this combination of environments is what makes this internship special.

Icing on top of the cake is that this island in general has been an amazing place to live. I have gone snorkeling, seen Zanzibar’s Red Colobus Monkey in Jozani Forest, swam with sea turtles in Nungwi, and plan to try kite surfing. I also get to walk outside onto a beach every day, learn Swahili with our security guard, and learn to cook local dishes with our chefs. These are memories that I know will last more than 12 weeks.

If you are interested in interning with an NGO, check out our page here. 

Written by our Happy Africa Zanzibar Intern Sarah 

Shiners Nursery School Says Thank you!

By | News

Shiner's Nursery Thank You

Our Moshi Shiner's Nursery School project is saying a big thank you to all the donors who generously gave towards building the emergency wall. #makingadifference #donateforgood #ecd African Impact – Moshi, Kilimanjaro

Posted by The Happy Africa Foundation on Thursday, July 6, 2017

Leopard Research Project, Greater Kruger

By | Conservation, News
Focused research on leopards through data collection assists with conservation solutions that protect species and individuals, and contributes to the health of the entire ecosystem.
Population of large carnivores are threatened and experiencing declines in numbers globally. Over a third of South Africa’s leopard habitat is found in just Limpopo province, yet 95% of that is outside of formally protected areas. Despite these issues, the majority of population and conservation-based research has occurred in protected areas. This has led to a lack of data or unreliable results to inform conservation practice.

It is vital that data collection is conducted on private land and that populations are studied in these areas to work towards evidence-based conservation practice. Ultimately, it is only through focused research in these areas that we can develop conservation solutions that will protect these species and individuals’ livelihoods, thus contributing to the health of entire ecosystems.

Through the camera traps bought and in use we are hoping to achieve:
– Leopard captures (photos collected on camera traps)
– Corridors monitored
– Density Studies completed
– Territorial/movement maps created for various predator species
– Snare sweeps completed

In the Greater Kruger Area, the Foundation liaise with multiple partners, both reserve and research, to maximise our data output and ensure that the conservation work we are undertaking with big cats and small species is beneficial and useful. The three main reserve partners, Buffaloland, Rietspruit and Balule, are essential areas to capture data, study specific animals and provide information to our research partners (INGWE, LiMF, Hyaena Specialist Group of the IUCN, EWT and Giraffe Conservation Foundation) to better assess distribution and abundance of their focal species.

  • 2017: We identified the great need of camera traps as a way for us to collect this crucial data in a non-invasive method and to study animals that are usually difficult to study under normal circumstances, such as highly elusive and/or nocturnal animals, especially leopards. The non-invasive camera traps negate the need for equipment such as radio collars and reduce the environmental impact of long game drives that would be necessary to obtain the same amount of data from one camera trap.
  • 2018: Funds were spent on maintaining the camera traps bought in 2017. Currently, we only have enough camera traps to cover a relatively large area of Buffaloland and a small area of Rietspruit.
  • 2019: Our aim is to increase the number of camera traps through an “Adopt a Camera Trap” programme to cover these missing areas and focus on Balule as it is open to Kruger National Park and has the potential for a large variety of species to be researched.