Finding Our Focus
We just returned from two months in Cape Town, South Africa, where we have been working with our current partners and looking for new partners who have needs which match our mission.
Acacia Global has determined that our four programmatic priorities are: Basic Human Needs, Education, Business Development and Leadership. Our work in each area this year has addressed immediate needs and contributed to long-term, systemic change.
We recognize that children can’t excel in school if their bellies are empty, and parents can’t care for themselves and their families if their illness goes without medical treatment. We remain committed to providing food for people like Lydia and her son, Neo, who struggle with several life-threatening illnesses. We continue to provide emergency medical aid to people like seventy-two-year old Mary, whose need for dental care was preventing her from eating.
Education remains one of the best roads out of poverty. Acacia Global provided a scholarship to a 10th grade girl whose life will have few options if she doesn’t graduate from high school. We gave supplies to a school outside of Cape Town that lacked the basic items children need to learn. And we launched a new program that will ensure that three adults, who otherwise would have had to drop out of school, will learn a trade and receive certification from MSC (Mind – Skill – Character) Business College.
We continue to partner with Hope Initiatives (HISA) outside Windhoek, Namibia by providing funding to allow more children to enroll in the kindergarten and bridging school classes.
A good education is what allowed Bheki Kunene to launch the first graphic design company in the township of Guguletu, South Africa. Not having the capital to keep up with technology was preventing him from growing his business. Bheki’s company, MindTrix, received Acacia Global’s first micro loan, which will allow him to purchase computer equipment that will result in job creation and make Bheki’s company more competitive. To receive a micro loan, Bheki presented a detailed business plan that includes a schedule of repayment over the course of three years. His repayment will allow Acacia Global to identify other entrepreneurs who just need a little encouragement to thrive.
Investing in education and business development addresses systemic change. So does investing in leadership.
South Africa, as evidenced by the late President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has never been at a loss for great leaders. Grooming the next generation of community leaders and preventing them from burning out in the face of unrelenting issues like poverty, disease and violence, however, is a challenge that is often overlooked. On Human Rights Day, December 10th, Acacia Global will present our inaugural “Global Leadership Award” to Mandla Majola of South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign. This annual award comes with a stipend that will help to alleviate the stress and burden that comes with leadership and will give the recipient additional support to ensure they remain engaged in transforming their communities. The community of Khayelitsha agreed that there was no one more deserving of this award than Mandla Majola.
Look for upcoming blogs which will be more in depth about the people and the organizations with whom we have partnered. We hope you will enjoy learning more about the people we have met in Africa.