South Africa 2008 – Giving Back

Poverty housingThe trip to South Africa was very rewarding from business, educational, and recreational points of view. I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to make the trip. The hotels, wine farms, and bushveld animal sightings were stunning but so too was the poverty. It was very sad to see how so many people have been repressed for decades and are living in much less than decent housing.
Of all the people who are able to fly to South Africa on business or vacation trips, surely the least among them is far more fortunate than those in the depressed areas of South Africa. For those so inclined, are there ways to give back? I have been asking myself that question. Fortunately, there are many choices and I plan to act on some of them.
Among the time-tested organizations that have long-term experience working in Africa are the following…
Habitat for Humanity South Africa builds on the basic The Habitat Vision — “A world in which every person has a decent place to live”. HFHSA has been actively building in South Africa since 1996 and to date over 2,000 houses have been constructed across Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Africare, founded in 1971 is a self-help program to assist Africans in the broad areas of food, water, the environment, health, private-sector development, governance, and emergency humanitarian aid.
The Africa Fund reaches out to local religious leaders, community and labor leaders, as well as state and municipal officials and their constituencies. The Africa Fund works to support human rights, democracy, and economic development on the continent.
The African Medical and Research Foundation, founded in 1952, is committed to empowering the disadvantaged people of Africa. The organization works in close partnership with local communities, government ministries of health, UN agencies, other NGOs to develop locally appropriate models for improving health, to contribute to capacity building at all levels, and to develop an enabling environment for health improvement.
The African Services Committee was founded in 1981 by a group of refugees and provides relief and assistance for diverse ethnic immigrant and refugee groups in need of food, shelter, clothing, medical care, legal services, housing, and employment.
Books for Africa, founded in 1988, Minnesota-based Books for America collects, sorts, ships, and distributes books to the children of Africa in partnership with Rotary Clubs, YMCAs, churches, schools, and various community groups.
The Global Alliance for Africa, is a Chicago-based group that works in concert with local and international partners to bring medical care to those regions of Africa most in need of help.
The South Africa Development Fund, was founded in 1985 by South African exiles living in the U.S. and it works in partnership with community-based organizations to provide financial and technical support to communities disadvantaged by decades of apartheid policies. 
All of these fine organizations accept online donations.