I went to Kariega, Africa in May of 2023 with no expectations at all and I mean no expectations. I was along for the adventure. My husband, Jeff is an active animal conservation officer and works as a Deputy Game Warden in Chester County, Pennsylvania. He loyally served for a number of years as a Board Member to Pennsylvania Advocates for Rhino Conservation Association (PARCA) a group dedicated to saving the Rhino in Africa. As supporters, we went to Africa with the PARCA board in May and expected to see amazing animals, beautiful landscapes and more amazing animals. I absolutely fell in love with the animals and the land. What I did not expect was to completely fall head over heels in love with the people and the community.
We had the unique opportunity to see behind the scenes what was going on educationally in South Africa and it did not take long to figure out that if you were WEALTHY and you had a special needs child, your child was taken care of. However, if you were not wealthy, at best your child with special needs was very simply unseen, unserved, abandoned, uneducated, hidden and tragically often viewed by the community as cursed. We decided to partner with the KARIEGA FOUNDATION and set out to do something ambitious about this situation.
The ultimate dream is to build a school for children and young adults with disabilities to have a sense of community, to be seen and to have the opportunity to be educated. On Mandela Day back in July of 2023 we were able to bring families and their special needs children together to see if we could garner interest in our dream. It turns out, not only was our dream shared but it was desperately desired by the community. And so, we started, from the ground up - building, training, obtaining resources, community help and services.
Will you join us in supporting this important mission?