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Kariega Foundation

Special Needs Development Programme in Kariega, Africa

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?

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Our efforts will make a big chance in the lives of these children and their families.

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Find out more about the Kareiga Foundation Community & Conversation program and ways that you can help.
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groendal dam kariega, south africa
Kariega, South Africa
By Eric Gaba, Wikimedia Commons user Sting, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10785009

About Kariega, South Africa

Lying in the heart of the Eastern Cape, Kariega offers picturesque landscapes that stand as a testament to South Africa's natural beauty. From the enchanting Kariega River to the hustle and bustle of Port Elizabeth, Kariega is a destination of contrasts. Kariega, South Africa has a rich history that is intertwined with the wildlife and lush landscapes it is known for today. The area is situated in the Eastern Cape province, near the southern coast of the country. The name Kariega is derived from the Xhosa language, meaning "place of many waters," a reference to the two major rivers that run through the region. The area was originally inhabited by the Khoi and San people, who left their mark on the land through numerous rock paintings and artefacts. European settlers first arrived in the late 18th century, and over the following decades, Kariega underwent significant transformations as it played a part in various historical events, including the Frontier Wars and South Africa's diamond rush. Today, Kariega is home to a thriving wildlife reserve, which celebrates the region's rich biodiversity and pays tribute to its cultural heritage. Its history can still be felt and seen in its landscapes, wildlife, and archaeological remains. 
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