HISA, Windhoek, Namibia
My first visit to HISA was in November of 2006 with Kevin and John. I went back in 2009, 2010 and again in October of 2012. At each visit I am more impressed with what I see and have to admit that I tell everyone I meet that HISA is the poster child for non-profits in the developing world. HISA was started by Patricia Sola and her husband John Mafukidze in 2002, they are both from Zimbabwe. Patricia holds a Masters Degree in International Child Welfare from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Zambia. Patricia had been working with children in refugee camps in Zambia and came to Windhoek, Namibia to visit her sister who was very ill. When she saw what was happening or actually not happening, she decided to stay and be with her sister and do something for the children in the informal settlements. HISA started with John and Patricia cooking food from their home and bringing it out to the settlements. They started out feeding 30 orphans and now feed over 700 children and youth at risk, 200 adults infected and affected with HIV/AIDS and their caregivers.
HISA has taken a holistic approach to their program. Besides serving meals, they have a kindergarten school, a bridging school for children who are not educationally prepared to be enrolled in the government schools and a garden program.
There are two gardens at HISA, both being funded by an organization in Sonoma, CA called Project Africa. The gardens supplement the meals program with vegetables, fruits and herbs. One garden is taken care of by the caregivers where they learn the importance of nutrition, how to garden and generate income by selling the fruits of their labor.
Acacia Global is assisting HISA with their education program. The kindergarten class went from 60 to 73 children with each child being given a school bag. The bridging school was originally only able to register 30 children but they were able to increase to 45 students. Our contribution enabled two teachers a better monthly salary. Our hope is to be able to raise more funds to assist with school uniforms for both the kindergarten and the bridging school students.