Fertile Ground is a Non-profit Organization which aims to support and inspire hope for youth and families infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS and other health challenges. By bringing together individuals and families who have demonstrated the value of living positively with HIV/AIDS with those who are newly diagnosed, we aim to build a positive future. Campers Comments on Camp
Dear Our Fertile Ground & Red Cross, The camp was very nice we worked according to the schedule and we co-operated. The Team work was very strong and I enjoyed working with Robert and Jawaya. The kids were amazing, being with Our Fertile Ground I had an amazing time.
Thandokazi Mcotshana Mother Dear Our Fertile Ground & Red Cross,
I write this to express how I felt at the camp. Well it felt good to be at Soetwater Camp Site. You have showed us love also shared your knowledge and skills to us as parents and our kids. We had fun for 3days. I loved the facilitators because they made us feel special while taking care of our children. I will never forget those days 27, 28, 29 of April, the obstacles course, plus playing more and more games; and especially the Talent Show.
LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION
Fertile Ground is a Non-Profit Organization founded in 2005 in the hope of educating, supporting
and empowering individuals and communities affected by HIV and AIDS. It aims to provide a safe
place in which children and their families are able to address pertinent issues, associated with the
disease and its surrounding stigma, without judgment or fear while simultaneously strengthening
community bonds and social support. Robert and Jawaya Shea, together with a host of volunteers have inspired individuals from all walks of life to take responsibility for their families and their communities and to assist in uplifting the lives of those less fortunate. They have played a pivotal role in organizing numerous residential and day camps as well as providing outreach programs for affected children, to major hospitals and clinics around the Cape Town district.
Their camps are well-structured, organized and exhibit an incredible amount of hard work and
dedication towards this cause. The programs created, incorporate the importance of developing life skills such as leadership and responsibility as well as more practical skills needed to cope in their everyday life such as ensuring a good nutrition, the importance of schooling and encouraging physical activity. The children are encouraged to set goals and achieve in life regardless of their health, physical or socio-economic status.
On visiting one of the campsites in January of this year, I was impressed by the manner in which the camp was run. Structured activities were provided for both the caregivers and the children, each created with the intention of 'bringing out' or developing certain skill sets from within. There were also more than enough volunteers present to assist with activities, preparing meals and to oversee the general well-being of the kids. Catered meals were provided and between activities, children were kept busy playing soccer, dancing and drumming. Robert and Jawaya made an incredible effort to ensure that the kids were constantly entertained and provided for. Their kind and giving nature is evident in the love and respect shown to them by the caregivers and children.
This organization is committed to the development and upliftment of youth in this country and their effort to positively effect change among these communities should be commended.
Dr Vashini Pillay MBCHB(UCT), DCH(SA),
By default, we entered children who are ill in a Cycle Tour. The experience was a self-esteem boost, created a hunger for more physical activity and amazingly, we received reports that they did better at the special needs school they are enrolled in. Why? because they were part of an international event they could not have dreamed of being part of. Cycling is an alternative to boredom, crime, drug use, school drop-out, teen pregnancies and risk behavior in general. This is how stigma is broken.
What is the issue, problem, or challenge?
Children living with life-limiting illnesses like diabetes, cancer and HIV do not have it easy, especially because they are living in dire poverty. Stigma, shame, bullying, and isolation can result in depression, school drop-out, risk behavior, and delinquency. Engaging children and youth in activities that make them feel included boosts self-esteem and encourages positive behaviors and choices, like staying in school and aiming for a bright future. Parental involvement builds healthy families.
How will this project solve this problem?
Engaging kids and youth in cycling will be help them become physically healthier, focus on healthy they stick to their medications and decrease their stress. They will gain skills and confidence, which can help avoid the pitfalls of risk behavior like drug and alcohol abuse, delinquency, risky sexual behavior, and school drop-out. Parents are included, which promotes parental and male involvement. The project advances social integration by recruitment volunteers whose lives are more privileged
Potential Long Term Impact
Healthy choices lead to better health outcomes. Improved self-esteem that goes with feeling included helps overcome stigma and shame. Staying in care and in school improves educational outcomes and long-term employment prospects. Health promotion messages help prevent the spread of STIs, HIV and prevent teen pregnancy. The project builds leadership capacity and self-efficacy in youth, developing skills so that they build their communities. 30 riders become 60 which grows to 300 change agents. Fertile Ground is a Non-profit Organization which aims to support and inspire hope for youth and families infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS and other health challenges. By bringing together individuals and families who have demonstrated the... (more)
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