I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Swaziland in the late 80's, have been supporting multiple children through Young Heroes since its inception and have met its founder Steve Kallaugher. Young Heroes knows Swaziland, its children and their problems intimately and is highly effective and innovative at addressing their unique needs. You couldn't find a better organization for delivering help to some of the neediest children in Africa.
Review from Guidestar
I have been an Intern at Young Heroes for over a month now and will be concluding my internship within the next week. I am extremely sad to be saying goodbye to the lovely people I have worked with during my Internship. The organisation has the most admirable values in a country that is in desperate need for the functions of Young Heroes. However, without dedicated ground staff the aims of Young Heroes would be impossible to achieve. Thus it is through the hard word and dedication of the staff that the organisation is successfully carrying out its promises on a daily basis. Therefore I endorse Young Heroes since I have first hand experience of the high level of its reliability.
Wonderful organization. I have seen their work firsthand and can tell you it really makes a difference for the children. And the money really does go directly to those in need, not to 'administration'.
I've been a contributor for a number of years but this year got involved in fundraising. I like the fact that, because they are underwritten, every dollar contributed goes to feeding and clothing the AIDS orphans. They serve a need that is otherwise unknown in the US. The staff are extraordinarily dedicated and caring.
I volunteered for Young Heroes earlier this year and was totally impressed and inspired by their work. My role was to raise money for AIDs orphans and participate in a cross country cycling fund raiser. That was the easy part. The Young Heroes team did the hard work e.g.,
1) Organizing the entire fundraiser with all its challenging logistics including:
* Getting a team of people from all over the US to remote Swaziland, kitting them up with gear, getting them across the country on a mountain bike and providing food and shelter along the way AND
* Getting a second team of volunteers from all over the US to remote Swaziland, organizing their daily trips into remote Swazi villages to sign hundreds and hundreds of local AID's orphans into the Young Heroes programs, AND providing that team with food and shelter along the way
2) And most important - providing food, clothes and education to the vulnerable Young Heroes of Swaziland giving them dignity, hope and a chance for a safer and better future.
I was tremendously inspired by the young Swazi children we met. They were gracious, respectful and happy (despite living in unbelievably difficult circumstances). Having the opportunity to meet these kids was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Equally impressive was the dedicated staff of Young Heroes...the great team in Swazi, the Young Heroes Board and of course Steve Kallaugher, an inspiring man with a heart of gold.
Swaziland in Southern Africa has the highest HIV/AIDS infection rate in the world. Young Heroes works directly with orphans who have lost both parents to the disease by providing a monthly stipend to cover food, clothing, medical testing and treatment. I have been on the ground with Young Heroes volunteering each year for the past five years. I have seen it grow to include more children and services, including bereavement counseling, summer overnight camp and vocational training for those who age out of our system. I have been in these children's homes and communities, talked on their grass welcome mats, hugged them, seen their school work, danced with the caretakers, laughed and cried with them. And every year I return with more enthusiasm to continue the excellent work Young Heroes does and to reconnect with the amazing children and families who receive our support.
Swaziland is a poor country, on a subsistence economy, and the plight of an orphan is dire. Young Heroes is unique in that it takes a holistic approach to caring for the orphans, with a strategy to keep the children in their homesteads, where they can eventually take over providing for themselves, while giving them support and encouragement to continue in school, psychosocial support through camps and teen clubs, medical support with HIV testing and medications, and ultimately leading to vocational training support for those who choose to pursue a vocation when they "age out" of the program as young adults. It is immensely gratifying to see kids coming through the program with confidence and hope and positive outlook towards their future.
While working as a volunteer in Swaziland I spent some time working with Young Heroes. I identified and registered children in need and I even went out on a trip with Young Heroes to see how the assistance was being put to use. They are a wonderful organization & they really do a great job of making sure that your money ends up helping the children with their specific needs. I have seen first hand the way this Nonprofit changes the lives of the children it helps. I will always support Young Heroes.
The goal of Young Heroes is to help the orphans of families in Swaziland affected by AIDS. Donations are used to help with basic needs such as food, clothing and education. Swaziland has a very high aids mortality rate, and children are left orphaned. What will become of these children?
I feel like I am giving them a chance to live a somewhat better life. And I feel that my money is being used to assist the children directly and not used for administrative reasons. Bravo to Young Heroes for the work they do!
Young Heroes is now regarded as a model program in Southern Africa. Recognized by the UN and USAID as overwhelmingly effective and sustainable, the organization is both scalable and representative of the best in public-private partnership.
The scale of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Swaziland can lead to feeling of being overwhelmed. Young Heroes takes such a grounded approach to its implementation methodology that it lends hope to a situation often cast as hopeless.
Offering the essentials (food, clothing, school) to orphans on the one hand, and on the other constantly strengthening a nationwide network nested in the local HIV/AIDS government coordinating body, Young Heroes epitomizes all the core tenets of effective global health programming.