My husband and I saw the great work of Young Heroes last May during a 10 day trip to eSwatini. We took part in the 2019 Swazi Cycle event, part of a fundraising team that cycled more than 250 miles across this beautiful and diverse country and had the opportunity to meet with the local team and celebrate their great work to support orphans and youth with HIV.
What was clear from our interactions with the Young Heroes team is the passion they put into their work, their belief and love for the young people they work with and for, and sadly the incredible need and importance of what they do.
Through my work in public health in developing contexts I understand how hard it is to create impact with limited budgets but seeing their work at a Neighborhood Health Post and the impact on the children they educate and feed, it is clear that the impact being made will help ensure these children have a better start. We left eSwatini with admiration for the work they do and the people they are. Hope to go back and will continue to support going forward.
I work for a US-based organization that has partnered with Young Heroes since 2009 to operate psychosocial camp programs for children and youth living with serious medical conditions in Eswatini. I have come to know their organization as mission-driven, transparent, and responsible. Young Heroes has exceptional leadership and their team has been critical in successfully scaling the local camp program by identifying opportunities for sustainable and measured growth. The camp program has grown from reaching less than 50 individuals in 2009 and has since provided over 25,000 camp and outreach experience for children and youth across Eswatini. Furthermore, Young Heroes is unique in their meticulous focus on quality, impact measurement, and their ability to mobilize programs and projects quickly. I have witnessed first-hand the positive impact Young Heroes has had on their beneficiaries and the community at large, and I continue to commend their efforts and appreciate our long-standing partnership.
I have known Young Heroes since 2018 and we currently fund one of their projects. They are a partner organisation that is well managed and led, running multiple projects, have a developed M&E system and they report well. I would recommend them as an effective and reliable organisation.
My organization (Pact) has been working with Young Heroes for the past 5 years where we have provided financial resources (USAID/PEPFAR funding) and technical support to Young Heroes to implement programs for vulnerable families in Eswatini. We have found Young Heroes to be a valuable partner. They have talented and dedicated staff who plan and implement quality programming. They are responsive to feedback and continuously strive to improve services to meet the needs of families enrolled in their programs. Due to their strong performance, we are currently providing specialized capacity development support to ready them for graduation from their sub-grantee status under Pact to become a direct recipient of USAID funding. Young Heroes is meeting their graduation milestones and is on track for graduation. This is a true reflection of their organizational capacity and performance.
Young Heroes was founded by a friend and college classmate who joined the Peace Corps when he was in his 50s. I was asked to join the board about 4 or 5 years after its founding. I have been to Eswatini ( formerly Swaziland) three times to view its programs and meet with the employees and board members of Young Heroes African organization. On one visit we constructed play ground equipment at 3 different NCPs. On other visits we recruited new children and families for the program and viewed other programs sponsored by Young Heroes. I was initially impressed by Young Heroes goal to enable AIDES orphans to stay on their homestead to be cared for by relatives or siblings instead of being sent to an orphanage.
It has been extremely rewarding to see Young Heroes move from its humble beginnings to expand the scope of its services to thousands of orphans and vulnerable children. Young Heroes has established itself as a dedicated and trusted provider of quality services that now has large philanthropic organizations seeking out Young heroes to provide services in Eswatini.
I encourage you to view their web site for more information.
I first visited Swaziland in 2006 on a side trip from touring game parks in South Africa, just as Young Heroes was being launched. The HIV epidemic was well entrenched and growing, and the plight of the orphans left to fend for themselves on their subsistence farming homesteads was heartbreaking..
Yet the bright eyes and smiles of the children as they played together in the packed earth yards of the homesteads was a testimonial to the resilience of the human spirit. The need was clear and evident; what was missing was a sense of hope for the future.
Hearing about the mission of Young Heroes as articulated by the founder, I was sufficiently impressed to ask how I could help. I learned that sponsorship involved modest monthly stipends for food, clothing, health and well-being checkups so they could remain on their ancestral homesteads, attend local schools and preserve their rights to farm the land. I decided on the spot to sponsor the three orphans who were playing in that dirt yard, with a promise to myself to return in a year to observe their progress.
The next year I returned to see them looking healthier and much happier, and their thankful looks and hugs nearly melted my heart.
I was invited to serve on the Board of Directors of the Young Heroes Foundation to support the work by the dedicated and competent Young Heroes staff on the ground, starting with 5 and now numbering 27 with over 180 community-based volunteers. The programs and initiatives, now numbering 8, has grown step-wise and sustainably, with the overarching goal of supporting the orphans in their hopes and dreams of growing to become educated contributing members of Swazi society. Especially gratifying to observe has been the practice of funding staff and operating expenses through grants from NGO's around the world so that close to 100% of the funds raised by Young Heroes Foundation is spent on stipends for the orphans, and that spending in turn helps to support the local farmers and educators.
If you are seeking a truly impactful humanitarian organization to favor with your charitable contributions, you have found one in the Young Heroes Foundation. Perhaps some day you might even travel to Eswatini to see first-hand the profound difference your generosity can make in the lives of the Young Heroes of Swaziland. Thank you!
I’ve known of this organization since their very beginning. The work they do to raise funds for orphans, vulnerable children and families in need in Eswatini is remarkable. I have always been moved by their unique combination of compassion, accountability and results. I salute their hard work!
I have been a YH donor since 2012 and I was fortunate enough to experience Young Heroes work first hand during a trip to Eswatini in 2019. I attended a WORTH savings and loan meeting in a rural community in the HhoHho region. These grandmother's dedication and determination to provide a better life for their children by starting a collective chicken project was inspiring. The staff and volunteers at YH are truly integrated into the communities they serve and the trusted partnership they have created with the clients they work with was apparent. Young Heroes does what it says it's going to do and I will continue to donate knowing that YH is implementing sustainable and effective public health solutions. They are creating true positive change in the lives of thousands of orphaned and vulnerable children.
I've been a YH donor since it began in 2006. I've continued to donate because I know my donation is going directly to the people being served and needing support. YH is a grassroots organization who has proved themselves to be reputable and trustworthy within the villages and communities they work in. I'm always impressed to see the tremendous impact my donation can have on an individual child and how that can ripple to help an entire family. I was lucky to witness YH's work first hand back in 2006 and still remember singing with the children at an orphan care point as we ate together. It's amazing to see how YH has grown and is still able to stay true to their core mission. Over the past 14-years I've seen orphans we initially sponsored now grow up and get jobs on their own through YH's Life Support Grants and job-training STEP programs. I've been a supporter for 14-years and will continue to support their humbling work for years to come. I feel it is so important to help others during this difficult time in our changing world.
It has been so amazing to see the work Young Heroes has achieved over the years since it began in 2006. This is a grassroots non profit that reaches the most vulnerable children & youth in Swaziland!
I have been a supporter of Young Heroes since their work first began. I saw first hand as an HIV/AIDS Education volunteer in Eswatini how Young Heroes responded to the critical needs of Swazi children orphaned as a result of HIV. Fifteen years later, I continue to be a supporter of Young Heroes Foundation. They have stayed true to their mission of supporting Swaziland's most vulnerable youth and have expanded their services to include holistic services such vocational training, health care, and microcredits for caregivers. They continue to have a sustainable impact on the children of Eswatini. Dr. Brigid O'Brien
Young Heroes Foundation is the US-based fundraising arm for Young Heroes, a non-profit organization focused on improving the lives of HIV+ youth, especially orphans and vulnerable children, in Eswatini. I sit on the Board of Young Heroes (Eswatini) and could not be more impressed with the professionalism and dedication of this remarkable organization and team. Young Heroes not only uses direct cash grants to provide beneficiaries with the support and agency they need to improve their lives, but offers a complement of more traditional non-profit interventions such as health screenings, school support, counseling, and job training. You can trust Young Heroes will spend your donation wisely too—it is an experienced, on-the-ground, local NGO that has earned the trust of some of the world's largest donors (e.g., USAID and the Global Fund).
I was a volunteer when this program started! It has been amazing to see it flourish over the last 14 years! I am still hearing from members of my community today how it has helped them. Incredible how much of the money goes directly to students with extremely minimal admin fees. The program has grown so much and expanded the services provided. I’m just so proud to be able to contribute to an organization started in my country of service during time of service that is not only still active 14 years later but sustainable, serving the people of Eswatini, with massive growth since its inception!
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.