When Beatrice Stachurski, a former Cultural Care au pair from Sweden, heard about the Kids First “Fund Their Future” program, she took action. Beatrice applied for funds to help the children she had worked with as a volunteer in South Africa. She was hopeful, knowing that any member of the Cultural Care community can apply, but still surprised when shortly after she received word that her grant was approved—Kids First agreed to fund a children’s cricket program in Cape Town.
“In March 2013 I travelled to South Africa to work as a volunteer for African Impact, a volunteer organization that is funded by The Happy Africa Foundation. I didn’t know what to expect other than that I would hopefully help people in some way. But when I boarded my plane home two months later, I realized volunteering in South Africa meant more than just ‘helping people’ and that it had changed me forever.
I started off by volunteering at a local crèche (daycare) where the groups of children were very large in proportion to the number of teachers. I learned the importance of us volunteers working there because we could give all the children the attention they both need and deserve. Taking part in the children’s healthy development was very rewarding, but I decided after a month to switch to the medical program to see for myself the reality of what I knew was one of the biggest problems in the villages—HIV and AIDS.
Working with patients and families affected by the virus was truly life changing. ‘Being grateful’ has a completely different meaning to me today, and the people I met in South Africa helped me realize what to put my energy into in life. Not only did I learn that I could take part in sustainable change and development in the villages, but I also helped myself in a sense.”
Beatrice applied for a Fund Their Future grant to help pay for a street cricket program run by the Happy Africa Foundation, and Kids First approved her request right away.
The street cricket program gives children from disadvantaged areas around Cape Town an outlet to grow developmentally in several different ways. Sports provide children with the opportunity to build their self-esteem and create a positive self-image and are fundamental in the development of their personality, coordination, discipline and social development. The Street Cricket program creates an environment in which aspiring youth can entertain their communities and involve their family members as “spectators”, thus creating an event for everyone. The coaches provide positive role models and excellent mentorship. They encourage the children to maintain an interest in after-school activities in order to prevent them from straying toward a life of crime, gangs, and alcohol and drug abuse.
Beatrice says, “I applied for the Kids First grant because I know that The Happy Africa Foundation changes lives. I’ve seen it myself, and I want nothing more than for the people affected in all of the organization’s projects – the families and the children – to have a fair chance to live long lives, and to keep on smiling. Given how much I care about The Happy Africa Foundation, it truly means the world to me that Cultural Care Au Pair, along with Kids First, is providing a grant for them. To hear ‘Cultural Care’ makes me think of the best year of my life, and when I see that name next to what brought me indescribable joy and widened my perspectives, I can’t help but to smile.”
Is there a children’s organization that is special to you and your family? Learn more about Cultural Care Kids First Foundation’s “Fund Their Future” grants.