Intsikelelo, or “blessing” in Xhosa, was the name designated to Nick Grava by a local community in South Africa, and with good merit. In 2012, Grava made the choice to skip his flight home while visiting his brother at the University of Cape Town to instead help children and orphanages in the country.
Guided by both his passion and vision, Grava and his brother Chris decided to start a U.S based non-profit to help orphaned, HIV-infected, homeless, abused and neglected children. They partnered with government corporations and charities, raised awareness and drastically improved conditions in various orphanages.
Currently, the brothers are working with a Home of Safety in Khayelitsha to improve its operations and help it ultimately reach stability and independence. This entails improving various resources at the orphanage including a learning center, purchasing transportation vehicles and developing a new housing facility.
The Grava brothers are taking a stab at one of the largest crises in human history. According to the organization’s website, there are an estimated 3.7 million orphans in South Africa, about half of whom have lost one or both parents to AIDS. The average adult HIV infection rate is nearly 20 percent; in poorer regions it is as much as 50 percent.
It is estimated that by 2015, South Africa will have 5.7 million children who have lost one or both parents.
Not only are the Grava brothers building relationships, serving as mentors and providing sound homes, they are transforming the lives of hundreds, hopefully one day thousands, of children. They are building phoenixes- children who have the potential to rise from the fire and flourish despite adversity.
The future of Intsikelelo is bright. They recently raised over $16,000 after launching a Crowdrise page, which will allow for new beds, kitchen supplies and a computer lab for the orphanage. They aim to capitalize on their relationships and connections to gather more funding and more momentum.
Hopefully within the next couple of years Intsikelelo will have replicated the results at Home of Safety in Khayelitsha effectively throughout all of South Africa.
The United Nations Milennium Declaration states that in addition to our responsibilities to our respective societies, “We have a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level.”
As leaders and individuals, we must protect the future of those most vulnerable, especially children. Intsikelelo is spearheading this notion.
Sources: Intsikelelo, The Huffington Post