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December 2017: End-of-Year Fund-Raising Campaign for 2018

Dear Friends of Swaziland,

Sanibonani! I hope this email finds you all well and enjoying the holiday season. I am reaching out to you on behalf of the Board of the Friends of Swaziland (FOS) to ask you to consider making an end-of-year donation to FOS. Your donation will provide funding to the FOS treasury to enable us to continue to support development assistance projects in Swaziland during 2018.

Your contributions to our fund-raising appeal at the end of last year enabled us to fund the Books for Swaziland and Camp GLOW projects through the Peace Corps Partnership Program. Additional funds in our bank account have recently provided funding towards a Goat Production Income Generation Project ($500) and to ArtReach ($200), which is a non-profit involved with youth development. Both of these were Peace Corps Partnership Projects.

FOS realizes that you are receiving many fund-raising appeals at this time of year. Since Swaziland occupies a special place in all of our lives, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to FOS [FOS is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, so your donation will be acknowledged with an email documenting your tax-deductible donation]. Remember that FOS has a zero overhead, so 100% of your contribution will go to the intended beneficiary.

As an added incentive to our fund-raising effort this year, several anonymous FOS members have offered up $700 in matching funds to encourage others to donate. Thus your contribution will be doubled up to our available match.

You can donate by check or by PayPal. For donations by check, please make it payable to Friends of Swaziland by December 31st. Send it to:

You can donate by check or by Pay Pal. For checks, please make it payable to Friends of Swaziland. Send it to: Scott Lewis
96 Stonybrook Rd.
Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107

To donate via Pay Pal, please use the following link:

[While we are very happy to process PayPal donations, remember that PayPal takes a cut of your donation on our end. It is typically 2.9% plus $0.30, so a $100 donation shows up as $96.80 on our end.]

We would also like to take this opportunity to solicit your ideas for projects to fund in Swaziland during 2018. In recent years we have primarily funded Peace Corps Partnership Projects, but in the past we have provided funding for Young Heroes and other organizations. Thus we are open to expanding our funding horizon beyond supporting Peace Corps sponsored projects. If you have an idea, please contact board member Melissa Horton at She will compile your ideas for submission to the FOS Board.

Scott Lewis
FOS Treasurer

December 2016: Books for Swaziland

Sanibonani! I hope this email finds you all well and enjoying the holiday season. I just wanted to let you know that the Board of the Friends of Swaziland (FOS) has approved financial support to a new Peace Corps Partnership Project called 1114Books for Swaziland. To increase our impact, FOS will match donations received up to $750, thus leveraging a potential $1500 contribution to this project. [Donations beyond $750 will either increase our contribution to this project or be used to fund FOS projects in 2017].

Here's an email from Kaelani Kubina, one of the Swaziland PCVs working on this project:

"Books for Africa (BFA) is an organization in the United States that collects, sorts, ships, and distributes books to students of all ages in Africa. Their goal is to end the book famine in Africa. Peace Corps Swaziland partners with BFA once a year to bring in 30,000 books to 30 different schools/organizations across rural Swaziland. These schools/organizations have never had books or libraries before and once this project is completed the children in that area will have libraries and access to all of these books! Each individual library has a Swazi counterpart that works with a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV), and each Swazi counterpart will attend a workshop on library setup and maintenance put on by Peace Corps Swaziland. This aspect of the project is what makes BFA Swaziland so successful and sustainable! These books and libraries are so important for Swazi youth. In Swaziland English is a requirement to pass any grade in Swaziland, and as I stated before most schools don't have libraries. This means that if you help donate to this project you will be helping hundreds of students continue their education. Any donation amount is helpful!

All of us on the team are from the G13 volunteer group and we all close our service in August 2017. A Books for Africa Committee is elected every year. Two volunteers, one of them being myself, are in charge of putting together the workshop for training the 30 librarians that were selected to get Books for Africa. One member has been in charge of the grant that was written to be able to do this fundraiser. The grant includes the expenses for the workshop, the book order, the shipping costs, the container the books are shipped in, and the warehouse they are briefly stored in when they arrive in Swaziland. The other two members are in charge of getting information out to the Books for Africa recipients and the management of the applications before the recipients were selected. When the books come in, the whole BFA team and new incoming BFA team come to sort out the book orders and distribute them to the volunteers and their counterparts. We are all currently working hard to reach out to individuals and organizations for donations :) " --Kaelani

FOS realizes that you are all receiving fund raising appeals at this time of year. Since Swaziland occupies a special place in all of our lives, please consider helping out with this project by making a tax-deductible donation to FOS (FOS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so your donation will be acknowledged with an email documenting your tax-deductible donation). We will bundle any matching donations we receive and submit it to Peace Corps Partnership in support of this project.

You can donate by check or by Pay Pal. For checks, please make it payable to Friends of Swaziland. Send it to: Scott Lewis
96 Stonybrook Rd.
Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107

To donate via Pay Pal, please use the following link:

Scott Lewis
FOS Treasurer

November 2014: GLOW Camp

Friends of Swaziland contributed $500 to the GLOW Camp , a PCV-sponsored Partnership Project. The PCV involved in fundraising for the project writes, "GLOW or Girls Leading Our World is an amazing experience where 100 girls from all over Swaziland ages 9-19 get an opportunity to meet other girls similar to their age. More importantly GLOW camp focuses and addresses issues that they face daily in their communities including avoiding teen pregnancy, combating HIV/AIDS and empowering other girls to become strong leaders. Because we are extending our camp and involving our Swazi counterparts into committee roles, our fundraising for the grant is extensive." You can contribute to this project at the Peace Corps Partnership site.

December 2013: Books for Swaziland

Friends of Swaziland is financially supporting the Books for Swaziland project. These notes were provided by current PCV Kelsey Freeman: "GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) ... is a program run by PCVs world-wide advocating girls empowerment. Peace Corps volunteers throughout Swaziland are working with after-school clubs in their communities to empower girls to become leaders and change agents in their communities. This year, PCVs are working to host the third annual GLOW camp, during which three girls from each community will attend a week-long camp with other girls throughout Swaziland, where they will gain valuable experience that will teach them the skills necessary to become the future leaders of this Kingdom."

These pictures from last year's project show Maghubhuleni Primary School and the Shari library.

July 2012: Switzerland for Swaziland: Will you help the Kingdom's most vulnerable?

Here's a short summary of a special opportunity to help Young Heroes continue to assist Swaziland's AIDS orphans at a most critical time. Swaziland Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Jack Conrad is biking nearly 500 miles in late July to raise funds to support Young Heroes. He could use your generous pledge of support. Read on for more details.

Hot news flash: An anonymous donor has made a matching pledge of up to $1000 — so every pledge up to that amount will be effectively doubled.

Latest update (August 24, 2012): Although Jack has yet to achieve his goal of raising $10,000 for Young Heroes, he has thus far raised well over $5,000. And it is not too late to help make a difference by making a pledge. Please see the membership link below in order to make your contribution. Thanks!

Update, September 2012: Friends of Swaziland sincerely thanks the employees at Thomson Reuters, the members of the Minnesota Returned Peace Corps Volunteers group and our own Friends of Swaziland members who generously stepped up and pledged their support for Jack and his incredible ride. Together, we will surely make a difference in the lives of many Swazi orphans.

Update, October 2012: Thanks to some generous final donations, the total amount of money that Jack's ride raised for Young Heroes this summer was $8,000, a tremendous amount which should clearly make a world of difference in the lives of numerous orphan families. Thanks again to all who helped make this campaign the success that is was!

November 20th, 2012: Young Heroes of Swaziland is awarded $25,000 by Thomson Reuters as one of the company's two major 2012 charitable organization winners -- while FOS's Jack Conrad receives TR's Community Champion Award for his service to FOS and Young Heroes.


Many of you who have followed the Friends of Swaziland list serve for a few years will recall my having participated in a couple of Red Ribbon Rides in the upper Midwest in the mid-2000s to raise funds for Young Heroes and Swaziland's orphans of AIDS. Things have changed and I'm now working in a new lab with Thomson Reuters that's based in Switzerland. Some things haven't changed, however -- not yet anyhow -- and that's the need to support Swaziland's orphans and their community caretakers -- by way of food, clothing, medical attention, school tuition, uniforms and books. Given what's at stake, we probably couldn't make a better investment in the future of the Kingdom.

For this reason, at the end of this month, I will be embarking on another Red Ribbon Ride-like event, this time across the middle of western Europe, 750 kms in all, to again raise awareness about Swaziland's vulnerable AIDS orphan population and the mission of Young Heroes -- and to raise funds for this worthy cause. Given your ties and service to the Kingdom, this is the part you can well appreciate and act upon.

So how can you help? I would be most grateful for a pledge of support. Large or small, one lump sum or one based on the distance ridden, all collectively will make a BIG difference in the lives of Swaziland's school-aged orphans.

How can you pledge? There are at least two options:

(1) PAYPAL: You can send FOS treasurer Scott Lewis an email with your pledge (Scott Lewis []), and make your contribution via PayPal on our Membership page. Please include a "note" with the PayPal contribution indicating "Switzerland for Swaziland."

(2) CHECK: You can send Scott Lewis an email with your pledge (Scott Lewis []), and follow up by sending him a check made out to "Friends of Swaziland", with "Switzerland for Swaziland" on the subject line.

Since Friends of Swaziland is a fully certified 501(c)3 organization, all donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

I will plan on sending updates and photos to the Friends of Swaziland page on Facebook during and after the ride, so stayed tuned for day by day accounts. Young Heroes will also share information and reports via its social media channels.

Since the ride will take place in little over a week's time, please don't hesitate to pledge your support soon. I am truly grateful for any support you are able to provide.

Lastly, THANK YOU for your willingness to step up and help make a difference in the lives of Swaziland's weakest and most victimized population.

Salani kahle,

--Jack Conrad Vilikati

Ekukhanyeni High School (1984-87)

New pix from Switzerland: departure from Cham and crossing our highest point in the Alps, Albula Pass, about 7,600' high.

March 2011: Matsanjeni Preschool Restructuring and Provision Project

Friends of Swaziland recently assisted in funding this project, spearheaded by PCVs Laura Laura Reynolds and Brandon Bobisink. They have sent us the pictures you are now viewing, along with the report below the picture:

classroom renovations begin grateful teacher in finished classroom gutters, completed and ready to bring rainwater to barrel newly-built latrines PCV with student

As you know, we built a pit latrine, water collection, sanitation, and storage system, repaired the preschool, and provided educational supplies for the school. Everything has been in place and in use for the start of the term in January. The teachers have been absolutely overjoyed. They, for the first time, have had water, proper sanitation, and tools to use at their disposal. It doesn't even look like the same structure! I can't thank you and the organization enough for everything you did for us. It enabled a great organization to function better than they thought they could, and strengthened ours and the Peace Corps relationship within our community. We learned an immense amount, just ourselves, and we have been able to work with other Peace Corps Volunteers who are interested in the same types of projects.

Project Description

Matsanjeni Preschool is the only sanctioned preschool in the community of Matsanjeni for the education of children before entering grade school. This establishment currently has no access to sanitary human waste disposal, no ability to collect or store clean water and inadequate educational supplies to meet the needs of the educator and students. Currently, Thandekile Nxumalo, the teacher of Matsanjeni Preschool, has been unable to inidivdually raise community funds to best provide for her students, and has been petitioning for funding to various outlets to provide for a pit latrine, gutter system for rain water collection, and classroom supplies to teach with for five years.

Thandekile Nxumalo, using her contacts at a local primary school was able to locate local laborer for the construction of a pit latrine and obtained all estimites associated with it. The community has also pledged to build a proper base for the water containment vessel as well water diversion trench for runoff. Transport will be provided by community members for both sanitation and classroom supplies.

Finally, community members will assist in gutter and classroom supply installation. With this community contribution, the Matsanjeni Preschool will be provied with a sanitary pit latrine, proper water collection and containment, and classroom supplies for the education of preschool children. This work will greatly improve the educational experience of young Swazi children now and for years to come as well as allow a hardworking, motivated young teaacher to better serve her students.

December 2009: Neighborhood Care Point

Friends of Swaziland raised funds for a very worthwhile Peace Corps Partnership project proposed by Shannon Lindsay, a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Swaziland (see project description below). This project was completed in July 2009.

picture of children at project picture of children at project

Project Description

Neighborhood Care Point

In the community, there are currently 810 children that have been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Community leaders have set up 12 Neighborhood Care Points (NCP’s) in an effort to provide pre-primary education and one balanced meal per day for these children. Each NCP is run by 5 community-appointed volunteer caregivers, whose main responsibility is to teach and look after the children from 9am-1pm, Monday through Friday. An average of 45 children attend each NCP daily.

The goal of this project is to renovate each of the 12 NCP’s to ensure proper education and feeding of OVC. the community’s NCP’s have been in operation for 3-4 years, and were built by community members. The buildings require minor repairs such as the replacement of doors and windows. Each NCP is utilized as a classroom as well as a food storage area, for food that is donated by World Food Programme and distributed by local NGO’s such as World Vision, Zondle, and Save the Children. To ensure that an NCP is eligible to receive food donations, they must prove that they are a functional educational and feeding center and can store the food safely. The replacement of broken and faulty doors and windows will ensure that food can be safely stored at each NCP. The completion and patching of walls and ceilings will safeguard the building from rain and sun damage, and will provide an indoor classroom for the children.

From Shannon Lindsay the PCV from Colorado who is requesting assistance, ”I'm located in the Lubombo region of Swaziland in a community called Luhlanyeni (in the Sithobela area). The closest town to my site would be Siphofaneni (I'm about 25km south of there). My community is very large, consisting of 8 sub-chiefdoms. I work mostly in the few sub-chiefdoms surrounding my house, but the NCP project includes the entire community. My interests here in Swaziland have been mostly involving the youth. I work regularly with youth associations and peer educators in my community, and did a week long Girls Empowerment Camp last May. I'm also quite involved at the local clinic, the Sithobela Regional Health Center.”

July 2007: Red Ribbon Rider for Young Heroes

Once again this year, Jack Conrad will battle the heat and his own muscles on behalf of Young Heroes. From July 19-22, he'll ride his bicycle 300 miles across the state of Minnesota to raise funds for our program.

Jack is a board member of the Friends of Swaziland, and remains committed to helping the Kingdom and its children. Just as FOS did last year — when it raised $3,500 for Young Heroes — FOS is now collecting pledges to support Jack's participation in the Red Ribbon Ride, which benefits HIV/AIDS causes.

Learn more about the ride.

To support Jack, send e-mail messages to Friends of Swaziland President John von Reyn and Treasurer Scott Lewis with your pledge.

FOS Board

Background information — Young Heroes

Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world, reaching nearly 40% of its adult population. As a generation of young adults sickens and dies, a new generation of children is being left orphaned. It's estimated that within the next five years, over 10% of the country's population will be children who have lost at least one parent to the epidemic.

Most of these orphans are left in the care of aging grandparents who have reached the time of life when, traditionally, they themselves would be cared for by their families. But many orphans are left to fend for themselves — and to raise their younger brothers and sisters alone. All of these children are malnourished, impoverished and vulnerable to exploitation.

Young Heroes was created in early 2006 to help them by linking them with sponsors who provide funds for food, clothing, and other necessities. Our goal is to keep these children alive, healthy, and living together on their family homesteads in their communities, where they have the greatest sense of safety and security.

After 16 months in operation, Young Heroes now supports 437 children. Because our operations are underwritten by Swaziland's National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS (NERCHA), 100% of the donations we receive go directly to the orphans.

In addition, we have received 501(c)(3) status from the IRS, and Young Heroes was independently presented to UNICEF's Global Orphan Alliance as a best practice that other countries should adopt.

This success is due to entirely to sponsors like those who supported Jack Conrad in last year's Red Ribbon Ride. Their contribution of $3,500 meant that for this entire year, 10 families representing 26 children have had food to eat every day, and new clothing and warm blankets for winter; and the funds provided have freed up other household money to pay for school fees, medicine and other necessities. Just as important, they also have the hope that comes from knowing that someone cares and is looking after their welfare.

With your help again this year, we can work together to continue making this vital difference in the lives of these children.

Steve Kallaugher
Director, Young Heroes Program

Friends of Swaziland Red Ribbon Ride Campaign for Swaziland's Young Heroes Program

In mid-July, 2006, Friends of Swaziland raised over $3,500 for the Swaziland-based Young Heroes Program. This was accomplished through Swaziland RPCV Jack Conrad (1984-87) and his participation in the 2006 Red Ribbon Ride. Over the course of four days, from July 13th through July 16th, when temperatures in the upper Midwest topped 100 degrees, Jack bicycled 300 miles across southeastern Minnesota to raise funds for Young Heroes, whose mission is to help the Kingdom's AIDs orphans.

In the weeks leading up to the event, Jack solicited sponsors through Friends of Swaziland, his family, friends, and workmates. 100% of the funds raised have been directly shared with the Young Heroes organization, which in turn will use the monies to assist orphans whose parents have succumbed to AIDs. Funds typically help pay for food, clothing, and school fees.

September 2006

Friends of Swaziland has agreed to provide matching funds for a Peace Corps Partnership project in Swaziland. The project was submitted by PCV Blia Yang for the Nyanyali Sewing Scheme Association. To see more detail about the project, see

Blia has been contacting friends, family and organizations to raise the additional funds. After FOS's assistance, approximately $1400 dollars will still be needed before the project can go forward. Please consider a contribution before the matching funds expire at the end of September. Checks should be sent to the Peace Corps Partnership program.

Here's some additional information about Blia and her project that was published in the PC/Swaziland Newsletter and is posted on this website at

July 2005

Friends of Swaziland has contributed $500 towards funding the "World Map Project," a project proposed by current Swaziland PCVs Christina Granberg and Luke Fiordalis and vetted by the Peace Corps Partnership program. For more information on the project, view the project proposal or visit the Peace Corps Partnership website.

There is still a balance of $486 needed before the project can go forward, so please consider a contribution.

February 2005

Friends of Swaziland recently provided nearly $3,000 to support a media project by active Peace Corps Volunteers. See the February 2005 newsletter for more details.

May 2003

Friends of Swaziland is initiating a fund-raising drive aimed at raising money so that FOS may fund programs and activities targeting Swaziland. The AIDS crisis is an obvious first choice for group funds, although the FOS Board of Directors will make funding decisions reflecting the wishes of FOS membership.

[According to the UN Integrated Regional Information Network Swaziland may now have the worst HIV infection rate in the world. The UN estimates that 38.6% of Swazi adults are HIV positive, and even this figure may be out of date and understate the infection rate.]

FOS passed a milestone on March 13, 2003, when the IRS granted FOS tax-exempt status as an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The practical benefit of this new status is that donations to FOS are now tax-deductible.

Shortly after achieving this status FOS members Guy and Susan Wroble donated $2000 to FOS to support general operations of the group. This helps tremendously because FOS must maintain a minimum balance in its checking account as well as defray expenses of mailing out the newsletter, paying affiliation dues to the National Peace Corps Association, etc.

The Wrobles have in addition announced a $2000 challenge grant to FOS members!! What this means is that Guy and Susan will match donations "dollar for dollar" up to a total of $2000. With this extremely generous gesture the Wrobles will make it possible for FOS to rapidly begin raising funds for worthy projects in Swaziland.

More details were provided in the June 2003 newsletter.

Donations may be sent to:

Friends of Swaziland
c/o Scott Lewis, Treasurer
96 Stonybrook Road
Cape Elizabeth, Maine 04107

Friends of Swaziland is a 501(c)(3) organization. All contributions to Friends of Swaziland are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.