Heart for Africa aims to address four critical issues: fighting hunger, rescuing and caring for orphans, fighting poverty, and providing education to children and adults for a better future. We spoke with Chloe Maxwell, Marketing and Communication Specialist at Heart for Africa (Canada), to learn more about them.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
Heart for Africa (Canada) is a faith-based humanitarian organization that focuses on bringing HOPE to the Kingdom of Eswatini, Africa in the areas of Hunger, Orphans, Poverty and Education. In 2009, a 1,000- hectare piece of land was purchased in Eswatini for the organization’s initiatives and named Project Canaan.
Today, we feed 4,500 children in the most rural communities of Eswatini, provide homes and care for 335 children (to date) under the age of eleven on Project Canaan, employ over 440 Swazis on the property and educate 244 of our school-aged children at Project Canaan Academy.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Our programs are designed to address these four key areas with solutions to fight hunger, rescue and care for orphans and vulnerable children, decrease poverty with employment and provide education to children and adults through school and vocational training in the Kingdom of Eswatini, Africa.
When did you start/join it?
I started working for Heart for Africa (Canada) in May 2021.
What made you want to get involved?
I first travelled to Africa with my family when I was 8 years old and spent the following 6 summers helping lead Heart for Africa service trips with my family to Eswatini, Malawi and Kenya. At the age of 15, I moved with my parents (co-founders of the organization) to Project Canaan to support the mission while attending high school. After university, I knew I wanted to do something I was passionate about. A position opened up with Heart for Africa (Canada) for a Marketing Coordinator and I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I am unbelievably thankful and
humbled by the full-circled opportunity to work for the organization I found roots in at such an early age and make a difference in the country of Eswatini!
What was the situation like when you started?
When I started there were 286 children living at Project Canaan, about 300 – 350 Swazis employed at Project Canaan and they were feeding roughly 3500 children through Heart for Africa’s Hunger Initiative which partners with a network of 30 churches in the rural communities of Eswatini. The grade 4 classrooms had just been built on Project Canaan Academy, along with many other buildings across the project.
How has it changed since?
49 children have been placed in our care in the past 14 months. Last week (August 13, 2022), we received a baby from social welfare that was left naked with the umbilical cord still attached outside of a grocery store in town. After spending a week in the hospital, she was placed with us where she will be loved and cared for until the age of 18, as will the rest of our children. That brings our total to 335 children (to date) that we care for at Project Canaan.
We’ve also grown to nearly 450 employees at Project Canaan since I started! In a country with estimates as high as 70% unemployment rate in the rural areas, this makes a huge impact on the community. Each person employed provides on average 7 people back at home, so employment at Project Canaan is decreasing poverty and impacting over 3,000 people in the community.
Lastly, we have completed the grade 5 classrooms and are now planning for the grade 6 classrooms for 2023 at Project Canaan Academy.
What more needs to be done?
The baby home, toddler home and 6 children’s homes have been built, but we need to build the next permanent home as our children continue to grow and we continue to accept more children. Each home houses 40 children and the children move up as they reach developmental markers. We also need to build the next classrooms, which will be for grade 6.
How can our readers help?
Child sponsorship and student sponsorship are two major ways that people can help us continue to bring HOPE to Eswatini! Child sponsorship covers the costs of food, clothing, caregivers, medical checkups and supplies, activities and more for our children. Student Sponsorship covers the cost of sending a child to Project Canaan Academy, from the curriculum, supplies and uniforms to the teacher salaries (our teachers are predominantly employed from Eswatini). To learn more about Child Sponsorship and Student Sponsorship, please visit our website.
Do you have any events coming up?
On October 22nd, we are hosting our annual Evening of HOPE event in Surrey, BC. The evening will be safari themed, have a live and silent auction, a delicious meal, South African wines and more. For more information about these events, please contact me: Chloe@heartforafrica.org
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity/non-profit that you love?
As I’m based in St.Catharines, Ontario, an awesome local charity that I love is called Gillian’s Place. It is one of Ontario’s first shelters for people experiencing abuse and provides a safe refuge and support programs in an effort to end domestic violence. Be sure to check it out!