A celebration: and you’re invited

This is an unusual post.

I am copying below an appeal from a dear friend, Ana Houston, who is a medical doctor working in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. The appeal speaks for itself. Let me add that I have known Ana and her family most of her life and and I have great faith in her work and her integrity. Please help if you are able, or pass this on. Thank you.


Ballet dancer strikes a pose outside her home in Khayelitsha, SoHello Friends,

In two-weeks I am hosting two end-of-year events. And yesterday the pharmaceutical company that promised to fund me said they probably can’t any more. Which leaves me with 120 kids expecting to go to Muizenberg beach – and me in a bit of a pickle. 

So lets back up a bit. What are Youth Clubs???

I run eight different youth clubs for kids between the ages of 10 and 20 who have a chronic, life-long illness (such as chronic lung disease, HIV, asthma, learning difficulties etc.) Those teens that are HIV+ were born with the virus and have survived due to the medication that they take. Their continued health depends on their daily pill taking.  These youth clubs fall under Michael Maphongwana Community Health Centre in Harare, Khayelitsha. The teens all come from the area – so are growing up in a township life – with all the vibrancy and challenges that accompany that. 

Ana Appeal 2


At the Youth Clubs we are aim to help the teens come to terms with life with an illness. We are hope to help them engage with their emerging sense of self and identity, and help them navigate healthy independence – all without rebelling to the detriment of their health and future. We use group/club activities so that the teens can see that they are not alone in their struggle with illness and identity – and get the support of a positive group of peers.


So what is the End of Year Event for?

we’re celebrating the end of the first year of Youth Clubs!
we’re celebrating that the kids have continued to return to the clinic. Before the Youth clubs started we had a 20% “lost to follow up” rate. Now its down to about 5%. I.e., we’re attracting kids back into the clinic and getting them to start taking responsibility for their health.
we’re celebrating LIFE. we’re forgetting illness, sickness and tablets. we’re forgetting crime, hunger and abuse. We’re just gonna have fun.
we’re celebrating the end of exams. These Clubs are about walking with the teens in every part of their lives. So I feel like I’ve been doing exams the last 3 weeks! 
we’re celebrating individuals. There are a few of these teens who have terminal illnesses. I’m not sure if they will be alive Christmas 2014, so we’re gonna celebrate “today”.
we’re having a lot of time for “getting to know you”. This will be the first time some of the girls and guys meet. It will be a solid 8 hours of friendship strengthening and bonding. The Clubs are dependent on the teens knowing and trusting each other
we’re having time for our Club counsellors and mentors to form deeper relationships with the teens. 

Ana Appeal 3So the plan is to go from Michael M clinic to Muizenberg. We’ll spend some time at the waterslides. We’ll have lunch and drinks, then some time on the beach playing games. The estimated cost per person is:

R45 for transport
R40 for the waterslides
R45 food
Total: R130

Grand Total: R20000 (R130 x 150 adults+kids)

I have R6000. And so am needing to raise the rest, somehow. I know that this is a bad time of year to be asking, but would you consider making a donation? Anything from R50 to R10000+ is appreciated! Or a box of bananas or cooldrink…!

But No Obligation! And if you’ve read to this point in the email – well done! and you now know what I’m passionate about 🙂


Dr Ana Houston

PS: feel free to pass on and fundraise on our (my) behalf!!! 

Bank Details:
Branch code: 134125
Account no: 1341043444
Swift code: NEDSZAJJ
Please Mark clearly “Youth Club” and your name.

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Ian Webster

From Methodist minister to Customer Relations manager in a computer bureau to HR Manager in a newspaper printing and publishing company. Now focussing on training and developing people and HR & people-management consulting.

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