Mbabane, Swaziland/Madison, CT, USA, 5 September 2006–United World Colleges and Young Heroes today announced the launch of the 2006 UWC Young Heroes Challenge.

The challenge offers students a means of reaching out to help their less fortunate peers _ the AIDS orphans of Swaziland by raising funds to sponsor orphan families via the Young Heroes Program.

Young Heroes founder Steve Kallaugher said, “We’re extremely happy to have United World Colleges as our partner, since the idea of the Challenge originated with UWC students studying at Waterford Kamhlaba in Swaziland.

Now, we’re spreading their idea to schools and campuses all over America and all over the world–in an effort to help children who have nothing. We’re urging students, groups and schools to become sponsors and challenge others to do the same.”

All Donations Go Directly to Orphan Families

Young Heroes is a innovative Internet-based project created by Swaziland’s National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS (NERCHA). In the United States, Young Heroes Foundation oversees fund-raising. Full information on the program can be found at http://youngheroes.org.sz.

Through Young Heroes, sponsors can support an orphan family with monthly donations for food and other basic necessities for as little as US$19.95 a month. Since the entire administrative costs of Young Heroes are underwritten by NERCHA, all donations received go directly to the families enrolled. Launched in February 2006, Young Heroes has already found sponsors for nearly 250 children in over 100 families. However, sponsorship is still sought for over 500 more orphans registered with the program–and that number is growing weekly.

“Our overriding goal is to keep the orphaned children alive, healthy and living together on their family homesteads in their own communities, where they have the greatest sense of safety and security,” said Kallaugher. “And one of our greatest hopes is that fortunate young people will rise to the Challenge so we can help more of these kids who have so little.”

A Challenge Is Born

United World Colleges (UWC) is the only global educational movement which brings together students from all over the world at pre-university level (or tertiary level in the case of one College), regardless of their ability to pay. Students are selected on merit and live together in an environment designed to foster international understanding, tolerance and peace. Among the schools in the UWC network is Waterford Kamhlaba. Located in Mbabane, Swaziland, Waterford is one of the most highly respected boarding schools in southern Africa.

UWC students at Waterford became aware of the plight of the nation’s orphans while doing community-service projects. When they learned about Young Heroes, they made it their goal to sponsor ten children _ and to challenge all other UWC schools to match them. Then, the students in Grade Six at Sifundzani Primary School in Mbabane joined in by pooling their money to sponsor one child. When they heard what the students at Waterford were doing, they challenged other classes to match them.

United World Colleges spokesperson (NAME) says, “QUOTE TO COME.”

How the UWC Young Heroes Challenge Works

Like the original project at Waterford, the UWC Young Heroes Challenge is simple to join and easy to undertake.

Full details and registration for the Challenge are found at http://youngheroes.org.sz/challenge, along with ideas for fund-raising initiatives. Students, school groups and schools at all levels are asked to do one fund-raising project to be completed before May 1, 2007 and to challenge two other groups, classes or schools to match their effort. Customizable brochures, flyers and ads are provided, to help schools spread the word about their project.

When an organization’s project is completed, they simply have to return to the Web site to register their donation, and send it in. The funds collected are immediately assigned to an orphan family, and the group is sent photos and information on the family that they’re sponsoring.

“Often, the kids we’re helping don’t have food to eat every day. They don’t have shoes or warm clothes,” says Steve Kallaugher. “But it only takes $360 a year to see that a child eats every day and has all the clothes she needs.

That’s such a little amount for students to join together to raise, and difference it makes in their lives is incalculable. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it really can mean the difference between life and death for some.”

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