While the roots of CHOSA’s founding began a long time ago, a practical place to start would be the beginnings of the CIEE volunteer program at Baphumelele Children’s Home.
A group of Americans studying at UCT in 2004 began volunteering at Baphumelele. At the time, the home had only a few bedrooms where dozens of children slept together and an adjacent shack for a kitchen. As volunteers, we focused on helping in any way we could: changing diapers, cleaning, cooking, teaching the babies to crawl, etc.
We were disturbed at the poverty we saw and conditions under which the children were forced to live because of the lack of government support. We resolved to try to do something about it. Upon returning to the US, many volunteers began to fundraise informally for Baphumelele.
Led by co-founders Jared Sacks and Ellen Rosenberg, we assembled over time a core group of supporters and a board of directors [hyperlink]. Together we formed the Children of South Africa (CHOSA), whose purpose was to identify and support communities and community-based organizations (CBOs) that reach out and take care of orphans and other vulnerable children in South Africa.
However, we also resolved to work on ourselves as an organization in order to make sure our support had a significant long-term effect on the communities with whom we work. Through years of self-critique and reflection, we have emerged with a unique and compelling philosophy [hyperlink] which guides our work.