ABOUT USImproving the lives of AIDS orphans
Empowerment: We promote confidence, independence and self-sufficiency, seeking to provide a hand-up, not a hand-out, to the individuals we support. Kidlinks doesn’t solve problems for people, it solves them with people.
Sustainability: We undertake all of our projects and partnerships with the intention that our support will be continual, while simultaneously working to create structures and programs that will support our project partners without creating dependency.
Compassion: We work to ensure that all of our actions display empathy, understanding and care, always seeking to preserve and enhance the dignity of those we serve, guided by the fact that we are all equal and we all have a right to a healthy, happy life.
Ethics: We conduct all of our work in a transparent and accountable fashion, ensuring that we are spending funds in a responsible and effective manner.
Connection: We believe that we are all connected and as a result, we all have a vested interest and a responsibility to care for those less fortunate. In so doing, we grow as individuals, we uplift others and we build a better world, one connection at a time.
Kidlinks World, Inc. is a registered 501(c)3, non-profit organization that is based in Madison, Wisconsin and is 100% volunteer-run and donor-funded. Kidlinks has been in existence since 2004, with the mission of improving the lives of AIDS orphans and vulnerable children in Southern Africa.
We accomplish our mission by forming partnerships with grass roots initiatives that serve the children on a daily basis. We currently have five projects and organizations in South Africa:
Through these partnerships, Kidlinks is reaching over 3,000 AIDS orphans and vulnerable children.
We support each of our partners in different ways, based on their needs. Our support comes in the form of regular financial contributions, building food gardens, playgrounds and educational assistance. In addition to Kidlinks’ assistance from the US, each year, Kidlinks members and volunteers travel to South Africa to assist our partners, strengthening our relationships and commitment.
We are able to financially support our partners through our numerous fundraising events in Madison and through the generosity of Kidlinks’ supporters.
Kidlinks also promotes cultural understanding and awareness by enriching the local community with information on the socio-economic realities of Southern Africa, HIV/AIDS and the inspiring work that is being done to help AIDS orphans and vulnerable children.
Why we work in Southern Africa:
The main reason we work in Southern Africa is because we have relationships there. We believe that having a strong relationship with our partners allows us to help the children in a more comprehensive and effective manner, as well as to provide a high level of accountability to our donors and supporters as to how their contributions are being spent.
We also work in Southern African because the need is great. The prevalence of HIV is as high as 20% in some countries, which exacerbates poverty, malnutrition, inequality and other socio-cultural factors. Children are extremely vulnerable in this environment. These children are at an increased risk of abuse, rape, suicide, substance abuse, housing eviction and stigma, as well as a decreased ability to stay in school or to find legitimate employment. These are the challenges that Kidlinks and our partner organizations work to improve, ultimately bringing about positive change in the lives of affected children.
The Gumboots Foundation, UK and SA is also working to change the situation in Southern Africa. Gumboots is our funding partner, based in South Africa with a branch in the UK. We work closely with The Gumboots Foundation, UK and SA and support many of the same partners in Southern Africa. Together, we increase awareness and support to alleviate the plight of AIDS orphans and vulnerable children in Southern Africa. Click here to learn more about Gumboots.
On average 2600 new HIV infections are contracted each week in South Africa. In 2015 according to the United Nations website – there are 2,100,000 AIDS orphans under the age of 17 currently living in South Africa
Kidlinks World is dedicated to improving the lives of AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children in Southern Africa through increased awareness and direct connections between donors and recipients by partnering with grassroots initiatives.
We envision a future where all children will be given the opportunity to lead a safe and healthy life in which they are nurtured, provided for, and empowered so they may each realize their full potential and grow into educated, independent members of society.
OUR Corporate Board
Chairperson Kidlinks, CEO / Owner Avant Gardening
Liza Lightfoot has 32 years of experience as CEO of Avant Gardening and Landscaping Inc and consequently brings business acumen in financial management, marketing and project management to Kidlinks. She is the current Chairperson of Kidlinks and is responsible for networking and fundraising for the organization. She has lead over 12 volunteer service learning trips to South Africa with university students from the UW Madison WI and CalPoly in San Luis Obispo CA.
Lawyeris a practicing attorney in Madison, Wisconsin. Joe graduated from Cornell Law School in 1990 and is a partner with the law firm of Stroud, Willink & Howard. As a lawyer, Joe enjoys helping people solve problems so that they can obtain their business objectives and/or personal goals. Joe was initially drawn to Kidlinks World because he saw an opportunity to use his legal training to help overcome the challenges facing a fledging charity seeking exemption status under Section 501(c)(3). As he learned more about the living circumstances that the impoverished and often orphaned children around the world face on a daily basis, Joe readily agreed to serve on the Board of Directors. He is thankful now for the opportunity to help create a better future for children while he broadens his personal horizons. Joe has never traveled to Africa, but hopes to soon visit the projects that Kidlinks World currently supports in South Africa.
Assistant Professor (Health Sciences and Public Health)
Is a Zimbabwean who started volunteering with Kidlinks World during its inception. He holds a PhD in Development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Masters and Bachelors in Economics from the University of Zimbabwe.
In addition to his academic training, Wilson has a strong background in internal auditing, university teaching, research, and in care giving. Having grown up in rural Zimbabwe, lost brothers and sisters to HIV/AIDS, and currently caring for orphans in his family, Wilson has a heart for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
Dawn is self employed, running her commercial real estate development and management company out of her home, so she is more accessible to her family and community. She was asked to join the Kidlinks board, as treasurer in 2009 because of her background in accounting and business management. Dawn has believed in volunteer service to improve the lives of those less fortunate, since her high school years in the 1960’s when she worked with the Freedom from Hunger Foundation, a division of the United Nations, raising money for farm cooperatives in Mississippi.
She was drawn to the Kidlinks organization because of their focus on connecting children / young people to make the world a better place. Investing in children, not by giving them a hand out, but a hand up. Feeding the body and spirit with education, food and peace gardens, dance and song. Volunteering as a high school student changed her view of the world. She hopes to connect local high school students with the Kidlink’s projects to give local youth the opportunity to volunteer and expand their horizons, while helping the less fortunate in South Africa.
Is dedicated to improving the lives of AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children in Southern Africa through increased awareness and direct connections between donors and recipients by partnering with grassroots initiatives.