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Customer Snapshot

Basic Necessities are No Small Thing for Children Raising Children

23%

of Swazi children are orphans

 

Swaziland has the world's highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection, and nearly 125,000 Swazi children have been orphaned from losing parents to this epidemic. A nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of these orphans, Young Heroes received help from SAP to upgrade their IT system, making it easier for worldwide sponsors to support this important cause with online donations.

 

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The Need for Young Heroes

Company

Young Heroes

Headquarters

Mbabane, Swaziland

Customer Website

www.youngheroes.org.sz

Revenue

$218,500 (Total Revenue - FY 2012)

Number of Employees

4 full-time employees

Implementation Partners

Storm Code

Line of Business

Sustainability, Information Technology

Industry

Public Sector

Featured Products

SAP Sybase Replication Server

History

Grass-Roots support in an African kingdom

Swaziland is one of the smallest countries in Africa, but the growing impact of HIV and AIDS on this tiny kingdom is huge. According to UNICEF, 10% of all households in the country are headed by children trying to raise their little brothers and sisters by themselves. Young Heroes is dedicated to supporting these orphans. The nonprofit organization works with Swaziland’s National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS (NERCHA) to deliver grass-roots level services to young people throughout the country.

 

  • 2006NERCHA asked two Peace Corps volunteers, Justin Garland and Steve Kallaugher, to help create the Young Heroes program. After leaving the Peace Corps, Kallaugher oversaw the implementation of Young Heroes and supervised its first year as a NERCHA employee.
  • 2009Young Heroes received significant local publicity and financial support from MTN BUSHFIRE, an annual arts and musical festival in Swaziland.
  • 2009The Newman's Own Foundation awarded the Young Heroes Foundation a grant that supports more than 40 orphans with annual food sponsorships, and contributes to its education program.
  • 2010Eight cyclists biked border-to-border across Swaziland to raise funds for Young Heroes. The subsequent Swazi challenges bulid on this success.
  • 2012Young Heroes was named one of two top prize-winners in Thomson Reuters' 2012 Community Champion Awards.
  • 2013Launched the Skills Training Empowerment Program (STEP). STEP offers a year-long course in skills training and business education to orphans who age out of the sponsorship program; SAP donated new IT systems, continuing SAP's long-standing support of the organization.
  • 2013In July 2013, Young Heroes became a member of the Aid for Africa Network, a partnership of some 85 select charities working on a broad range of issues throughout the continent.

Business Model

Attracting worldwide sponsors

Young Heroes gathers funds from worldwide sponsors to distribute to Swazi children under the age of 18. This sponsorship program allows anyone, anywhere around the world to select children in need and make monthly donations directly from the Young Heroes website. The contributions make it possible to bring these children the food, clothing, and education they desperately need.

 

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Bonginkoski’s story

Bonginkosi Mavimbela is one of hundreds of orphans who receive help from Young Heroes. The seventeen-year-old Bonginkosi lost his parents at the age of four. His siblings took care of him until they finished school and went to look for work in the city. He’s now living on his own.

Success Strategy

A focus on families

Unlike some other programs, Young Heroes strives to keep families together on their homesteads and in their communities. Instead of supporting one individual child, contributions often go towards helping an entire family meet their basic needs.

 

Young Heroes is based in Mbabane, Swaziland’s largest city, and their operating expenses are underwritten by NERCHA. The organization coordinates fund-raising efforts with an affiliate in the United States – the Young Heroes Foundation, located in Leeds, Massachusetts. The organization in Massachusetts runs the website where donors can go online and register to sponsor a child or family.

The Challenge

Upgrading a critical resource

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Slow system responses pose a challenge

Virtually all of Young Heroes records are maintained in online databases. Real-time updates to these databases are an important factor in allowing the Young Heroes staff to work efficiently and keep the status of the sponsored children up-to-date. But in the past, slow network response proved to be a real constraint and hampered donor engagement.

Enter SAP

Affecting positive change

Young Heroes turned to SAP for support to help improve the efficiency, reliability, and security of their vital database. SAP responded through its corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. The CSR program enables SAP to help non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and nonprofit organizations solve problems to accelerate their missions and affect more positive change in the world.

 

“Supporting Young Heroes goes a long way toward helping orphans and child-headed households affected by HIV/AIDS.”

- Pfungwa Serima, CEO, SAP Africa

The SAP Experience

Corporate social responsibility in action

As part of its commitment to help the world run better, SAP donated hardware, contributed software licenses, and provided consulting services to help Young Heroes upgrade their information technology. This included the donation of the SAP Sybase Replication Server.

 

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Mike Lipton, Senior Director, Supply Chain Solutions Management, SAP

The SAP team worked with United States-based company Storm Code, a Web and content management solutions provider, to develop a system that Young Heroes staff can work with offline and in real-time. Every night there is an automatic replication of the information to the organization’s other site in Massachusetts.

Running Better

New technology contributes to the mission

The upgrades helped the charity overcome some serious bandwidth challenges, and today these systems provide better support for the Young Heroes’ day-to-day operations. The new efficiencies and increased response times also give the staff more time for the important work of directly interacting with the orphaned children.

Benefits

Greater efficiency means more time for the children

The staff members of Young Heroes now have a local server in Mbabane that they can directly access to make their updates very quickly. No longer hampered by slow internet speeds, Swazi staff work more productively and efficiently, and the organization can process overseas donations rapidly. This, in turn, helps Young Heroes better serve the children in their program, and the donors who support them.

 

The benefits go far beyond operational efficiency. The limited staff now has more time to get directly involved with the children at places like the neighborhood care points (NCPs). The children go to the NCPs to have lunch, study, play, and receive much-needed adult support.

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Bonginkosi Mavimbela talks about the NCPs

Today

A new extended family that cares

There is a strong tradition in Africa where children and families in need receive help from the extended family – an uncle, aunt, cousin, or even a neighbor. Now this extended family includes the dedicated staff and global sponsors of the Young Heroes. As a result, life is better for Bonginkosi Mavimbela, and hundreds of other Swazi children.

 

Moving ahead, Young Heroes recently launched the Skills Training Empowerment Program (STEP), an important new program that offers a year-long course in skills training and business education to orphans who age out of the traditional sponsorship program when they turn 18. This training assists them in making the transition to adulthood by helping provide the means to support themselves and their families.

 

Journey Ahead

Standing side by side

Young Heroes continues to look for additional ways to support the cause of HIV/AIDS orphans and their families. Next year, for example, Young Heroes and SAP plan to develop a mobile app for the annual MTN BUSHFIRE music and arts festival in Swaziland. This app will help visitors at the event learn more about Young Heroes and further facilitate online donations.

 

In Young Heroes, Bonginkosi and the children of Swaziland have found someone to stand by their side, support them, and give them hope for a brighter future. Hundreds of children have already received support from Young Heroes. And with better systems and continued donations from concerned people around the world, these numbers are expected to increase.

 

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