South African born Hollywood Actress and United Nations Messenger of Peace, Charlize Theron, praised WhizzKids United for their continuous dedication in the fight against HIV/AIDS during her visit to WhizzKids United.
Charlize Theron founded the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) in 2007, in an effort to support African youth in the fight against HIV/AIDS. CTAOP’s mission is to help keep African youth safe from HIV/AIDS. The Project is committed to supporting community-engaged organizations that address the key drivers of the disease. Although the geographic scope of CTAOP is Sub-Saharan Africa, the primary concentration has mostly been Charlize’s home country of South Africa. CTAOP′s approach is based on the belief that community-based organizations on the ground understand the social and structural relationships of their communities better than anyone. By supporting these organizations through grant giving, networking, and spotlighting their work, CTAOP enables communities to mobilize and empower themselves to prevent HIV.
Charlize and her foundation travelled to Pietermaritzburg to meet with partners WhizzKids United, an organization funded by CTAOP. The relationship between WKU and CTAOP began in 2012, a mutual relationship that seeks for the alleviation suffering caused by HIV & AIDS in the Edendale community. The aim of the visit was to further strengthen the WKU/CTAOP network and highlight the work done by WhizzKids United.
Charlize Theron’s program for the day included a visit to a local school, Ashdown Primary, followed by lunch at the WKU Health Academy attended by Pietermaritzburg Mayor Chris Ndlela, CEO of WhizzKids United Marcus McGilvray, District Manager, Department of Health, May Zuma Mkhonza and Edendale Hospital CEO Zanele Ndwandwe.
Her itinerary ended watching WKU Mixed Gender League, a soccer tournament that includes participation from both boys and girls which addresses gender inequality, a key driver of HIV.
Charlize Theron’s first stop was Ashdown Primary School where WKU life-skills trainers demonstrated WKU ‘On the Ball’ life skills curriculum with Grade 7 children.
The UN Messenger of Peace was then whisked away for her lunch invitation at the WhizzKids Untied Health Academy. During lunch Charlize briefly spoke of her pleasure of being there and seeing WKU work in action. Charlize was quoted saying that it was extremely nice to be part of WhizzKids United and that she was pleased with what she had seen so far. The Mayor praised Charlize Theron’s visit to Edendale and also took the opportunity of lauding the construction progress of the FIFA Football for Hope Centre which adjoins the Health Academy.
Marcus McGilvray reiterated the organization’s gratitude for the support shown by the CTAOP.
“I am really grateful that Charlize took the time off from her busy schedule to come and visit WhizzKids United.”
McGilvray also said that the actress’s visit was an enormous encouragement to the community and the staff at the WhizzKids United Health Academy to bring about positive change in Edendale. The CEO of WhizzKids United emphasized the reasons as to why it was paramount for Charlize Theron to visit WhizzKids United; one of which was to do a follow up on an organization she supports.
Amongst the guests invited to lunch was the Edendale Hospital CEO, Zanele Ndwandwe, who hailed the visit as a historical achievement for the hospital.
“In my eyes, Charlize Theron’s visit to Edendale is a history in the making and we are truly privileged to have her amongst us,” said the CEO of Edendale Hospital.
Charlize Theron began her philanthropic campaign this week when she met South African President Jacob Zuma and the Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibe in Pretoria to discuss how to better combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic.