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This Organisation Makes Dreams Come True for Children With Life-Threatening Illnesses in South Africa

Why Global Citizens Should Care 
The UN’s Global Goals call for good health and wellbeing for all, and that includes mental health too. The Reach for a Dream Foundation offers the children it works with the chance to be just that, children. Join us by taking action here to support healthcare around the world. 

Thousands of children with life-threatening illnesses across South Africa have had their dreams turned into reality, thanks to a foundation that works to give them hope and courage. 

The Reach for a Dream Foundation has worked with over 500,000 children and has made over 18,000 dreams come true. 

It believes that children can use their dreams to help them in their fight against illnesses, and to help them live a greater and more fulfilling life. 

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One of the children whose dream has already come true is 5-year-old Indiphile Majacimani, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, and whose dream was to have a rocking horse

To make her day extra-special, the foundation also took Indiphile to the local riding school, where she was able to see and feed real horses. 

Another child, 10-year-old Marlon Mohamed, got to meet his hero — rugby player Patrick Lambie, and talk all things rugby with him in the Shark Tank locker rooms. The foundation also arranged for the Sharks and SA Rugby to gift jerseys and hampers to Marlon. 

Now, with support from Global Citizen partner Big Concerts, the foundation is launching a new initiative to bring “Dream Rooms” to children who are in need of a sanctuary within hospitals too. 

dream room.jpgOne of the dream rooms that Big Concerts is creating for children with life-threatening illnesses.
Image: Reach for a Dream

The aim is to build 30 dream rooms in hospitals across the country that care for children between the ages of three and eight. 

These rooms are a “home away from home” for the children, to help them get away from hospital wards, and treatment. Instead, the kids can go to the dream rooms to read, play, or focus on activities that entertain and stimulate them. 

“We found that the kids are bored for long periods of time, and need a place for them to fulfill their hobbies or spend some quiet time,” Heidi Rowley, Reach for a Dream’s Western Cape branch manager, told Global Citizen. 

The foundation, which was established in 1988, always aims to take the children out into a new environment with their families to create “dream experiences” for them. However, those who rely heavily on constant treatment and observation are unable to step out of the hospital, which is why the dream rooms are so important. 

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They give the children who can’t leave the hospital an opportunity to create just as many great experiences in a different environment. 

“This room also allows for the kids to spend time with their families and create memories with them in a more personalised space, especially those who aren’t able to leave the hospital,” added Rowley.

The rooms will also have educational materials, electronics, and arts and crafts, and children will get the chance to interact with their peers, which aids in their development. 

The foundation, with the help of Big Concerts, will raise enough funds to make sure that the dream rooms create no extra cost for the hospitals and maintain the room completely; from the painting of the walls right down to the very last pencil. 

Since launching the initiative in August this year, the foundation and Big Concerts have raised funds for one room at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital in Cape Town. They have also since raised funds to upgrade and oncology unit at the hospital.

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But the scheme has only just begun — and the dream rooms will hopefully make life a little brighter for many more children across South Africa.

The foundation also has many other initiatives and projects which include Camp Sunshine, Queen for a Day, Captain Courage, Show You Care Send a Bear and more, which focus on different ways to uplift children while they’re unwell, and help them reach their dreams. It aims to spread these initiatives and projects to as many children as possible across the country.

Health and wellbeing for people, especially children, is one of the UN’s Global Goals that work together to bring about an end to extreme poverty. 

The Reach for a Dream foundation is using its tools and skills to keep children motivated, hopeful, and uplifted despite their illness — which plays a major role in how they view their future. The Dream Room initiative is vital in maintaining these aspects; children are our future and need to be developed and nurtured emotionally and mentally, not just physically.

If you want to get involved, find out more on the foundation’s website here.

The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 is presented and hosted by The Motsepe Foundation, with major partners House of Mandela, Johnson & Johnson, Cisco, Nedbank, Vodacom, Coca Cola Africa, Big Concerts, BMGF Goalkeepers, Eldridge Industries, and associate partners HP and Microsoft.