Faces from Nkandla

About Us

The Africa Project at the Youth Conference on AIDS

When we started The Africa Project, we believed that a small group of people working together could make a meaningful difference in the lives of children affected by extreme poverty and AIDS. Our journey began after we saw The Orphans of Nkandla. From there, a movement grew. First, as individual conversations revealing shared interest in and concern for a world far, far away. Then, twelve gathered in a living room on a Saturday morning and The Africa Project was born. Like many who venture down this path, when we began we were not sure what to do or how to help. So, we asked questions and we listened and we responded accordingly. Over the past twelve years, we have learned many lessons, some harder than others, and together are making the difference we imagined.

Board of Directors

The Africa Project Board of Directors is the governing body of the organization. The board sets policies and works to ensure the monies received from our donors support programs that benefit children and families in Nkandla, South Africa.
Executive Board
Eric Bianchi, MPA – President
Nancy Colocino, PhD – Vice President
Aisha Cunningham – Secretary
Lindsay Miller – Treasurer
Nancy McGinn, MSN, RN, FNP – Parliamentarian
Debra Bianchi – Executive Director
Board Members
Levick Bagdasarian, MD
JoAnn Cohen-Bleu
Diana Covey Keating
Kahlah Macedo, MA
Laura Mitchell, PhD
Darcy Purvis
Susana Sarmiento, MS
Annum Zhara
Advisory Board
Steve Knollmiller, City of Irvine Community Services
Nkosazana Dlamini, Coordinator, Sizanani Outreach Programme
Sr. Maria Lindner, MD, Director, Sizanani Outreach Programme
Sr. Hedwig Maphumulo, MSW, Duduza Care Centre
S. Joshua Swamidass, MD, PhD, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
The Africa Project logo

The Beginning

By Peggy Goetz, Africa Unfinished

Africa began for me on
a Thursday morning in January,
a discouraging day. No one
wanted a woman my age on a new
project. The phone rang
on my cluttered desk. We need
you, she said, come to Africa,
write about our project. I had
never dreamed of Africa like some,
thought it too dangerous, full of war
and disease, not a continent for me.
Come, she said again, we need you.
Without thought I said, yes.

Support The Africa Project

As an all-volunteer nonprofit, we direct 100% of the funds we receive from our donors to support programs and services in South Africa. We also work directly with those we fund to ensure that the resources meet the needs of the community they serve. Finally, members of The Africa Project travel to South Africa frequently, so we see first hand how our resources are used.