Scintille: a welfare association operating in Africa…and doing good!

Have you ever wanted to make a donation, or contribute to any charitable organization, but you didn’t know which one to choose? Have you ever been unsure about their approaches or about where your money is going and what is being used for?

I do, a lot of times. You can lose yourself between a thousand of commercials (on Christmas they fall down like snowflakes) and so many projects apparently worth to support, sometimes sponsored by touching sick or malnourished children’s videos or photos.

After having seen the amazing job of Action Aid in Calcutta, India, I would like today to do some good advertising for an association named Scintille (which means Sparks) operating in Africa and especially in Namibia.


Le bimbe della Prayer House, nei sobborghi di Windhoek

Scintille is a welfare association managed by Gianluca Massalini, I already talked about him in one of the reviews of my trip in Namibia.

The association focuses on education and allowing as many children as possible to go to school. Namibia is an enormous and sparsely populated Country, which means that often a child should manage hundreds kilometres every day for going to school.

Scintille tries to narrow the gap and support kids, boys and girls forced to live far away from their families for attending school.

Scintille also supports orphanages and nurseries, but focuses on a sustainably support to communities! This means promoting entrepreneurship, especially for women, and avoiding to impose its decisions and projects without involving local communities, the only people who really know WHAT they need and how to solve their own problems.

For an informed choice, Scintille is funding mainly short and medium term projects. It’s not a big Onlus with an availability of millions, so it cannot risk to start a big project that will come to nothing in a few years; I think it’s a widely acceptable idea, if you consider that sometimes helps are really practical: a bus for the kids of an orphanage or a “simple” installation of a water pump.

I visited with my colleagues The Prayer House and here I took the first picture of this article. A quote from the website:

A Namibian couple has collected about 30 children from the streets of Havana, desolate suburb of the slums of Windhoek (Katatura). Among the children there are also some kids with disabilities, who without their support and that of the other children of the ‘House’ would have a very uncertain future. The ‘House’ is currently made up of some shacks in poor condition that especially during the rainy season become almost uninhabitable. SCINTILE, accepting the ‘nth challenge and in the certainty of your support, has begun the operations to build the new housing for the children and to support the whole project.

I think that you can see the result of these efforts in that picture: kids are happy and smiling, because they’re all finally together and somebody takes care and cares about them. Scintille has actively aid for the construction of a new home with a generator (already built and working) where kids can sleep and eat. I cannot describe their joy when they see Gianluca’s pick-up coming closer…


Elizabeth, che gestisce un piccolo asilo nei sobborghi di Windhoek, e la figlia

Gianluca and his association pursue only projects well-studied with local communities. If you’ll ask him, he will tell you about every volunteering projects fell from height because of our presumed western omniscience, projects gone to the cosmic nothing of a reality unknown by managers. Some hilarious example for you-

People of a community that I don’t remember now, located near to a river, of course seriously affected by malaria. A super group of volunteers with thousands fully-equipped jeeps comes there and gives hundreds of mosquito nets for people’s beds. Do you think it is a great idea? I theoretically think it is, but it was not, because these nets immediately became fishing nets: why should I be worried about malaria if I’m sure I will die soon because I’m starving? By the way, this operation contributed to the local overfishing, due to the fact that a mosquito net is not made for fishing and can take also the smaller fishes, killing all the fish fauna.

You can’t go to a place and pretend to know what is best for a community if you don’t know nothing about it: you can also cause damages and not only seem hilarious.

Another community living near to another river (sorry, I did not take precise notes): another big equipped group arrived here and wanted to plant tomatoes. Tomatoes grew in a few days becoming beautiful little plants. Easy, don’t you think? Why anybody did not ever think about it? Maybe because on the river you can meet herds of hippos destroying everything without asking and ignoring sticks and fences. None of tomatoes survived.


Gianluca scambia vestiti con i Bushmen

I could write more than one book with things I can tell you, hilarious second-hand stories or first-hand experiences (what I saw in just one week!), but I hope I have succeeded in sharing with you my admiration for these useful and helping projects. The annual membership fee is just 25 euros, what are we talking about?!

I have convinced you to help Gianluca in lighting some of his “Sparks”?

I have convinced you to help Gianluca in lighting some of his “Sparks”?

Daniele Angelini

Daniele is a web designer, has created the site and takes care of its maintenance and all the technical and boring technical aspects. When he is not around for Italy, he works as an UX designer in a company that mainly deals with graphics and web development. He is passionate about sport fishing and camping trips as a child.

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