News Release

Young American Boy Chairs Donation Project for Orphanage in Umlazi

Max Oliver's project provided support for the Sphakamelo Orphanage including food, equipment and school supplies.

On January 5th, 2015, 14 year-old Max Oliver from Utah, USA, came to South Africa to finish his Boy Scout Eagle Scout project. Max's project provided support for an orphanage including food, equipment and school supplies. 

The idea of assisting an orphanage was born as his family was planning a trip to South Africa to visit his grandparents, Elder and Sister Poelman who are currently serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Max’s grandparents discussed with him the needs and opportunities involved with the orphanage.  The Poelmans said, “We are excited that Max has chosen to plan such a tremendous project in this area.”

The work began in Utah, as members of his local ward assisted him in collecting money, making colourful pillowcases, and purchasing stuffed animals.  While in South Africa they were able to purchase school uniforms, shoes, school supplies, backpacks, propane stove and food for the Sphakamelo Orphanage. The highlight of the day was when the children were handed their uniforms and school supplies.  Phindile Mchize, founder of the orphanage, was very grateful for the donations. The children honoured their guest with traditional Zulu dancing, where Max and his brother Zak happily participated.  Over 100 people from the neighbourhood came to join in the festivities.

 “It doesn’t matter how old you are,” said Sister Vickie Poelman, Max’s grandmother, “one person can make a difference and Max made a difference for many people here in South Africa.”

The Eagle Scout Award is the highest rank earned for a Boy Scout. Part of the achievement of this valued award, includes completing a project (such as Max's) that benefits any religious institution, school or community.  

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