BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President & Founder
This all began with a family trip, with our boys Benji and Jeremy, to Southern Africa in 1999. What started as a notion to help out a few school children has mushroomed into large and far reaching projects, a vital aspect to our family life and of course, even a new family member, Thula. I have incredible support from our board of directors, Emma our web designer and Karin our photographer. I also have the support of donors who often accompany me on the trips, which we take at least once a year. I am incredibly indebted to my husband Bruce for his quiet role in this, as he comforts, counsels and assures me. I also have to thank my intuition, as largely this has been a series of projects driven by "gut." And so far, that and really great people on the ground in Swaziland has proved a fruitful combination. I have many Swazi people to thank, too many to name here. The Swazi's are our friends, our mentors and our loved ones!
And lastly, of course, none of this would be possible without DONORS. So biggest thank you of all goes to those who write the cheques to keep these great projects rolling on year after year.
With real gratitude, Pam Carlson
Board Member & Founder
Pam and I began this journey 15 years ago. My role has been one of fundraising and providing support for Pam who has been running Swazi Kids with weekly and sometimes daily interactions since its inception. Our building trips to Swaziland, while taxing physically, have been a wonderful and fulfilling experience for me both personally and for our family and the many friends who have joined us in our projects.
The need to help out in the world is enormous and the dilemma of where and how to start can be both difficult and overwhelming. We have from the outset attempted to provide our supporters with as much of a personal relationship and connection for their act of giving as possible. The Swazi’s have helped in this regard. As a people they are as poor and impoverished as any in the world yet their innate warmth and gentleness is a constant inspiration that makes our work a continuing joy.
Gary, a native of Vancouver, lives in West Vancouver with his wife Femina (born in Uganda.) A retired Chartered Accountant, Gary previously worked with Bruce for 20 years, first with a non profit sport organization and then as an employee/shareholder in Grid International, Inc. Gary says he was so impressed with the tenacious effort and dedication Pam puts into Swazi Kids. He has seen that Pam and so many others, either as fund contributors or by dedicating their time, have dramatically changed many lives, and these “kids” will go on to make a difference in other’s lives and ultimately play a part in the health of a nation and planet. Gary, with his financial background, is especially pleased with a charity that has minimal administration costs relative to funds going directly to support those in need. Gary says he is honoured to play a small part in an outstanding group that is doing such good work in a place where the need is so great.
Board Member & Newsletter and Blog Editior
I am an archaeologist at the University of British Columbia. My research focuses on the histories of Indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast of North America. My scholarship compares the past as seen through archaeology with that recorded in indigenous oral traditions. This research has gained relevance in aboriginal rights and titles in Canada. I also work with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada using archaeological methods to locate unmarked cemeteries at Indian Residential Schools. I became involved in Swazi Kids after my partner and I became adoptive parents of twins from Swaziland.
Keith R. Hamilton
Keith, who recently retired from the practice of law, lives in Vancouver with his wife Sally. They have been friends with Pam and Bruce for more than 20 years. When Pam and Bruce came back from their first trip to Swaziland and talked about their desire to raise funds so that Swazi girls could attend school, Keith and Sally jumped on board, and have been keen supporters of SwaziKids ever since. It is exciting to see the children that SwaziKids supports progress through the school system and, in some cases, on to college and university.
I recently gradutated from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where I received a MSc. in Reproductive and Sexual Health. Before my move to London, U.K., I received my Bachelor of Health Sciences from The University of Ottawa in Canada. I spent my summers as a research assistant for a number of studies on a varity of women's health topics. In London I worked part time as the communications assistant for my school's maternal, adolesecent, reproductive and child health centre (MARCH centre). I got involved in Swazi Kids 7 years ago when my mom (who was already affiliated) suggested that I make a Power Point for their annual fundraiser. Shortly afterwards I created Swazi Kid's first website, and then developed their logo. I finally got the chance to visit Swaziland in 2012, and joined their board of directors in 2013.