Amy Bell Children's Centre
The PHASA Foundation is an NPO functioning within the wildlife management sector. The foundation supports a variety of projects pertaining to research, conservation and livelihoods being undertaken by existing NPOs, and is empowered by various business owners who share an interest in wildlife management and inbound tourism. By supporting one of our projects, you are helping to feed an orphan, provide shelter for a homeless person or support a farmer in need, or contributing towards the sustainability of animals. As foundation directors, we have a very special place in our hearts for children's education. Therefore, we have identified the Amy Bell Center for Children as a worthy cause in this regard. I would like to share some insights with you into one of our ongoing projects.
In 2014, Amy Bell of Weatherford, Texas, daughter of Ellen and Larry Bell of Midland, Texas, passed away very unexpectedly from a pulmonary embolism at the age of 33. Amy was known as a tenacious horsewoman, a seasoned traveller, an accomplished hunter, a dedicated philanthropist, and ‘best friend’ to many. She touched lives across the world. She loved her horses, her many pets, her family and her friends, and she loved the Lord. She lived life with no handlebars and she loved children of all ages to the ends of the earth.
During her short life, she began a very private, but significant work dedicated to making life better for those less fortunate, especially children. Throughout her life, Amy was involved in numerous charitable and humanitarian efforts. As Amy’s travels took her to some exciting new places far away from her Texan roots, her desire to show her “love and compassion for children” extended to projects all over the world. It was her wish that her love for children and her efforts to help those less fortunate would be perpetuated. Amy left some very specific instructions on how these passions of hers and the projects she started should continue. Amy’s family is deeply committed to honouring those final wishes by supporting Amy’s programmes and projects, and sharing her ‘pay it forward’ spirit throughout the world.
Amy Bell Center for Children
The Amy Bell Center for Children has grown from humble beginnings in a small schoolroom in a tool shed to a life-changing ministry for underprivileged children in the small rural community of Cradock, South Africa. In May 2013, Amy Bell and her father Larry made a trip to the Eastern Cape of South Africa to hunt and do some sightseeing with Tam Safaris. The Tam family has several ranch and farming properties in the Cradock area (population 35 000), located about two hours north of Port Elizabeth, a major port city on the southern tip of Africa. This community, on the banks of the Great Fish River, is a lively, progressive community, strongly influenced by the substantial farming and ranching activities in the area. The people living here have a strong sense of ‘taking care of their own’. Several projects throughout the community are staffed and funded by the caring citizens to provide ‘a hand up’ to children.
The Tam family is at the forefront of helping others. Amy and Larry felt right at home with this wonderful family and enjoyed seeing the wonderful ranches in the area, as well as the rugged mountains, rolling plains and plentiful wildlife.
During the Bells’ visit to Tam Safaris, Amy took particular interest in a project that the Tam family had been involved in for several years, namely a small orphanage associated with the Cradock Hospice Good Samaritan Home. Amy learned of the work of the orphanage and its needs. She was especially moved by the stories of the children whose parents were victims of the Aids virus. Amy always had a special place in her heart for children, especially those less fortunate. She decided that she wanted to leave a substantial ‘love gift’ with the Tam family for the orphanage and asked Larry to ‘match’ her gift by giving an equal amount. She had no idea of the impact her gift would have in the months to come.
The Tam family took Amy’s gift and transformed it into a beautiful new building that would provide much-needed classroom space, a small, but very functional kitchen, as well as indoor restrooms for the children. Amy and Larry’s gift, combined with other generous donations, also made it possible to transform an old vacant lot into a well-equipped, secure playground for the children.
At Amy’s passing in May 2014, the world and, particularly, all of Amy’s friends, learned about Amy’s anonymous gift and how it had been used by the Tam family to transform the lives of numerous hurting children. Upon learning about Amy’s gift, her friends and family made substantial additional gifts to the Amy Bell Children’s Center. These gifts enabled the center to purchase a new bus, so that the children could be safely transported to school every day for learning and nutrition, fellowship and support. “Amy’s Bus” replaced a broken-down old pickup that had been the only available transportation.
In addition to the new building, the playground and the bus, the Amy Bell Center has grown to support three local schools and their learners. One school is for children with physical disabilities; a second is for children with learning disabilities; while the third, for children aged 5 to 8, was established many years ago by local parents and benefactors to provide a helping hand to younger gifted and talented children. This school is a multicultural school that places special emphasis on teaching learners to speak multiple languages, including Afrikaans and English, in addition to their native tongue.
The Amy Bell Center has also established a scholarship programme that will enable a child with potential to attend university in the area. A student qualifying for this scholarship will exhibit special traits that include a commitment to excellence in learning, a desire to help others less fortunate, and a clear sense of the importance of being a good example for younger children and siblings.