If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

– African Proverb

By 2005, Bantwana’s founder, Gill Garb, had spent more than a decade working in sub-Saharan Africa with communities struggling to cope with the devastating effects of HIV. Despite an initial outpouring of donor funding for the millions of HIV-affected orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) across Africa, little of this support was reaching the communities and families who shouldered the greatest burden and costs.

Inspired by passionate, committed local groups and individuals on the frontlines of the HIV epidemic, and working closely with colleagues in Africa who shared her vision, Gill conceived the Bantwana Initiative (“Our Children” in Zulu) as a way to bolster existing grassroots efforts through management and technical training, with a focus on holistic, comprehensive care.