American Friends of Phelophepa Train Launches First-ever, Eye Clinic Donation Drive for Under-served in South Africa

American Friends of Phelophepa Train Launches First-ever,
Eye Clinic Donation Drive for Under-served in South Africa

Donate $5 to Win $40,000 Luxury Trip
To South Africa and Day Aboard Train

The American Friends of the Phelophepa Train are launching their first first-ever Eye Clinic Donation Drive, beginning June 4, to raise funds for the purchase of 50,000 pairs of eyeglasses to be dispensed at the eye clinic on board 18-car trains that travel throughout South Africa delivering primary healthcare services to under-served villagers. The Phelophepa Train has served more than 14.5 million people and distributed more than 500,000 pairs of eyeglasses since it began operating in 1994. In a country where 80 percent of people have inadequate access to eye care services and where more than 100 people go blind every day due to preventable causes, Phelophepa has become known as the Train of Hope.

The objective of this fundraising drive is to raise awareness that nearly two thirds of all blindness in rural Africa is avoidable through early detection, prevention and management programs to reduce the impact of visual impairment. The goal of this campaign is to fund the purchase of 50,000 pairs of eyeglasses that the train dispenses each year and to raise money to support the cataract, refractive and glaucoma treatment programs provided by Phelophepa.


Phelophepa’s Eye Clinic Donation Drive involves the opportunity to win a 14-day trip to South Africa for two people valued at $40,000, including a day on-board the train. For every $5 donation, donors will be entered into a sweepstakes drawing to win this luxury trip.

“This $40,000 trip to South Africa, which has been donated, is a way to express our profound gratitude to supporters and give them an opportunity to witness the great work being done by Phelophepa Train healthcare professionals in serving people in remote, rural areas,” says Executive Vice President Cathe Kruger. A general trend in philanthropy these days, Kruger said, is to allow donors the opportunity to engage with the cause they support. “People want to see what their money is supporting; they want to be part of the cause and not just donate towards it,”explains Kruger, “that’s why we’ve built into this trip the opportunity to spend a day on board the train and experience, first-hand, the work being done by Phelophepa to deliver basic health care services to under-served populations in South Africa.”


Included in the 14-day, $40,000 grand prize trip are: two Business class tickets on South African Airways, all inclusive stays at One & Only exclusive hotel in Cape Town (4 nights), Devonvale Golf and Wine Estate in Stellenbosch (3 nights), The private Simbambili Safari Lodge (3 nights) and the Cradle of Life Biopark (2 nights). All internal flights are included as are a choice of adventure activities that includes: Hot air ballooning, whale watching, shark diving, paragliding, sand-boarding and a round of golf. The grand prize trip to South Africa also includes a day aboard the Phelophepa Train.


Each of two, 18-car Phelophepa Trains have six on-board clinics – eye, dental, health, pharmacy, psychology and educational clinics – all fulfilling the vision of providing primary health care to villagers in rural areas of South Africa where there is only one doctor for every 5000 people. The train has proven to be so successful that it has won numerous awards, including the much coveted 2008 United Nations Best Public Service Award for public service delivery.

The Most Reverend Archbishop-Emeritus Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah N. Tutu, longtime patrons of the Phelophepa Train and champion of those it serves, have been instrumental in bringing attention and support to the project. His Eminence and his wonderful wife, Leah, have worked long and hard to bring to life their fundamental belief that everyone deserves the blessing of what the word “Phelophepa” means — good, clean health!

The launch date of the Eye Clinic Donation Drive is June 4, 2013. For information on how to participate, visit


South African Social Good Campaign

South African Social Good Campaign

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