Thursday, November 20, 2008

Park West and Thrive Africa

Qwa Qwa, South Africa -- The Park West Foundation is partnering with the ministry team at Thrive Africa toward the goal of AIDS prevention in South Africa. Thrive Africa's AIDS Prevention program, Leadership Summit, teaches students in public schools about abstinence, leadership development, and finding life-purpose through a relationship with God. The combination of these messages is helping young people live moral lives and make wise choices.

Niel and Alece van Rensburg are the founders and directors of Thrive ANiel & Alece van Rensburgfrica. As a white South African pioneering a ministry to the underprivileged in Africa, Niel's life is a testimony to the life-changing power of God. In 1998, after attending Bible College at Waterberg Training Centre and serving as the youth pastor and missions director at Wellspring Ministries, Niel founded Thrive Africa. His passion has always been duplication leadership - training leaders who will train other leaders - maximizing the long-term impact and effectiveness of ministry. Believing that Godly leaders can change not only communities but entire nations, Niel has committed his life to empowering indigenous leaders in Africa and around the world.

Having been involved in missions since her early teen years, Alece's heart beats for the lost. On her first trip to Africa at age 16, the Lord broke her heart for the people of Africa and gave her a passion to return long-term. In 1998, at 19 years of age, Alece obeyed the call of God and moved from New York to South Africa as a missionary. Living by faith, she helped Niel pioneer Thrive Africa from the ground up. Alece's heart is burdened by the AIDS pandemic ravaging Africa, and she has given her life to turning that tide by raising up a new generation of Godly leaders who will change the destiny of the entire continent.

Niel and Alece were married in October 2000. Together they have forged ahead with Thrive Africa, their hearts beating with the vision God has given them to develop emerging leaders in Southern Africa. Currently, 70 Leadership Summit classes are taught biweekly in 7th, 8th, and 9th grade classes in 10 schools.

Thrive Africa
is currently teaching:
  • Living On Purpose - Life is worth living because God created you for a purpose

  • Save Sex - The facts about AIDS and the importance of saving sex until marriage
The classes are taught by coaches - Basotho young adults who are trained by the Thrive Africa team. These coaches have trained (and continue to train) teach, counsel, and mentor their students. Because the classes are taught peer-to-peer - by young adults who are from the same culture - the students' hearts are more receptive to the challenging messages. Genuine relationships are built between students and coaches, providing the students with role models to turn to for advice and help. The curriculum, developed by the Thrive Africa team, is culturally-relevant and Biblically-based.

Park West Gallery CEO and founder, Albert Scaglione, and his wife Mitsie are providing financial contributions and payment for printing and shipping 15,000 copies of the 48 page full-color
book Save Sex; 15,000 copies of the 128 page full-color book Living on Purpose ; and 2,000 copies of the 20 page book Story Tellers. These books are being used in the Leadership Summit youth ministry. Classes are two hours long and typically include practical games, interactive teaching, and small group discussion. Coaches also make themselves available before and after class to talk one-on-one with students.

To learn more about Thrive Africa, or to find out how you can help make a difference in the fight against AIDS in South Africa, visit Thrive Africa on the web at

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