Vulnerable Children in Sub-Saharan Africa


Helmsley’s Vulnerable Children in Sub-Saharan Africa Program is dedicated to ensuring the overall health and well-being of children by ensuring the health of their parents and by strengthening community resilience.  We focus on particularly underserved areas of Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Zambia.

With this goal, our Program invests primarily in:

  • Increasing access to essential health services, including disease treatment and prevention;
  • Improving maternal and infant care; and
  • Promoting good health, nutrition, and sanitation practices throughout communities.


The Program works mainly in select, remote communities that face challenges accessing healthcare, including a shortage of trained health professionals. These specific communities often lack safe water, children are malnourished, and there are few if any options for school. All of these challenges diminish children’s chances for a healthy life and keep communities from flourishing. Life-threatening communicable diseases and increasing rates of non-communicable disease also make health precarious for many people in these communities – and when parents aren’t healthy, it’s harder for their children to thrive. Helmsley funds effective NGOs and organizations that tackle these issues collectively.


To have positive impact, we believe a number of interconnected challenges must be addressed.

Therefore, building resilience is at the core of the Program’s grantmaking. At the community level, resilience is the ability to bend but not break when a crisis hits, which is intertwined with the health and well-being of families and community members. Helmsley’s support to NGOs and local organizations is focused on longer-term, holistic solutions to increase communities’ resilience. To achieve this, we learn from communities what underlying, connected problems are impeding progress, and support the changes to turn that around – which always includes healthcare for children, and other opportunities to help them learn and grow into strong adults. We strive to solve problems today that will lead to a better tomorrow – for children, their families, and their communities.


We know that working together is vital to creating positive change.  We value partnering with the communities we serve, their leaders, government programs and agencies, and implementing organizations.

We work hard to ensure that the efforts we support have the endorsement of the relevant government ministries to maximize the likelihood of success and wider uptake of proven approaches.