Howland Studios has just returned from a two week trip through South Africa, while there our party was lucky enough to visit Kruger National Park. Kruger is famous for its wild animal preserves and photo safari adventures. During our time in the park we made many new friends and were invited to visit the Lillydale Community. This tiny community is nestled in the bush just outside of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. One of our new friends and ranger on safari was named Lennox. He has a special connection to the Lillydale Community and is very much involved with the sustainability projects that &Beyond, a company that owns many safari lodges in Africa, has put together. With Lennox as our guide, we were invited to tour their special village including the school, the medical center, and the orphanage. We saw so many beautiful and stirring images and met so many wonderful people, but the image of this young orphan nestled on a woman's back really struck my heart and ultimately became this painting. Lennox taught us about the mission of &Beyond which is centered on members of the community taking a shared responsibility for their futures and those of their children. &Beyond uses what they call the "take less" and "give more" approach and their mission statement is simple: "Care of the land. Care of the wildlife. Care of the people". This very special organization's goal in 2012 is to build at least three more classrooms in Lillydale. Today the Vuyelani Primary School is literally bursting at the seams. The children of the Lillydale Community are so eager to learn that they often pack in up to 80 students into a classroom designed to hold 30 to 40. The community has come together and collected enough resources to build four shacks (below) to help with the school overcrowding but, as you can see, these shacks are not sufficient during times of inclement weather. The children arrive at school every day to learn math, language skills, social studies and even art. Not completely surprisingly these classes are all taught in English. The majority of these students will be fluent in at least three languages, including English, by the time they complete the primary curriculum. Make no mistake, these communities do not have much to spare and all too often lunch at school is the only meal many students will receive that day. After visiting the orphanage and meeting the amazing women who take care of their families and the community by tending a garden and delivering food to those in need, I felt compelled to do something, anything to help. The image of the orphan boy strapped to a women's back that day turned into one of my most inspired paintings from this trip. This little boy will attend the school in Lillydale when he is old enough and will likely get most of his nutrition and education within those walls. We can help build those walls for him, we can can help offer him and so many others like him a safe place to grow and learn. With this in mind, I have decided to raise money for the Lillydale community and &Beyond by selling tickets to win this painting. For each $20 donation you are entered for a chance to win this original canvas, and $50 enters you three chances to win! Once entered, your name will go into the drawing and the winner will be announced on March 10, 2011 during Howland Studios South African Show at AZ Art Alliance Gallery on 9011 E. Indian Bend Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85250 (101 and Indian Bend). The reception will be from 6-9p.m. and the winner will be announced at 8:30p.m. that evening. You will not have to be present to win but we encourage you to come out that night to see the rest of the South African Series. To preview the series, visit <a Please join me in making a difference. Please help give these children a safe place to grow and become successful adults. To read more about the &Beyond programs you can visit them at http://www.africafoundation.org/. **To purchase your ticket online click the donate tab below. Indicate the amount $20 or $50 depending on how many raffle tickets you wish to purchase (you can buy as many as you like) and PLEASE include your name, email AND mailing addresses in the special instructions during checkout. Tickets MUST be purchased online before March 9th. Tickets will not be sold the night of.