Supporting and empowering people
affected by poverty and HIV/AIDS in South Africa

Our Impact :
some examples of the projects we work with

Our Impact in South Africa

Bambanani: Safe Park in Dukathole , Germinston

Bambanani: Safe Park in D , Germinston

The Bambanani centre is right in the middle of the township of Dukathole. This is a sprawling township home to around 30,000. Unemployment and crime is very high in this area and the Bambanani centre is a lifeline to the orphans and vulnerable children who come everyday. The centre houses a small classroom and office with a toilet and storage area and there is a small covered area for the children to play.


Activities which run from the Centre:

  • Preschool. 26 children aged 3 -6 years come from 8 – 3pm. They are fed breakfast and lunch. Currently 6 of the children are from granny headed households and 6 are known to be HIV +
  • 8-10 home based carers identify the needs within the community, particularly those with HIV/AIDS visiting 80-120 families. They receive a stipend of R750 per month (about £68)
  • Child Care Advocates visit orphans and vulnerable children in their homes every week.
  • Soup Run every Wednesday to take food and medicine to those families infected and affected by HIV/AIDS

See the newsletter: The Bambanani Centre and The Captain

Tembisa

Bambanani: Safe Park in D , Germinston

Themba Interactive recently launched the Safe Parks Project, a four-year initiative which aims to build a layered support system between Child Care Advocates (CCA) aged 35 and older, peer educators (between 18 and 30) who live around the delegated safe parks and older Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in the Ekurhuleni region and various areas in Mpumalanga.

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For the past two years, Themba Interactive has worked at the Inxiweni Primary School in Tembisa.  During weekends and school holidays they train CCAs in basic applied drama and mentoring skills in order to equip them with ways to mentor peer educators who run applied drama sessions with OVCs.
A safe park can be defined as any building or premises which is used and maintained for the exclusive use, protection and, temporary or partial, care of youth between six and 21 years old.
Applied drama and peer educator training also takes place with the peer educators who will run applied drama based workshops with OVCs. The main purpose of the training sessions is to provide care and support, build the CCAs and peer educators' confidence and provide them with creative tools order to deal with their own challenges as care workers.
By offering them skills and support, Themba hopes the OVCs will be better equipped to deal with their challenges in a safe and creative space. The challenges and topics include HIV/AIDS, peer pressure, career prospects, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, crime, poor living circumstances, family pressure, self-esteem and self-confidence.Reboligikile Safe Park currently runs from the Inxiweni Primary School in Tembisa. Activities run from the centre include:
  • Successful HIV/AIDS education run through Themba Interactive drama company .
  • Childcare advocates.
  • Home Based carers.
  • Orphans and vulnerable children programmes .

Our impact - her story : Hazel

Hazel is a young woman in her early twenties with a very engaging personality and remarkable self-assurance and resourcefulness. She has been supported by the OVC programme at different stages of her education and is currently studying Business at the University of Johannesburg – an achievement she attributes directly to the help she has received from BST and HABSR .

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Tembisa, our impact But she can’t afford to travel to university every day, so for the whole of her tertiary education she has to stay away from the family home during the week.
When qualified, she hopes to run a successful IT business and use the profits to set up her own orphanage, which will benefit other young people who may be trying to look after themselves without a parent to support them. Her mother died in 2009 and she’s never known a father. She believes that the answer to survival in any crisis lies in strong family attachment, whatever and whoever that family may consist of.
A young uncle has now moved in to look after Hazel’s younger 14 year-old sister while she pursues her degree course; the reason and inspiration for this is the kindness shown to him by his sister, the girls’ mother. He does casual work from time to time, a day here and there; if he got a more permanent job, he would have to find someone else to look after the 14 year-old, but there would be more money coming in, which would be a great help. This precariously-housed family unit is finding a way to thrive through the help of Child Care Advocate (CCA) coordinator Roseline, who keeps in regular touch with Hazel and her sister and ensures that they have what they need to stay safe and well fed. Roseline hopes that at some point in the future this family will be re-housed where they have access to electricity, running water and better transport facilities.

Our impact - her story : CCA supporting Mrs B

Mrs B is a young widowed mother living in an informal settlement with her two small children. Her husband had serious health problems for many months, so had not worked for some time and the family lived in great poverty, even before he died in July 2012. Now the situation is compounded by the fact that his sickness benefit grant has been stopped and there is a considerable delay before the wife can reapply.

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There is no income coming into this family at all until a new grant is authorised and even then, it is calculated at R60.00 (£5.00) per family per day. They used to be part of a food security programme, sharing the growing of vegetables with others in the informal settlement, but that’s not producing much at the moment, so BSTrust/HABSR’s hardship fund is providing food parcels to help see them through this desperate time. Grief therapy has helped her support her four-year-old and her eight-year-old emotionally, but she’s been struggling for a long time and is not hopeful of employment. Training will be offered by our development workers to help this young woman and her neighbours to reinvigorate the small business they started and to find sustainable solutions to provide an income for themselves and their families. This practical support is available as a direct result of advocacy training BST has supported for our partners, so that they can empower others in need in the community.

Our impact - their stories : Tabulani and Themba

Tabulani and Themba are two of three brothers whose mother died when they were very young. They lost their father suddenly in 2005 and have been looking after themselves ever since, supported by Child Care Advocate (CCA) Catherine, who plays a vital role in keeping the family together.

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Tembisa, our impact She has advised them on all practical matters related to running a home and to managing their finances, very limited as they are. She herself says that the boys’ resilience gives her strength and inspiration and she is also generously supported day-to-day by her colleagues and by the CCA coordinator.
Tabulani and Themba run the home very efficiently, while their older brother works when he can. They are quietly self assured, very committed to keeping the family home going and to each other. They believe that it is the example set by their own parents that has given them their very strong sense of responsibility, as well as the commitment to sustaining family life and to continuing their education. Tabulani is at college, studying engineering, and Themba is looking for a job. They realise that one day they may be separated by work, or when one of them has a family of his own, but they are determined to remain devoted to each other. They talk about negative influences and pressures from people outside, but they are very aware of those and have learnt to resist them because of the support they are receiving. In conversation with them it’s clear to see that Catherine is as much part of their family as they are themselves.

Kwa Thema Stimulation Centre for Disabled Children

Kwa Thema Stimulation Centre for Disabled Children

Miriam is the founder of this pre-school centre for children with physical disabilities and learning difficulties, some of them very severe. The centre was established as a result of her giving birth to a deaf daughter 31 years ago. At the time, her husband believed she had brought a curse on their family in having a disabled child and insisted that they obtain a divorce. With a small group of other mothers of disabled children, Miriam set up the Disabled Children’s Action Group in 1993.

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The centre in Kwa Thema is open to young children from 6 months up to school age, Monday to Friday, though there are two young men still there at 24 years, because they are not able to go to any kind of school. The emphasis here is on what the children can achieve, not on what they are unable to do.
They have special equipment and furniture to stimulate them physically and mentally. “I’m a feeder of disabled schools”, says Miriam who still campaigns and fund-raises tirelessly for a change in attitudes towards disability – it’s still true that many men leave when disabled children are born - and for improved facilities. A majority of these children are also HIV positive, but the rate is gradually decreasing. Care givers at the centre are trained in all aspects of the work, which started in one portakabin and now has a range of buildings, with more in the process of being built.
Funding remains a big challenge, but local companies have been very supportive in providing specialist equipment and resources. BSTrust, through the generosity of our individual donors, is exploring ways to provide further support for this extraordinary community resource.

New Image Rover Crew is a home-based care and advice centre in Kwa Thema township.

Kwa Thema Stimulation Centre for Disabled Children

Stanley Nhlangothi and his two co-founders established it in 1996 – and it remains unusual in having been set up and run by a group of men, though 95% of the staff and volunteers are women and its focus is to support women, children and orphans infected and affected by HIV/Aids. The four main areas of work addressed are: psycho-social support; high transmission areas of HIV/Aids; orphans and vulnerable children (OVC’s) and support for people with Aids.

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Stanley thinks women are more participatory than men, but attitudes have changed and are still changing further. The atmosphere at the centre is palpably welcoming, warm and relaxed. The offer of help to people regardless of their circumstances is open and generous. No pressure is put on anyone to disclose, but clients do appreciate it when care givers and advisers have disclosed their status. Stanley and his co-founders believe they have learnt a lot from women and that being given the opportunity to take the lead in health care and psych-social support programmes strengthens women and raises their position in the community. New Image Rover Crew is one of the beneficiaries of the OVC programme supported by BSTrust .

Lethi'themba

Lethi'themba

A small project in the Germiston region of Johannesburg, Lethi'themba is skilfully run by Lorraine. Up to 100 children attend the preschool every day where they receive education, care and 2 meals a day.

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How does Lethi'themba help?
  • Provides preschool education up to the ages of 4 years old.
  • Provides 2 meals a day (breakfast and lunch).
  • Childcare advocates are supporting the children and identifying those without papers and who cannot access their child grants. Currently there are more than 20 children who have no papers which the Childcare advocates are investigating.
  • Home Based carers, care givers and volunteers go into the community and identify those who are HIV+ or have other related illnesses e.g.TB
  • Sometimes people are referred by neighbours as the community recognises the work at Lethi'themba.
  • It is Lorraines dream to develop Lethi'themba into a Safe Park where they can add after school provision (education, advocacy and feeding schemes) for the many orphans and vulnerable children in the township.

Our impact- her story : Nomfeziko

Lorraine (the project manager at Lethi'themba) notices when one of her 100 pre-school children isn’t well because she cares so passionately about them all. When Nomfeziko (4 years old) started to forget to bring her snack to pre-school, Lorraine knew something was wrong. She was beginning to distance herself from the other children at pre-school and was playing on her own. She would come to school wearing flip flops and a t-shirt in the winter and was starting to show signs of depression and neglect.

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Nomfeziko One of the childcare advocates from Lethi'themba took Nomfeziko under her wing to find out why. She discovered that Nomfeziko’s grandmother was looking after her and her 3 younger siblings but wasn’t using the child grant appropriately. The childcare advocate has spent time with the family, educating the Grandmother about how she can spend the grant wisely and ensuring there is enough to spend on food and clothes.

Tshepo Hope

Tshepo Hope

Tshepo Hope care and Counselling Centre was started in 1997 and has grown over the years from just an awareness and counselling centre to include a wide range of community and voluntary services.

  • Infectious Diseases (HIV/ AIDS and TB)
  • Home Based Care
  • Day Care Centre (Pre-School )
  • After School care centre
  • Social Support programmes (Drop In Centre )
  • Education – Library and Computer Training programmes

Our impact - her story: Adelaide: Home Based Carer

Adeliade is a home based carer from the Tshepo Hope Safe park. She loves her job and is passionate about bringing care and hope to the HIV/AIDs sufferers she works with. She walks long distances and in all weathers to maintain regular provision for the people in her care. She visits one family where someone is living with HIV.

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Life for Adelaide The patient lives in a 4 roomed house with her Grandmother, sister, daughter-in-law and grandson. When Adeliade arrives, she begins with a prayer of thanks and then gets to work; caring for the patient, changing the beds, bandaging her bed sores and ensuring she is taking her medicine. But Adeliade knows that it is not just about the patient, it is the family who suffers too. She councils them and educates them in how to look after the patient.
Then she helps them to clean the house and cooks a meal for them. When they don’t have sufficient items to look after the needs of the family, Adeliade provides toiletries, soap and food. Adelaide is a lifeline to this family and when it is time for her to go the family become upset.
They know that it is not just about Adelaides provision for their immediate needs, but her holistic care for the entire family.

Our impact - his story : Phwelo

Phwelo has lived in a child headed household most of his life. His father died when he was young and his mother abandoned him. At 25 years old he is a shy and damaged young person with very little hope or opportunities. He is living with HIV alone in his empty house and unable to get work.

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Phwelo A neighbour noticed how desperate he was getting with very little food, lack of medicine and no means of getting money and she contacted Tshepo Hope.
A Home based carer now visits Phwelo every week, continually assessing his needs. They have worked with him to access a disability grant which will provide a regular source of income and he is receiving a weekly food parcel from Tshepo Hope until this arrives. The carers also take him to the health clinic near by to obtain the drugs he needs to manage his HIV and they have linked him into the HIV/AIDS support group held at Tshepo Hope. Phwelo’s life is beginning to be turned around thanks to the work of those at Tshepo Hope. Through building up a good quality of care for the community that can be trusted and relied upon, Tshepo Hope is becoming well known. People are being referred there by friends and neighbours as they know that they will be looked after. This trust within the community is enabling Tshepo Hope to bring hope to many people and transforming lives for the better.
Sadly Pwelo has died since first writing this, but lived the last of his days in the care of the Home based carers from Tsepho Hope.           

Our impact- his story : The Chairman

The Chairman works with 207 children under the orphans and vulnerable children from Tshepo Hope. As a HIV sufferer himself, he knows the difficulties that you can experience growing up with the illness. It was this insight into the effects of HIV that enable him to see the decline in one of the orphans he was caring for. The orphan was within a family of 4 children, there was no access to child grants and they were being physically and emotionally neglected.

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The Chairman One of the children developed kidney failure and it was because of The Chairman that the child received medical intervention in time. ‘We are the only ones who notice when children become poorly because we care and because there is no one else to notice and we step into the role of the parents.’ Without the help of The Chairman, this child would have died and become another AIDS statistic. Thanks to The Chairman, the child is now developing well and has a future to look forward to.

The Enablement Centre for disabled people - Tecford

The Enablement Centre for disabled people

Sarah Monare, a wheelchair user, helped establish Tecford in 1987 to provide training, employment, social and sporting opportunities to those with physical and learning disabilities from the township of Jouberton, outside Klerksdorp. Sarah, a Paralympics medallist, now manages the Centre.

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In a bleak and highly disadvantaged area, Tecford is a source of hope for the 60 members who make up the disabled community here.  The Centre earns a modest income from its contracts with local businesses and schools to make equipment and clothing.  For example, under an ongoing contract with a local gold mine, Tecford’s members make special clamps to hold the water hoses to the mine shafts.  T shirts and school uniforms are also made to order by the ladies in the sewing department.
Regular grants from the Bishop Simeon Trust have enabled Tecford to buy much-needed equipment over the years, such as screen printing equipment and a T shirt finishing machine.  More recently, the Trust has helped Tecford to embark on HIV/AIDS Awareness campaigns among the disabled community. 

Mpumpalanga

Mpumpalanga

Set up in 1997, the BSTrust funded projects in this region are split into 2 areas. The northern area has around 23 homebased carers and 21 childcare advocates. The Southern area works with between 21-25 homebased carers and 24 childcare advocates.

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This rural area of South Africa suffers from incredibly poverty which permeates every aspect of life – low employment, lack of a regular income, poor education as you have to travel long distances to get to school, poor health and many mental health problems. The region suffers from one of the highest levels of HIV/AIDS, orphans and vulnerable children and abuse within the country. The work of the carers from these centres is immense and they work incredibly hard to bring hope and provision to the people they work with.

Our impact - his story : Sibongukwanda Nkambule – 24 years old

When Sibongukwanda’s parents died of AIDS his life changed for ever. He was going to school at the time when they died but he found he simply couldn’t concentrate on his work. He was overcome with worry, sadness and depression.

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Phwelo When it came to the time of his exams, not surprisingly, he didn’t do very well and failed his matric – the final exam for secondary school. By the time he was older and had come to terms with his parents death, he found he could no longer go to school to take his exams as he was too old. The only way he could retake the year at school and try again at the matric, would be to pay. But he simply couldn’t afford this as an orphan and so his opportunities in life were taken from him and he was unable to change them.
Home based carers now visit Sibongukwanda and have enabled him to access the grants available to him. He now lives in a RDP house with his 4 younger siblings and his granny lives next door. He now hopes to be able to achieve some funding to access further education so that he can go to work and change the course of his future.

Our impact - her story : Msesi

Msesi is just 19 years old. She is a single mother looking after her 2 children aged 6 months and 2 years. But her own children are not the only ones dependent on her. Msesi’s parents have died from HIV/AIDS and she also has to look after her 3 brothers and sisters.

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Phwelo They all live in a small mud house in the region of Mpumpalanga, north east of Johannesburg. The house sits alone at the top of a hill 6km from the nearby town. There is no running water, no electricity, no flooring and very little furniture. The children sleep together in 2 bedrooms which are dark and empty except for the matting on the floor which they sleep on. Msesi cannot afford to pay for uniform for the children to go to school, shoes to wear, adequate housing, medicines for her children, or enough food for everyone to eat everyday. Her only source of income is the 1 child grant which she receives of around £28 and the pension from her elderly Aunt who visits them every day. Life for Msesi and those living with her is all about survival. Poverty steals from them the opportunities available in life.
Msesi is now visited on weekly basis by a home based carer from one of the BSTrust funded projects. They provide as many food parcels as they can and are working with Msesi to teach her how to provide for herself by growing her own vegetables and keeping chickens. With no mother or father to help teach Msesi about budgeting, food hygiene and child development, the home based carers take on the parental role to educate Msesi about how to best care for her family. Msesi welcomes their visits and is beginning to feel more hopeful for her future and that of her children and siblings.

How you can help?

If you would like to support  BSTrust there are a number of ways to do so:

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