Our journey 2010 - 2012
We entered a new dimension during these years. On the surface, it looked like things were improving, as indeed they were - a new modern shopping mall was built in Naas, 83% of formal homes had at least enough electricity for lighting, 10% of homes had a computer and 83% had access to mobile phones and 66% had a television set. Stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS was decreasing and the majority of the population had knowledge about it. This data all shows that economically, at least, there has been progress - HOWEVER - the underbelly of the society remains in dire need of assistance. The danger of polarization between rich and poor is becoming a reality and with it we, as a community, face more challenges. Children are still marginalized, older people are still struggling to survive, the health care is still in need of upgrading and the youth are becoming frustrated at the lack of hope for jobs after school.
- There are still many children traumatized through negative home situations although the Department of Social Services were giving out more grants
- School attendance by affected children is better but too many children dropped out of school
- Hunger continues to be a major problem.
- Some children still did not have the necessary legal documents to attend school and receive government social grants
- The level of illiteracy is still high in the community
- Various pyscho-social-political community dynamics continue to cause many youth to become frustrated and this is translating into negative behavior
- Unemployment is at an unacceptable level : 2011 census indicates youth unemployment at 42.3% and general unemployment at 34%
- In 2012, Mpumalanga province HIV prevalence (35.6%) was above the country average (29.5%) Nkomazi falls under Eklanzeni District which is 35.1%
- Co-existent TB and HIV infection rate is between 60-65%
How we met the needs –what we did
- We continued to provide home-based care, including food supplements to destitute people and broadened our reach into Mozambique
- We continued to help people in Orlando settlement on the border of Mozambique
- We broadened our counselling and training for care-givers, care-supporters and children and operated a counselling service from our offices
- We were able to assist a number of people to get their legal documents, such as birth-certificates, identity documents and other legal papers
- Our drama-team was active in HIV education through schools, clinics and farms
- Our care-centre at Block B village continued to be a centre of support
- We continued with the RECLISA “back to school “program with positive results
- We up-scaled the GOLD leadership program to 10 schools
- We continued with adult literacy classes
- We continue to enjoy a positive partnership with the Local Aids Council (LAC) to do VCT at all the functions that they organize. These functions attract crowds of plus/minus 500.
- We assisted in training local traditional healers about HIV and AIDS and we do VCT for their clients
- We work with the Government Clinic in Komatipoort
- We ran annual Adventure Weeks in partnership with youth from the Bryanston Bible Church from Johannesburg
- We continued with our Peer Education following the “GOLD” program
- The monthly visits to Ressano Garcia in Mozambique continued
- In 2012, 6 peer educators received bronze awards from the Presidential Award program. This is the first step and they are now working towards silver awards
- We held a women’s conference and all the operatives from the project attended
- Our friends from Holland helped up rebuild our education centre
- We continued teaching life-skills and performing arts activities at our Kids Clubs and children continued to win prizes in local and national competitions
- We trained local church members in the Kamhlushwa stadium where 1500 attended
- Another group of children with the African Children’s Choir travelled overseas and performed at many prestigious events
- We had 30 children attending our on-site crèche
- We supported another student at university
- In 2011 another 15 youth travelled to Somerset in England with the ZA-Foundation program
- 120 youth attended a life skill training camp at the Onderberg camp site
- We became a founder member of SALT Alliance
Facts and figures of interest
- We service approximately 60 to 70 clients each time we go to Ressano Garcia in Mozambique.
- In early December 2012 we tested sex workers on the main highway as well as truck drivers travelling to/from Mozambique. The results were encouraging as the drivers presented a very low incidence of HIV positive. This indicates that HIV training has had a positive impact.
- Shongwe hospital and Tonga hospital the two government hospitals in the area are together distributing ARV’s to 12,000 people in the Nkomazi district of which 500 are children. (Figures are estimated and do not account for those attending private doctors)
- Co-ordinators in Block B care center arranged a special day in August 2012 for VCT. During the month 351 were tested. 99 were men and 252 females. A total of 80 were positive (22.8%). 69 of these were females and 11 males. 11% of men were positive and 27% of women. The success, in terms of numbers of people who volunteered for tested, was due to the work that the coordinators did among the community and people are more willing to be tested. HIV stigmatization has decreased.
- Children who have been on ARV medication for more than five years and who are now in their teens are frustrated as they feel they cannot live normal lives. Side effects of the medication can be disturbing as some of these children are changing in appearance.
- Interesting statistics: According to the annual DOH Antenatal HIV Prevalence Survey 2012, the Mpumalanga province HIV prevalence was 35.6% which is above the country median of 29.5%
- Nkomazi falls under Eklanzeni District which is 35.1%
- From 2009 – 2011 the HIV prevalence in Enklanzeni district dropped from 37.7% to 35.8%
WHAT WE LEARNT
During these years
“Theory of change is a key lesson learnt in 2012.” This made us realize that the challenges we face are complex and that we need to deal with multi-stakeholders in finding solutions.
We learnt that due to continued high levels of unemployment, hunger was still a major problem and this was impacting on all areas of family life
We learnt that our children’s and youth programs were successful in addressing youth issues and many youth were starting to take control of their lives and participating in positive activities such as striving to get into tertiary education.
We learnt the importance of collaborative work with other organisations and we have been positively impacted by our work with other members of the SALT alliance.
We learnt that we need to quickly adjust to the changing international donor environment and the increasing difficulties of raising donor grants and funding so we have embarked on a vigorous program to establish income generating enterprises that will help sustain the organization.