Driven by a passion of assisting the Aged and caring for the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC’s), Siyasizana Community Development embarked on a mission to visit Illovo Township, South of Durban. We conducted a house to house survey, starting from Section B. This township was a previously reserved settlement and is being upgraded to a low cost housing development.
During our home visits, we try and identify families with older parents who have no one to offer them basic human needs, also those homes that are run by orphans. As caregivers we not only care for them, but when arriving in their homes we also attend to their ill children and grandchildren. We provide them with home nursing, feed them, clean their houses and cook for them if the need arises.
In many cases we as caregivers will refer some cases to the organization’s paralegal practitioners that will assist with, for instance, application for ID documents, birth certificates for their grandchildren, application for child support grants, pensions, etc. Mostly these households do not have anything to eat; we would provide them with food parcels.
At Illovo we have developed a very good relationship with Mrs. M Dangazela who is a widow but a woman with a vision. This woman has five children of her own. One of her sons is mentally challenged, a daughter is physically challenged. Out of the remaining three sons, only one is working. Two are unemployed. Besides this burden, she started a Day Care Centre next to her house to care for the young children of the surrounding working community. The number of these kids has astronomically grown to be seventy. So far she has provided employment to five caregivers.She uses two informal structures and her garage which serve as classrooms. The majority of these kids are HIV/AIDS carriers. Some suffer from Tuberculosis. Mrs. M Dangazela is semi-illiterate and likewise encounters countless setbacks to run her Centre effectively. Siyasizana Community Development is raising funds to help improve the existing informal structures used as Day Care Centre to insulated containers. We also discovered that there is food shortage in the Centre due to late payment or non-payment of fees by the low income parents. The five caregivers that work with her are very much demotivated by the inconsistency of their salaries. Mrs. M Dangazela who also acts as a supervisor, cooks for the kids in her own house; allow the kids to use her bathroom as the Centre structures have none.
Interesting facts about Orphans and Vulnerable Children
One of the most tragic results of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa is the rapidly growing number of children made vulnerable or orphaned by HIV/AIDS. In 2004, an estimated 2.2million children had lost either one or both their parents – Department of Health 2007:28. The number of orphans in the country more than doubled between 2003 and 2006 – Department of Health 2007:34.
According to the National Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS 2007 – 2011 – Department of Health, 2007:29, “The worst affected children – those in deeply impoverished households - experience various forms of physical, material and psychosocial deprivation and assaults on their health as a result of lack of parental care and nurturing environment. Often these children are separated from caregivers and siblings and sent to stay with other relatives or other cares or social networks".