Isipho HIV/Aids Centre
The Isipho HIV/Aids centre cares for Aids orphans & vulnerable children in our local town, Paterson. It also provides support & education to those living with the HIV virus. Amakhala is involved heavily in generating money and donating time to the Isipho Centre. Twice a week, Volunteers are asked to visit Isipho and focus on both indoor education and outdoor exercise. Within the classroom Volunteers can help with coordination, numeracy, recognition, language and basic social skills. Outside, games are used to educate and teach English, sharing skills and provide exercise to the children. The Volunteers also help by assisting with the vegetable garden, which helps to provide a balanced diet to those eating at Isipho. Nothing from the vegetable garden goes to waste, either by using cut-offs in soups for the children, or recycling peelings into compost to fertilise the plot.
A Homebased Care Programme runs four days a week, focusing on assisting the elderly and those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and their affected families. Trained carers from Isipho have daily visits to these homes and help with everyday activities such as cleaning, washing and feeding.
Isipho hosts many initiatives which focus on the various areas in which HIV and AIDS affect the lives of individuals and families. Programmes such as Youth Day, the Candlelight Memorial Service and ‘Back to School’ to promote awareness into the local community, educating on how to manage and minimise the transfer of AIDS and the facts about the illness.
Other activities in the community which Isipho carry out include visits to areas where drinking is a severe problem and provide an entertaining yet educational message about the dangers to health heavy drinking of alcohol causes.
A parenting skills support group also offers advice to foster parents and elderly carers who look after a child who is affected in some way by AIDS. This group enables parents to develop a family with the children they have living with them and help them through any difficult times as well as assisting the adults to manage the stress associated with a HIV/AIDS upbringing.
8 Children at Isipho are orphans because of HIV/AIDS and have safe housing accommodation within the centre.
The centre also offers approximately 60 children ageing from 2 to 7 a crèche with a further 20 students in Grade R offering early education and daily activities for those not old enough to attend or afford schooling.
Isipho offers so many children a place they are able to call home because of the care, food and safety they receive. The children that Isipho cares for are known as OVC’s, this stands for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, these children need all the love and care they can get.
Those attending Isipho daily are fed breakfast and lunch, with snack time during the school day at 11am. 80 children are given afternoon meals. The aim is to be able to provide 200 children with food in the afternoons 5 days a week. A Food Parcel scheme was set up providing vegetables, samp, sugar, maize flour and mieliemeal to 50 families for 6 months of the year in the local community.
Other community projects include the allocation of school uniforms for the children who do attend the local schools in Patterson. Targets for 2010 are to provide uniforms for 200 children who would not be able to afford the uniform without external funding.
Money raised and government funds also enable the purchase of clothes which are given to the children as Christmas presents. Presents such as toys and toiletries are given at Christmas to those who do not get clothes or uniforms. With the help and support from donations Isipho now owns its own property and no longer live under the threat of being evicted from the present government owned premises. We hope to make the new property into a much more homely environment for the children who live there.
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