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African Friends is an international group of non-paid volunteers raising funds for children in South Africa who, as a result of Aids/HIV, live in wretched circumstances.

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Tholimpilo

Tholimpilo may best be described as the community’s response to the devastation of the Aids pandemic. Tholimpilo is planned to provide support and care for the sick in the community. To be a feeding scheme targeting aids-affected children, for counseling and possibly for VCT testing, and for a cluster foster Children’s Home, which can also act as a shelter for emergency needs.

 

Registration


Tholimpilo is officially registered as Tholimpilo Youth Organisation for HIV Aids, with registration number 019-621-NPO.

 

Location


Tholimpilo is located in the area called Imbabazane in the Utugela District of Kwazulu Natal. There are no towns in this area. In 2001 the population was some 120 000, mostly in rural villages in the historic traditional areas. The unemployment is huge, possibly 60%. Many males in particular migrate outwards for employment. There is little doubt that HIV aids is rife in the area. Some research has indicated that over 40% of women attending clinics in the 25 – 29 year old category were HIV positive.

 

Start up


Tholimpilo was started in 2002/2003 and has informally built up a group of voluntary care givers. Members have attended various courses. This group now wish to get a real grasp on the problem. The municipality has now provided 3 buildings and the project commenced in May 2007. To this date, it has effectively zero funds.

 

Short term plan


The immediate action will be to furnish unit 1 as the care giving and counseling base; unit 2 will be fitted as the feeding scheme and unit 3 as the first of an intended cluster of foster care units.

As to the care giving unit - Tholimpilo will source care- givers packs, some 40 cell phones, with limited use capability, so that the rural care givers can text message the centre when the medical needs of their patients become serious and require a visit. To establish a visiting capacity with a vehicle to meet these needs. This will require substantial financial assistance, in particular to acquire and operate a vehicle. As to the feeding scheme – this will initially be in small parcels to extreme cases. However, it is hoped that this facility will extend to a hotel daily meal facility to an identified group integrated into a government program so as to achieve funding.

 

African Friends in relation to Tholimpilo


African Friends has focused on assistance to a specific cause, which it has identified as the way forward in the care of aids-affected children. Such homes have to specifically be registered as NPO’s, and be community operated and community driven. These Homes would be located in rural areas, near schools and clinics.

The area of Tholimpilo is particularly rural with no formal care-giving organizations in place. Care giving to the sick is a crucial element in the community’s response to aids. There is also a crucial need for cluster foster units but this area is more traditional and fortunately has the traditional family to absorb and foster familiar children.

The areas of other homes which African Friends support, have care giving organizations already in place. In Tholimpilo’s case, we need to support a range of initiatives, in particular care giving and children’s residential care needs.

 

Community needs analysis


Concerned community members approached an independent researcher to conduct a needs analysis of the community to establish in a formal way the needs, which they had intuitively determined. The conclusion was a strong recommendation for the needs of a Drop in Centre - Feeding Scheme and the care of children, i.e. cluster foster care. This was to be in keeping with the guidelines of the National Integration Program. This then demonstrated that the community wished to operate within the mainstream of an integrated plan and to bring their informal initiatives into a controlled environment. In their process, however, tit did not wish to lose control over the care for those within their community. They did not wish to have external parties take over the various responsibilities.

Kwamzamo


is a home for Aids-affected children, to the south of Durban. It was started by Raymond Madondo and a local committee in response to the traditional and local leaders’ request to enable these children to be cared for within their community rather than be sent away from their areas to formal children’s homes. There are no homes in their direct areas.

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