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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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One of our methods for generating the required funds is by selling ornaments which are made in South Africa.

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What we do

The niche we have identified is that of community based, Aids affected children’s homes, which at this point are funded by the communities and do not get government grants. These are known as Emergent Homes, which need help to get into the mainstream of formal welfare, so that they can emerge as sustainable, government funded homes. These homes are started by local community groups, in response to traditional leaders' requests to address obvious social needs. They wish to care for their own, within their own communities, with their own volunteers and take responsibility and ownership of their community needs. They wish to remain small-scale homes (24 to 36 children at this stage) so as to avoid an institutional feeling.

These homes have not evolved from a formal approach which would include needs analyses, location studies, target profiles etc. Instead, they have arisen from intuitive knowledge of the vital needs of the communities. At the same time they are committed to good governance and will produce annual reports and allow their affairs to be externally scrutinized by auditors.

The properties have been altered, so as to be suitable for use as cluster foster units and at this point we are rebuilding the properties accordingly. The projects have four units of six children, with one foster mother per unit. Four bedrooms, a lounge, kitchen and bathroom with shower and toilet per foster unit. In addition to the actual building, these homes need everything, from basic needs such as toilets and washrooms so that the properties can be approved for social welfare, the first basic need, to furniture, beds, knives and forks, as well as stipends for hands-on staff who work for little pay, school fees, clothing, and the whole gamut of needs. This is all in process and the units will soon be ready one by one.

The homes are located within their communities, near schools, clinics and roads so as to reduce costs and keep them viable. These homes also intend to become a focus for Aids in other respects in their community. The foster mothers, who are appointed for life, can live off the grant that the children get from social welfare. A normal family life is copied closely. A foster care family must provide a warm, loving safe place for children who didn't have any hope before that. A home where they can be happy and work towards a positive future. Social Welfare and an appointed project coordinator will monitor these clusters closely.

The foster mother has to report to the project coordinator. Whilst this position is a paid position, this is in effect a stipend. This coordinator is a respected and capable local community member. The project coordinator reports to the board and the board will report to Social Welfare.

Recently the boards have been asked to look into expanding the projects into community support centers. These may include a feeding scheme, a drop-in centre, giving care to the sick, in particular to the aids-affected people, and the homes can be used as a shelter, i.e. a form of crisis care unit. It is envisaged that these additional projects will be funded by Social Welfare. The projects also provide jobs for the local community. It is also envisaged to provide income-generating projects. Establishing this additional service is in process.

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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