Poverty and HIV/AIDS in South Africa are prominent welfare and health concerns; South Africa has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS globally, with 5.6 million people living with HIV, and 270, 000 HIV related deaths recorded in 2011. (UNAIDS)
Children of our hospice patients and our paediatric patients are affected in many ways by their own illness or that of a household member. Each child, patient or household member, is assessed for physical, emotional and psychosocial needs and a plan of care is agreed with the family.
Many of our children and their families are living in an informal settlement with very little access to basic services and infrastructure. They face challenges of stigma, severe poverty and feelings of hopelessness daily. Orphans and vulnerable children are less likely to attend school, so it is vital to encourage them to continue their education so that they can become respected and valued members of our society. Our programme provides school uniforms and dignity packs and works closely with the schools to monitor the children’s education and emotional needs. The impact of poverty also leaves our OVCs at risk of sexual abuse because they are seen as easy targets by family, friends and the community.
The purpose of our Orphaned and Vulnerable Children’s Programme (OVC), is to enhance resilience in children by improving their ability to cope with adversities which they face on a daily basis. Further, these children will be able to provide emotional support to their siblings, peers and possibly other younger children living under similar circumstances.
The services offered to our OVCs are:
- Paediatric palliative care and support
- Psycho-social support by our social workers (2) and auxiliary social workers (2) and community health workers living within walking distance of their patients.
- Therapeutic treatment with a play therapist or riding lessons with S.A.R.D.A (South African Riding for the Disabled).
- School Holiday Bereavement Support Group.
- School uniforms and dignity packs.
- Weekly support groups which includes support and motivation with homework.
- Assistance in planning for care and placement of orphans.