ABOUT MSELENI

Mseleni is a community of 95,000 in the north-eastern corner of South Africa, near Mozambique. Mseleni is part of the KwaZulu-Natal region, home to arguably the highest concentration of HIV in the entire world.

WHY??

• Lack of education. Many women in Mseleni still do not understand how to protect themselves from contracting HIV

• Negative Stereotypes. In many parts of Mseleni, HIV positive people are shunned, neglected, or ostracized by their own families or communities. This prevents women from wanting themselves or their babies to be tested.

• Poor Access to Healthcare. Mseleni is geographically vast, for some people, access to healthcare is a two day walk! As a result, HIV counselling, testing and treatment is greatly curtailed.

LULISANDLA KUMNTWANA helps by assisting foster families to care for AIDS orphans, and provides educational HIV prevention programmes in schools. A vast number of churches in the Mseleni region are involved in this work.

Other ways they help:-

Schools Advocacy: Supply school uniforms, encourage children back into school when they drop out. Monitor progress and help resolve problems.

Foster Placements: Approx 2,000 children are currently being fostered under supervision of LK; the foster-parent training is proving to be challenging and helpful.

Psychosocial workshops: These programmes help young people in different areas of their lives. They share their experiences with others and talk about grief and death, life skills, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancy. Those that attend the workshops tend to develop more mature attitudes towards their situation.

Food Parcels: Sometimes children are left to fend for themselves where a foster family has not yet been found, sometimes a foster family looked after by an elderly relative has no income. Where possible and when funds are available LK supply food parcels. LK state that “this is not a long term solution, but when a family is desperate, you need to respond to that need if possible”

House Building: This is only a small part of the work, sometimes only repairs are needed. Recently a new house was built for a foster family of 12 children, “their home situation was awful, the effect of having this new house was to lift them out of depression and desperation, and they have been able to build on that and have improved their circumstances further” Children cannot benefit from education when they are living in appalling circumstances, overcrowded, cold, and wet. They may also be very vulnerable with boys and girls sharing one room.

 

Memory Boxes: Workers help youngsters to create a Memory Box and talk about their parents; this can be a collection of stories, cuttings, and keepsakes, to remind the child of his/her parents. Children might like to keep things like a piece of fabric from mummy’s favourite dress, or a piece of jewellery.

Self Help Groups: Foster mothers are encouraged to meet regularly with others in their community. They save SAR2.00 per person per week (about 20p), and gradually the total saved within the group adds up, this is used where there is a need within the group, so those in need can borrow some of the funds – repaying it by the end of the month with a 10% interest! For instance a large container of cooking oil can be bought and sold in small cupfuls at a profit. Groups make jewellery, clothes, baskets etc and sell at local markets. All under the supervision of a LK social worker.

Foster Grants: Children without documents (birth certificates, parent’s death certificates) are not entitled to government grants. LK employers help obtain these documents!
After School Youth Clubs & Clubs: These are run by LK social workers, and give the youngsters help with homework, games, crafts and skills.

And so much more……………………………….

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