Transforming Communities, Changing Lives
The Mpumalanga Safe Park programme works in the rural north of the diocese of the Highveld and covers a huge expanse of towns and communities. The programme was originally set up in 1997 and continues to be headed by Joana Mhlongo. As the area is so large and cannot be organised by one main site, there are two regional programmes each with their own coordinators. This rural area of South Africa suffers from incredibly poverty often far worse than that seen within the urban communities. Poverty permeates every aspect of life – low employment, lack of a regular income, poor education as you have to travel long distances to get to school, poor health and many mental health problems. The region suffers from one of the highest levels of HIV/AIDS, orphans and vulnerable children and abuse within the country. The work of the carers from these centres is
immense and they work incredibly hard to bring hope and provision to the people they work with. Rather than having a Safe Park site itself, this programme is more concerned with linking young and vulnerable people to other organsations which are more easily accessible to them. See the Save The Children programme above. This enables the programme to impact a greater number of people with less resources. The Northern regional programme has 23 Home Based Carers and 21 Child Care Advocates. The Southern regional programme has 21-25 Home Based Carers and around 24 Child Care Advocates. BIG FOOD GARDENS This is a new initiative which our partner HABSR has negotiated with a local organisation who are looking to start Big Food Tunnels throughout many of the Safe Parks Within the diocese. This is an exciting and adventurous programme which will enable sustainability and enhance the HIV/AIDS work of the HBC’s.
Linked to this, our SEJO appeal in 2012 has been a huge success. This is a nutritional supplement which people living with HIV/AIDS can take along with their medication which is vital to ensure they continue in good health. Along with the big food gardens programme, we will be able to see a greater number of those living with HIV/AIDs living more fulfilled, longer and healthier lives. Caregivers Mass One sad part of the HBC’s role is when patients and family members die and our partner HABSR has reinstated bi-monthly Caregivers Mass services (see above) where they remember those that have past away in the previous months. These are important to the HBC’s and the communities in which they serve, helping to heal emotions and create a greater sense of community spirit. These services are also encouraging more acceptance of the work of the HBC’s and trust within the communities which in turn is making their jobs easier. .
Transforming Communities, Changing Lives
Msesi is just 19 years old. She is a single mother looking after her 2 children aged 6 months and 2 years. But her own children are not the only ones dependent on her. Msesiâ€™s parents have died from HIV/AIDS and she also has to look after her 3 brothers and sisters. They all live in a small mud house in the region of Mpumalanga, north east of Johannesburg. The house sits alone at the top of a hill 6km from the nearby town. There is no running water, no electricity, no flooring and very little furniture. The children sleep together in 2 bedrooms which are dark and empty except for the matting on the floor which they sleep on. Msesi cannot afford to pay for uniform for the children to go to school, shoes to wear, adequate housing, and medicines for her children, or enough
food for everyone to eat everyday. Her only source of income is the 1 child grant which she receives of around ÂŁ28 and the pension from her elderly Aunt who visits them every day. Life for Msesi and those living with her is all about survival. Poverty steals from them the opportunities available in life. Msesi is now visited on weekly basis by a home based carer from one of the BSTrust funded Safe Parks. They provide food parcels and medicines and are working with Msesi to teach her how to provide for herself by growing her own vegetables and keeping chickens. With no mother or father to help teach Msesi about budgeting, food hygiene and child development, the home based carers take on the parental role to educate Msesi about how to best care for her family. Msesi welcomes their visits and is beginning to feel more hopeful for her future and that of her children and siblings.
Mpumalanga wish list Home Based Carer: R750 a month Home Based Carers Resources: R400 Child Care Advocate: R850 a month Training and Debriefing per carer: R38 IT equipment: R10,000 Nutrition Programme: R3000 per month Food Garden resources: R5,000