By Machawe Ngcamphalala
Caritas Orphanaid Welfare programme is implementing a project which is aimed at assisting most vulnerable children from 7-17 years with health and education services in order to improve their wellbeing. The project is implemented at Siphofaneni an outstation of St. Philips Parish and started in March 2017. It benefits a total of 125 households with most vulnerable children every month (depending on their level of vulnerability) through the provision of services including but not limited to; school bags, study guides, homework assistance, HIV and TB screening, referrals to clinic, HIV and TB treatment initiation, food gardens, and nutritional supplements.
Furthermore, the project presents the caregivers with an opportunity to establish support groups to start small income generation projects in their respective working sites as a support initiative to the project activities for the children. These small projects enable both caregivers and the children to gain life skills such as agricultural skills (vegetable gardening and indigenous chicken production) and handicraft making, thus ensuring independency and economic stability for these poor households through the little income they make. In addition, with the agricultural education these children learn farming skills at a very tender age which hopefully will motivate them to venture into farming as a career.
Moreover, the project initiates community dialogues where the beneficiary children, their parents/guardians, the keepers of peace and traditional authorities come together to discuss issues of human trafficking, child abuse and children rights in order to provide the necessary support to affected households. To date, a total of 165 households have been targeted and reached with the above mentioned services. Again, more than 100 people have been targeted and screened for TB and referrals for medication conducted where necessary.