Contents:
WCRP AIDS Interfaith Forum : eKhaya Project
Ndwedwe eKhaya Project for HIV AIDS Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children
Community Identity
eKhaya Report
Sisterhood Joins WCRP in eKhaya Project
Organogram for eKhaya Project
Sivelile Pre-Primary School
Mavela (more about...)
Sivelile Creche (more about....)

WCRP AIDS Interfaith Forum : eKhaya Project

The E-Khaya project is an initiative of the World Conference on Religions for Peace (WCRP) Interfaith AIDS Forum.  WCRP is an international organization with representatives in more than fifty countries  and status at the UN.

HOLISTIC APPROACH

Most of the studies that have been carried out in the past two years indicate that there must be an  holistic approach to the question of AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children. Surveys also point to the fact that community –based programmes are in most cases more acceptable than institutionalization.

STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION
Separating AIDS orphans reinforces the whole situation of stigma and discrimination and adds to the trauma that they are experiencing as a result of the loss of their parents.. By caring for all the vulnerable and disadvantaged children together with the AIDS orphans  in the community , healing and acceptance can take place and the children will not have to deal with the added trauma of separation  from family and  community.

COST OF SETTING UP THE PROJECT

The cost of setting up the community-based programmes are usually considerably cheaper then building an institution. The cost of setting up a community project, depending on what structures are in place , would be between R100,000-00 and  R500,000-00.  The most important aspect of this holistic approach is that it not only takes care of the vulnerable children in a very positive way, but also builds capacity for the community. We believe that the project could allow communities to sustain themselves and even develop within three to five years.

PANEL OF PATRONS

WCRP Interfaith AIDS Forum is setting up a panel of religious and business leaders who will be patrons and trustees of the project. The religious leaders will be drawn from all the Faith communities that are part of the Forum – Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Bahai and Jewish. It was felt that donors would feel happier about investing in the project if they knew that there would be an eminent group of  leaders who would monitor the programme.

CRECHE IS THE STARTING POINT

One would start with providing a crèche for  pre-schoolers and after-school care and meals for the school -going children. The reason for this is that many older children, particularly from child-headed households, are not attending school because they need to care for the little children in the family. Even if there is a grandparent or caregiver, very often there are too many children for the Granny to care for , so the older child stays home and does not receive an education.

SKILLS TRAINING AND INCOME GENERATING PROJECTS

At the time of starting the crèche , or even prior to this, a vegetable, fruit , nuts and soya  garden would be planted. This would be the basis of feeding the young people. This planting project , if successful, could be developed into at least providing basic nutrition for the community and at best  an income generating project.

Management and life  skills  as well as skills that could be used to generate income would be facilitated.

Mentoring of the child-headed households,  assistance for the communities with issues such as paralegal help for accessing of grants  for the children, activities for the teens and  adult literacy education could all
be provided at the centre, particularly if we are able to connect electricity to allow us to use the centre at night.

PILOT SITE

The first site being developed is at Mavela in Ndwedwe, an area where we have identified some 300 AIDS orphans and vulnerable children in the area. Ndwedwe as a whole has a  huge unemployment rate – in some parts as high as 70%, so the need to provide some kind of capacity-building programme is essential if we are to succeed in making the project viable.

SETTING UP THE PROJECT
The first and most important requirement is that the community must take ownership and, responsibility for the project. The Forum sees itself merely as a facilitator and all the partners who would  assist, would also be either facilitators , donors, resource persons or educators.

ISSUES TO DECIDE ON PILOT SITE

Issues that were considered in deciding on where to begin a pilot study  included:

  • Structures within the community - physical, spiritual, social, agricultural , educational, health,  etc.
  • Resource within the community - personnel, material, spiritual, legal resources such as assistance with obtaining of grants
  • Access to outside resources
  • Access to and lack of basic human needs in the community - water, power, roads, schools,  clinics, welfare
  • Numbers of children affected and infected by HIV AIDS as well as other vulnerable children

COMMUNITIES INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT

Various religious organisations and NGO's have agreed to assist with the setting up of the crèche and after-care programmes , mobile clinics , skills training programmes as well as helping with the equipping of such centres.

It is vital that we ensure  the continuation and upkeep of these programmes once they are launched. They must become sustainable and self-supporting. To this end we need to investigate ways of creating income generating projects. It is also important for the community to feel empowered and that they are people of value and worth.

IDEAS FOR EMPOWERING THE COMMUNITY

  • Extending the planting programme to become income generating and not just sustaining the children's  feeding scheme.
  • Skills training in many different areas including furniture -making from waste materials.(This could be used in the crèche also.) , management skills, literacy and numeracy classes, extra classes especially computer training,  for high school students etc.
  • Making of  toy and educational materials for preschools .
  • Youth  programmes such as drama, art, dance, first aid and various sports.
  • Care training
  • Craft programmes can be useful, but only if coupled with a marketing and sales programme. It is pointless to have goods which cannot be sold for whatever reason - quality, access to customers, unwanted items etc.
  • Setting up a “spaza” store or tourism market , the profits of which would be ploughed back into the community.

LEGAL AGREEMENT

A legal agreement has been drawn up to be signed by the various stakeholders. This is to safeguard any possible disputes at a later stage , so that  money that had been spent on the project  would not  be lost to the community.
One final  point – It is most important to avoid creating huge monolithic structures. The project should illustrate its  name  - E-Khaya "My Home."


Ndwedwe eKhaya project for HIV AIDS Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children

MAVELA
The site at Mavela is right next to the Tribal Authority Courthouse. The building has one large room and one small room and is completely fenced. It is a brick structure under asbestos roofing and has long drop toilets, piped water and card electricity. We have started renovating the building and some of the Jewish youth have together with members of the Mavela youth painted the outside of the building and created beautiful murals inside the crèche. A school has been operating in an ad hoc way.

Land has been made available for the planting programme and clearing of such has already begun.

We are also trying to get funding to set up a second large room either by building a room or  by erecting a container room or Gemini hut. This would cost about R30,000-00. The room would be used for the after care programme and also to increase the number of children in the crèche.

 The programme will be initiated  in three phases:

1ST PHASE -_ ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CRECHE, AFTER-SCHOOL CARE,   MENTORING PROGRAMME  AND A PLANTING PROGRAMME

  • the establishment of the crèche for young children
  • the provision of  at least one meal per day for the child headed household children.
  • a mentoring programme for the young people would be set up in conjunction with adult members of the community. These mentors would provide help and support as well as role models for the children
  • establish the planting programme for vegetables and fruit
  • paralegal assistance  with obtaining access to child grants for the vulnerable children.

PHASE 2 - EXTENSION OF DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME & SKILLS TRAINING

  • garden project could be extended to become part of an income producing project for the community .
  • fruit and nut trees could be planted
  • chicken coop  built which would allow the children to have eggs and chicken as well as providing income for those carrying out the work.
  • management training, literacy programmes,  home -based care, adult education as well as  training in skills such as furniture -making out of waste, bead work, sculptures , bag making , toy making and traditional weaving are among the products that we see being made to provide for income to make the community self-sufficient 
  • important to have sales and marketing training given as it is pointless just teaching how to make something if it cannot be sold.

PHASE 3 – UPGRADING OF PROGRAAMES FOR CHILD-HEADED HOUSEHOLDS AND OTHER VULNERABLE CHILDREN

  • upgrading of the living conditions for families of children who are headed by children to cover the basic human rights set out in the Constitution and the Declaration of the Rights of the Child .
  • possible extensions to the properties to allow for income generating programmes

It is envisaged that this project should take from three - five years to become self -sustaining.

MAVELA

The Mavela crèche was launched by the middle of February 2003.

The site is fully fenced. The building was in reasonable condition , although the roof should be replaced since it is constructed from asbestos and there is no ceiling. The dust from the asbestos causes people to cough and find breathing difficult.

The crèche building was been painted by some of the youth from WCRP and the Mavela community. They have also painted beautiful murals on the inside walls of the main building. All paint was donated.

The toilet facilities are extremely basic ,being of the “long drop” kind. They need repairs. The water tap in the kitchen also needs repairing and a proper sink needs to be put in place. The tap outside is working well and can be used for  watering  the vegetables.

There is a jungle gym which needs painting. This is being done.

Much equipment has  been donated  in the form of toys, towels, pillows, food, kitchen equipment, small chairs and tables, blankets,  carpets, curtaining and resource materials.  Anew fridge, stove trestle tables and two cupboards were donated to equip the kitchen.

We are looking to  build or erect another room in the form of a container room or Gemini hut. This would  allow another 30 children into the crèche.

We also wish to build a large covered verandah for the older children to use for homework and having a meal on their return from school.

The families of child-headed households will also require assistance with school fees and food for the weekends and holidays. We shall have to investigate how this can be done. Some food could be provided through  the planting programme once we start harvesting.

We have some 250 vulnerable and/ or  orphaned  children from the Mavela area. However , at this stage we shall only be able to cater for a maximum of  42 children in the crèche and probably another 35 –40  in the afternoon care project. This is actually going to make it very crowded, but these children are all extremely vulnerable and it is not possible to turn them away.

NB: The Tribal Courthouse at Mavela has extra rooms and the Induna has I allowed us to use them for storage and also for meetings when the crèche is filled with the little children.

Skills training workshops have been started with fabric painting, card –making, crochet, sewing and bag making as well as new ways to use traditional beadwork.

We have been meeting with Nyuswa community members to set up the centre in Nyuswa which will start in a similar way to the way that Mavela did.

Both communities are extremely enthusiastic and keen to do something  constructive and positive. They have a group of more than 20 volunteers each  who are assisting.

The unemployment rate in Ndwedwe is way over the country average, with some surveys saying that it is as high as 70 – 80 %  These programmes will  benefit not only the orphans and vulnerable children , but the whole community.


Community Identity

No of AIDS orphans& OVC’s 
           
Mavela                                     240
Qadi                                         250
Nyuswa                                    300

                    
ORGANISATIONS / PARTNERS IN THE INTERFAITH AIDS FORUM

  • Bayt-Ul-Nur  (Muslim)
  • Careline  (Muslim)
  • Childrens’ Rights Centre (NGO)
  • Council of KZN Jewry
  • Church of the Province of SA Mother's Union
  • Diakonia HIV AIDS Committee  (Christian)
  • Durban North Methodist Church
  • Gift of the Givers
  • Hindu Maha Saba
  • HIVAN (UND AIDS programme)
  • Islamic Medical Association
  • KZN Diocese of the Methodist Church
  • KZN Interfaith AIDS Forum
  • KZN Youth Peace Forum
  • Medical Care Development International  (NGO)
  • Sisterhood of Temple David
  • TAC (NGO)
  • The CKNJ Human Rights Forum
  • The KZN Bahai Community
  • The KZN Methodist Community
  • Union of Jewish Women
  • WCRP Interfaith Youth
  • World Conference on Religions for Peace
  • World Teach (Chistian)
  • Woza Moya Project (Buddhist)


eKhaya Report

Following is an article from JTA — The Global News Service of the Jewish People. For in-depth coverage of the latest developments affecting Jews all over the world, click: www.jta.org

AIDS PROGRAM MODELED ON KIBBUTZ AIMS TO HELP SOUTH AFRICAN CHILDREN
By: Moira Schneider
CAPE TOWN, July 10 (JTA) — Israel’s kibbutz system has spawned an unlikely cousin at the southern tip of Africa.
An interfaith AIDS program called E. Khaya — “my home” in Zulu — aims to alleviate the devastation wreaked by the pandemic in the province of Kwazulu-Natal with a communal-style setup that includes collective ownership and voluntary membership.
Paddy Meskin, a former president of the Durban Progressive Jewish Congregation and a past president of the South African Union of Temple Sisterhoods, has been involved for the past three years in a broad interfaith AIDS program that she initiated along with the World Conference on Religion and Peace.
Through this work, it became apparent to her that a group in great need were AIDS orphans, some of whom, at 12 or 13 years old, already were heads of households with sole responsibility for their younger siblings.
To meet this need, Meskin conceptualized the idea of a community, which she described as an Africanized version of a kibbutz.
“The idea came to me as a result of the kibbutzim that I visited and those that the sisterhood has worked for,” she told JTA. “I really believe that when communities are in great need, this is one of the best ways of pooling the resources that one has.”
Kwazulu-Natal is an area of South Africa said to be the hardest hit by AIDS, with more than a million AIDS or HIV-positive patients.
The project operates in black rural communities, many of which are severely impoverished, with unemployment rates of between 60 percent and 80 percent and a lack of basic facilities such as electricity and running water. Three community centers are planned, with the first one — in Mavela — up and running since February, and a second in Nyuswa being set up.
An important aspect of E. Khaya is communal ownership and the ability for workers to eventually care for the AIDS orphans, Meskin said. Earlier projects controlled by donors collapsed once the donors relinquished control or funds dried up.
Citing recent UNICEF and U.N. surveys in support of the project, Meskin said it generally is best to keep the children in their communities, as opposed to institutionalizing them.
“In most cases, these orphans have been through tremendous trauma — they have often nursed parents who have died — and this is a way of minimizing it,” she said.
There are more than 70 children in Mavela’s nursery, where children less than 6 years old who are not yet at school can be dropped off in the morning. The service is not limited to AIDS orphans; children vulnerable to the disease also are accommodated.
“We specifically haven’t separated them ,as this would reinforce the stigma and discrimination” attached to AIDS in the black community, Meskin said.
When head-of-household children come to pick up their siblings in the afternoon, they are given a meal.
Meskin and her helpers provide seeds, equipment and machinery to children and community volunteers so they can plant crops, ensuring a steady supply of fresh produce. She hopes the surplus will be sold at a nearby market, providing income for the community.
Another income-generating project will be the production of bags, simple clothing and educational toys, including puzzles with an African theme. On a recent trip to the United States, Meskin spoke to a number of synagogue sisterhoods that have indicated their willingness to assist in marketing ethnic products.
The local sisterhood is specifically involved in one aspect of E. Khaya that provides a “time out” for care-givers, whether they are involved with the AIDS patients or those suffering from other prevalent diseases, such as tuberculosis and malaria.
There also is a paralegal program to train individuals to help others access government grants — an uphill battle when most rural inhabitants do not have birth, marriage or death certificates.
Either through fund-raising or donations, the sisterhood helps provide food such as rice, milk powder, corn and beans for the 78 children and workers in the Mavela nursery. Together with the Union of Jewish Women, members of the sisterhood regularly undertake the 60-plus-mile journey from Durban to the school to play with the children.
While AIDS relief is the program’s primary focus, there are other advantages, Meskin said.
“It’s a good way of integrating communities,” she said. “Many of the urban women have never been out to rural communities, many of the rural women have never been into the city.
“It’s about learning to live together,” she added. “We still have a lot of things to work through as a result of the years of apartheid.”

(Copyright JTA. This news is available to you on a read-only basis. Reproduction without JTA's consent is prohibited.)


Sisterhood Joins WCRP  in eKhaya Project


The E-Khaya (my home in Zulu) project is an initiative of the World Conference on Religions for Peace (WCRP )Interfaith AIDS Forum which is based on the Kibbutz system. WCRP is an interfaith organization active in 50 countries throughout the world. The main thrust of its work is peace, justice and human rights. At the present time working with children in all three areas is a major part of its work, particularly in South Africa.
E-Khaya has an holistic approach to the question of AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children and  aims to alleviate the devastation wreaked by the pandemic in the province of KwaZulu-Natal  by building capacity in the community through various support programmes.
 It was felt that separating AIDS orphans reinforces the whole situation of stigma and discrimination. By caring for all the vulnerable and disadvantaged children in the community one does not discriminate against any group .
The programme grew out of the WCRP Interfaith AIDS Forum and the Hope for Africa Children Initiative (HACI ) programmes. Through this work, it became apparent to her that a group in great need were AIDS orphans, some of whom, at 12 or 13 years old, were heads of households with sole responsibility for their younger siblings.
The idea came to me as a result of the kibbutzim that I visited and those that the sisterhood has worked for. I really believe that when communities are in great need, this is one of the best ways of utilizing the resources that are available.
Kwazulu Natal is an area of South Africa said to be the hardest hit by AIDS, with more than a million AIDS or HIV-positive patients.
The project operates in black rural communities, many of which are severely impoverished, with unemployment rates of between 60 percent and 80 percent and a lack of basic facilities such as electricity and running water.
The first  programme opened its doors in Mavela,  Ndwedwe in early February this year and we hope to open a second one in Nyuswa later this year..
An important aspect of E. Khaya is communal ownership and responsibility and the ability for workers to eventually care for the AIDS orphans through  projects such as the income generating  co-op that has been set up as well as the food  garden which was started in February when the center opened. Earlier projects controlled by donors collapsed once the donors relinquished control or funds dried up.
Recent UNICEF and U.N. surveys with regard to care of orphans and vulnerable children  recommend the  caring for orphans and vulnerable  children in their communities, as opposed to institutionalizing them.
In most cases, these orphans have been through tremendous trauma — they have often nursed parents who have died, as well as caring for their siblings. This is a way of minimizing it.
There are more than 70 children in Mavela’s creche, where children 18months to 6years, who are not yet at school, can be dropped off in the morning to be fed and cared for during the day. When the heads of child –headed households come to pick up their siblings in the afternoon, they are given a meal too.
A number of individuals and organization have been involved in the setting up of the crèche and center as well as providing seeds, equipment and machinery to community volunteers so they can plant crops, ensuring a steady supply of fresh produce. Mention must be made of MCDI , a health NGO whose social worker Zanele Buthulezi , has worked some miracles in getting the community organized. I cannot stress enough , how important it is that the whole community take ownership and responsibility for the project, from the Nkosi (Chief ) down.
We are extremely grateful to Sisterhood for all their support with this project, particularly in helping to equip the kitchen. They donated a fridge/freezer, two tables and two metal cupboards. This has assisted in the running of the crèche on a daily basis and also helped for meetings of the community, since the center is used for meetings of the community when the children are not at school.
Sisterhood is also involved in another aspect of E. Khaya that provides a “time out” for care-givers These are people in the community who care for sick members who are AIDS patients or those suffering from other prevalent diseases, such as tuberculosis and malaria. “Time out” provides for the carers to be “entertained “ and given a break from caring once every two months.
We hope that our  income-generating project which will be the producing bags, simple clothing and educational toys, including puzzles with an African theme will be successful, once it gets of the ground. We are planning to have lovely goods for the festive season.
When I was on a recent trip to the United States, I  spoke to a number of the Sisterhood chairs and a couple  that have indicated their willingness to assist in marketing ethnic products . This would be a fantastic opportunity and we shall certainly be looking at how this could be done..
There also is a paralegal program to train individuals to help others access government grants — an uphill battle when most rural inhabitants do not have birth, marriage or death certificates and grants can not be given without documents.
While AIDS relief and building capacity in the community  is the program’s primary focus, there are other advantages. The fact that women from Sisterhood and the Union of Jewish Women as well as from other organizations visit the center and talk and share  with the women  is a very good a good way of integrating communities. Many of the urban women have never been out to rural communities and vice versa,  many of the rural women have never been into the city.
We have taken the first steps but  we still have a lot of things to work through as a result of the years of apartheid.  As  our sages teach us :”It is not for me to complete the task, but I can not refrain  from beginning the task.”

Photos of Chidren and Teachers

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ORGANOGRAM FOR E -KHAYA PROJECT


SIVELILE PRE-PRIMARY SCHOOL

Sivelile is a Pre-primary school started by a wonderful lady, Esther Zondi, in 1994, to address the issue of the huge number of child headed household children in Inanda She started with a container for aa few children, and it has grown to more than 130 children today.

A log cabin was built for the baby group at Sivelile Pre-primary school.

The container that used to be their room has  become a play and activity centre at the school, as all the classrooms are too small for the children to actively play or perform , dance and sing.

Grass has been  planted   in a small area for the children to play on and are hoping to provide some tricycles and cycles for the children to use in motor skill development.
A  library corner, as well as posters and other educational school readiness puzzles and toys, especially for the school readiness class have been donated.

        
Children at Sivelile crèche receiving beautiful quilts made by the ladies of
Manning Road Methodist Church..

 
 
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