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NSKK NEWSLETTER distributed by
The Nippon Sei Ko Kai
(Anglican Episcopal Church in Japan)
 
A Letter from Rev. Lynne Coull, Diocese of Highveld, Sough Africa
 
JAPAN 080701-3
July 1, 2008

Buckling down to the eradication of HIV/AIDS and empowerment of women

[The Nippon Sei Ko Kai - Japan]  Every year the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK) has contributed the Lenten Offerings of the year, collected from all the members of the NSKK, to those who are in need in Asian and African countries to help them.

The following letter and report were received from the Diocese of Highveld in South Africa, expressing their appreciation for one of the NSKK’s aid programs, for which we give our sincere prayers.

Report on HIV/AIDS Work in The Diocese of Highveld in 2007

Visiting and counseling the patients with HIV/AIDS

The Diocese continues to build on what has been achieved in previous years. 30 community home-based care projects have been established in the Albert Luthuli Municipality in rural Mpumalanga. On average, 481 caregivers working in these projects make 16037 visits to 3207 sick and dying patients each month. In Ekurhuleni, the more densely populated urban region, the Diocese is supporting 11 home-based care projects where 175 caregivers make 9300 home visits to 1860 patients in need of care every month. The caregivers work closely with local clinics and hospitals and fulfil an important function within their communities, offering care and support to those living with all chronic illnesses including HIV/AIDS as well as their families, HIV/AIDS counselling, education around health issues as well as assisting family members to access social grants in order to reduce their poverty levels. It is pleasing to note that the numbers of people who are accessing anti-retroviral treatment at various sites within the Diocese is increasing thanks to the intervention of the caregivers. The caregivers are currently servicing the needs of 1700 orphans and vulnerable children and work closely with the Department of Social Development. In order to build the capacity of the caregivers, the projects to which they belong and ultimately members of communities served by the home-based care projects, the Diocese in 2007 offered workshops in home-based care, HIV/AIDS counselling, project management, leadership, child care and care of the caregiver. Two ecumenical World AIDS Day services which included the debriefing of caregivers in the rural area as well as one ecumenical World AIDS Day service for caregivers in the urban region were conducted. Monthly support meetings for the caregivers of the 11 urban home-based care projects continue to be conducted. The caregivers very much enjoy these meetings. They offer each other support, share their experiences and workshop various topics of interest to themselves.

Care for the children who lost their parents

The Diocese’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) programme is developing very well. 91 child care advocates have been trained in the urban region. The child care advocates educate families and members of the community on child rights issues. Child abuse cases are referred to the authorities. Our OVC co-ordinator, Bafana Kunene is in the process of establishing child care forums in various communities. The advocates assist families and guardians to apply for birth certificates and identity documents in order to access social grants for the children from the Government thereby also reducing poverty levels. These child care advocates have identified and assisted just over 11000 orphans and vulnerable children in the Diocese. Another 80 child care advocates were trained towards the end of 2007 and will begin their work in the rural part of the Diocese early this year. 31 educators have been put through the Diocese’s Early Childhood Development programme. This programme was established to benefit HIV infected and affected children most of whom were identified through caregivers involved in home-based care in various rural and urban communities. 471 children attend 7 creches /pre-schools and day-care centres. Increasing numbers of children in these facilities are being treated for TB, while others are on anti-retroviral treatment. The Diocese in partnership with the National Association of Child and Youth Care Workers (NACCW) established the Isibindi Model of Child Care in the townships of Katlehong and Thokoza in 2006. This model of child and youth care targets orphans and vulnerable children particularly children living in child-headed households. A third Isibindi site was established in June 2007 in the Rooikoppen informal settlement in Standerton in Mpumalanga. A fourth site is currently being established close to the Swaziland border, also in Mpumalanga. The child and youth care workers are currently servicing the needs of over 1500 children. The Diocese and the NACCW are at the moment trying to set up safe parks for children in Rooikoppen, Thokoza and Katlehong and to this end are negotiating with the Ekurhuleni and Standerton Municipalities to provide pieces of land for the development of the safe parks.

Parishes in the Diocese have been very generous in providing clothing, shoes and food parcels for the orphans and vulnerable children. 10 parishes have started feeding schemes for orphans and vulnerable children as they return from school in the afternoons. They also provide homework supervision, supervised games and sports. Two parish projects teach the older children computer lessons.

Support for empowerment of women

The Diocese has also started a microlending scheme. This scheme benefits poor, disadvantaged women who borrow money from the Diocese at a very low interest rate in order to start up their businesses. A whole variety of businesses from catering to dressmaking, beadmaking, secretarial services, to hiring of equipment for funerals and many others have been created. Some women have used their funding to expand their small businesses and are now employing other women. As women repay their loans, others are provided with loans.

Acquiring new funding is becoming increasing difficult and the Diocese is trying by all means to assist in the region of 70 community projects to develop their knowledge and skills base so that they can be sustainable in the long term.

Hearty gratitude for the warm contributions from NSKK

Please would you convey to the Diocese of Nippon Sei Ko Kai Japan, our gratitude for its generous funding of our Diocesan HIV/AIDS programme. The funding which came from your Diocese has contributed enormously towards the alleviation of the suffering of people in many of our disadvantaged communities.

Notes: This report has been submitted to NSKK since NSKK has assisted this project since May 2003 for 5 years which ended May 2007 as a part of Millennium Development Goals.