Supporting the Tapologo Programme
Tapologo is an HIV/AIDS Programme that operates just outside Rustenburg in South Africa. The programme started in 1993.
The Rustenburg area, located in the North West Province of South Africa, is rich in mineral resources with many mines in the area. The mining activity attracts a large number of migrant workers to Rustenburg, mainly from Lesotho, Mozambique and other parts of Southern Africa. This has resulted in the disruption of local communities and a breakdown in social, cultural and moral values in the absence of authorities and structures, as well as the establishment and spread of overwhelming numbers of informal housing communities (the biggest of which is a squatter camp called Freedom Park).
As a consequence, the Rustenburg area exhibits a disproportionately high HIV/AIDS infection rate in relation to the rest of the province. In Freedom Park Clinic, 50% of pregnant mothers and over 55% of outpatients were HIV positive during 2005.
As a result of the breakdown in social structures, many people living with HIV/AIDS are living below subsistence level and dying in conditions of poverty and squalor. Where family structures are available it is usually the breadwinner of the family who is infected, placing an intolerable economic burden on the family. Overburdened health services are unable to care for them either which means that the AIDS patient has no place to turn for treatment to maintain quality of life and dignity. In an attempt to deal with this the Catholic Diocese of Rustenburg has formulated the Tapologo Programme, providing home care, nursing, counseling and support services within the home environment to those afflicted and their families. They do this through locally sourced volunteers trained as home care workers. In addition to the Outreach Programme, the Diocese provides support services which include the Tapologo AIDS Hospice, Orphan Vulnerable Childrean's (OVC) Programme and the Tapologo ART (Anti-retroviral Therapy) Programme.
The challenge for 2007 will be for Zahra Foundation to help with Tapologo's Orphan Vulnerable Children's (OVC) Programme. The OVC Programme
Neither words nor statistics can adequately capture the human tragedy of children grieving for dying or dead parents, stigmatized by society through association with HIV/AIDS, plunged into economic crisis and insecurity by their parents' death, and struggling without services or support systems in impoverished communities. In response to this deepening crisis, Tapologo have developed a model for caring for these children which includes:
- OVC Outreach Programme, which provides daily home visits to the children in their homes. During visits children are helped with their homework, life skills training, primary health care and counseling.
- Education & Awareness workshops to equip communities to care for these children so that institutionalized care can be avoided at all costs.
- Foster care, whereby children are placed with families in their own communities.
- Youth Skills Development programme, where teens are recruited and taught skills that have a commercial value eg, fencing.
- Education on income generating activites such as sewing, beadwork, baking etc. are given to ‘guardians’ which include foster parents, granny’s and relatives of children.
- An after care centre and crèche for children in Freedom Park.
The challenge is for Zahra Foundation to help Tapologo set up an After-Care Centre.