These are some of the reasons why Christian Aid works in South Africa and why the country was chosen by the Union of Welsh Independents as the focus of its recent denominational appeal:
Over 20 million people in South Africa live in poverty. The country has one of the widest inequality gaps in the world
More than one in five adults in South Africa is HIV+
South Africa has more than 2.5 million orphans because of HIV related illness and AIDS (latest figures from UNICEF and UNAIDS).
Introducing the appeal the UWI president said, ‘this is an opportunity to learn about the hardships, as well as the successes in overcoming difficulties, among the South African people. If we can succeed in reaching the financial target, we will be able to help effectively where the need is so great.’
The appeal raised over £200,000, so what has the money helped to achieve?
Sphokazi and Amanda are two sisters whose young mother died due to HIV and the fear to disclose her status.
Sphokazi was 5 and Amanda only 1 at the time and they were taken in by their grandparents, Lindiwe and Eric.
Sphokazi is HIV+ and needs special care. She also has a hearing impairment and learning disabilities and needs special education. Amanda is healthy and according to her grandmother is ‘a miracle’.
The family struggled when Eric became unemployed, and there was virtually no income for the household. Lindiwe tried unsuccessfully to get help from several government departments, when one day she was put in touch with Thandanani.
Lindiwe says, ‘At the time we had hardly anything to eat and this was especially bad for Spokhazi who was on medication.'
Thandanani provided food vouchers, school shoes and jerseys for the family.
"Thandanani provided food vouchers, school shoes and jerseys for the family."
They also ensured that Spokhazi got the medical care and nutrition that she needed, and referred her to a special school for children with learning disabilities.
Lindiwe says, ‘Thandanani are going to help us access foster care grants and care dependency grants for Spokhazi and have promised that the children will always have access to school.’
‘I feel relieved that Thandani has come into the picture…..now I feel there is hope and that things can get better.’
PACSA (Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Social Awareness) has a vision to ‘build the nation, one youth at a time’ and through its day-to-day work using sport, art and culture, seeks to break down the social barriers of race and wealth in the country.
With the FIFA World Cup tournament being hosted by South Africa, PACSA organised its own football tournament during April 2010. 50 teams participated, bringing together kids from some of the poorest communities, with pupils from elite, privileged schools nearby, as well as international German and UK students.
Through workshops held between games, the mini-tournament offered social and psychological support to 300 youths from underprivileged backgrounds while sharing messages about the risks of HIV.
With more funding PACSA hope to build on the football buzz and enthusiasm and equip around 100 youth leaders – girls and boys from privileged and underprivileged areas – to be peer educators through sessions with community groups, schools and churches.
Similar schemes in the past have been very successful in helping to reduce the risk of HIV infection, pregnancy and discrimination against girls.
Click hereto find out more about Christian Aid’s work in South Africa.
Don’t miss our special reports during the World Cup on www.christianaid.org.uk