In this month's focus, we look at the work of one of our partners in South Africa.
As people mark the UN Day of the African Child on 19 June, 2009, they will doubtless be reminded of one particularly chilling statistic: there are 48.3 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, a quarter of whom have lost their parents to AIDS.
In South Africa alone - according to the latest figures from Unicef and UNAIDS - the number of orphans is 2.5 million.
Sixteen-year-old Nosipho Zuma is one of these. But luckily for Nosipho, help has been at hand in the form of one of Christian Aid’s South African partners, the Thandanani Children’s Foundation.
After losing both parents, Nosipho attended a therapeutic weekend run by Thandanani – a Zulu word meaning ‘love one another’ – to help her come to terms with her loss.
Thandanani provides much needed support for around 2,000 grieving children like Nosipho in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, which has the highest HIV rate in South Africa.
Nosipho’s mother died of tuberculosis. Although she was never tested for the virus, deaths from TB in sub-Saharan Africa are mostly HIV-related. Nosipho’s father, meanwhile, committed suicide after being admitted to hospital in a seriously ill condition.
Many families in South Africa still find it difficult to discuss HIV. The disease accounts for about half the deaths in the country, but more than 90% of the population remains untested.
Christian Aid support
This year Christian Aid provided Thandanani £30,000 to help run its weekends and other counselling activities.
This sum also goes towards helping households with recently adopted orphans with basic necessities such as school uniforms and food parcels, as well as coordinating a team of community volunteers who monitor the well-being of children in their area and run early learning centres.
Thandanani describes its work as 'filling the gap' in a South African social welfare system that often leaves the poorest families inadequately supported.
Our grant comes as Thandanani celebrates its 20th anniversary.
Christian Aid is proud to have been in partnership with Thandanani since 2002 and has shown this by frequently reporting on and sharing news and stories of its work to supporters in the UK.
This includes Christian Aid’s Christmas appeal in 2008 that focused on Thandanani's work on keeping families together.