America to Africa, H.E.L.P.
HEALTH, EDUCATION & LIFE PROJECTS
America to Africa, H.E.L.P.
WHAT WE DO
0.1 WHAT'S NEW
Our next project is to build a shelter whereby mothers and children can stay and be protected for several days, rather than being turned back to their abusers. The shelter will be the first of its kind in the entire district. The cost to build 10 rooms is approximately $25,000. The work will be done by local construction crews, giving an economic boost to the area.
The disability clinic is now in full swing every week. What used to be monthly has been expanded to weekly. Thanks to our benefactor's support, many children are being helped through therapy. Cerebral Palsy and many birth defects is a big problem in this area due to poor prenatal care. When the clinic first started, there were only 10 children but has now grown to over 50 children receiving treatment.
New dresses for the Orphan Village girls were made and donated by the Spanish speaking branch of the Mormon Church in Paso Robles, California.
The counseling center has been dedicated to the memory of the late Mr. Maurice Gibb, of the famous singing group the "Bee Gees". The funds for the renovations were graciously donated by his loving wife Yvonne. The Maurice Gibb Counseling Center will be able to help hundreds of South Africans who are being oppressed by gender violence and unable to escape their plight.
0.2 ONGOING WORK
South Africa has the 6th highest HIV/AIDS rate in the world, and in the area we work 80% of the population live on less than $2.00 per day with little access to safe sanitation and a safe water supply. In addition to HIV/AIDS, many children are also affected by poverty and hunger in some way. When parents die of AIDS, they leave behind their oldest children to take care of the younger children or they are left with grandparents who are unable to provide adequate care.
Many of our sites receive food, so the children are assured of at least one cooked meal each school day. Food and resources are provided by the Creighton Community Church, Small Village Foundation and Kingdom Kidz. There is a great need to encourage children to complete their schooling in order for them to maximize their potential. Orphans, children heading households and children taking care of their ailing parents are often neglected. They lack the fundamental means of support to maintain their dignity and self-esteem, such as school uniforms. Little Heroes Project addresses this and also assists with school liaison and school work support, coupled with moral support and encouragement to strive for success.
The Creighton Sunflower HELP Centre has become the beating heart of the community in Creighton of the KwaZulu-Natal province. The Centre comprises: Thola Ulwazi Creighton Pre-School, Tiny Toes Play Group, and the S'khumbuzo Zulu Memorial Disability Clinic. The outside rooms have been converted into a counseling a training centre complete with an office, kitchen and bathroom for our work with survivors of gender violence. The veranda provides shade for visitors, it is especially useful for wheelchair users. An old sandpit at the centre has been renovated into a classroom for the Tiny Toes Pre-School where over 50 children aged 2-5 attend. In the centre's beautiful indigenous garden there is a trampoline and swimming pool for the children to get swimming lessons. A greenhouse has also been donated by the team from Kingdom Kidz Pretoria for a place to grow vegetables for the children.
We are continuing our community-outreach program on educating and assisting survivors of gender violence through the Sunflower Project. In 2011 we partnered with Childline to conduct campaigns in local schools and are very proud to have exposed a number of cases which has successfully been resolved.
0.3 WORKING PARTNERSHIPS
Any humanitarian welfare organization cannot function without active support from the community at large and every gram of help, support, encouragement, and kindness often makes the difference between giving up and going on. We salute each and every person who is part of our work; we would be lost without you.
We respectfully acknowledge the following partnerships:
Creighton Women's Auxiliary - Support too numerous to detail
Michaelmas Nursing College - Student Social Auxiliary Worker Program
Biblionef - Library books for local schools
Sibongakonke Community - Physical and spiritual support for children of Hlabeni village
St. Apollinaris Hospital - Monitoring and support of children after they are discharged
Ixopo and District Local Victim Empowerment Forum - Continued district research
Ingwe and District Humanitarian Organization Coalition - Advocacy network for civil society mobilization
HEALTH, EDUCATION & LIFE PROJECTS
South Africa has one of the most shockingly high levels of gender violence in the world and rural KwaZulu-Natal is tragically a hot spot.
The Sunflower Project is based in Ingwe, a resource-poor area of KwaZulu-Natal where the triple burden of disease is most keenly felt. In the entire area there is not one shelter for abused woman and their children - a terrifying fact if you are someone like Bongi (name changed.)
Bongi is a young woman abandoned by her own mother, sexually abused by her uncle and living in a highly abusive relationship with a boyfriend who promised the world and then turned on her shortly after she had his baby. Bongi came to Sunflower on foot, having walked through the night for more than 20 km with her little daughter strapped to her back. Her belongings, including her much-needed identity documents and all her clothing, had been burned by her boyfriend in a jealous rage after beating her within an inch of her life, cheered on by his brothers.
This seems impossible to believe but it is the truth. Terrified, bruised, and completely bereft, she found her way to our door with her little girl, disheveled but safe and happy. The ladies at Sunflower with little to offer have managed to slowly and lovingly help Bongi and her child piece their lives back together. They have lived for more than a year in a temporary shelter and it has been to them their home. It is a humble but safe base from which to rebuild their lives.
Nobuhle (name changed) came to Sunflower after she was displaced with her five children after being severely beaten by her life partner who no longer has any interest in her or her children.
Another young woman who is losing her sight was housed at Sunflower when she was abused by her own brothers after the death of their mother.
The stories go on and violence is tragic, daily reality in our communities. The high burden of disease, poverty, and substance abuse serve as a catalyst to the spiral of frustration and abuse that exists.
Shelter is something that we all seek at times in our lives. For some, it's from the elements and when the world seems cruel. Most of the women we serve simply have nowhere else to turn, no loving arms to run to or safe homes in which they can lock themselves and their little ones. Our dream is to provide such a place - a shelter where love, care, warmth, comfort, compassion, and restoration can be found. Bongi is living proof that they can change their lives once and for all. Bongi's daughter will not slip into the same spiral of violence that so easily could have cost her mother her life.
We all have skills and the commitment. All we need now are the resources to make this a reality to continue serving the most vulnerable women and children find shelter.
Creighton Sunflower HELP Centre
Facility for social work and counseling with a friendly environment for children and survivors of gender violence. Winner of the Ingwe Mayoral Award for Service to the Community 2011.
The Sunflower Project
Facility for victims of gender and sexual violence. National White Ribbon and CPSI Public Sector Innovation Award winner 2006, Woodburn Trophy winner 2008.
The S'khumbuzo Zulu Disability Program
Outreach program in partnership with local humanitarian organizations that provides care and therapy to special needs children and adults for weekly clinics.
Isibani Sezwe Centocow Pre-School Association
Through government and health interventions, further education and training is provided to teachers and students. Food and resources include daily hot meals and toys at the school.
Centocow Leadership Training Group
Founded to empower women to tackle issues within their community. Identified issues include gender violence, teenage pregnancy, hunger, HIV and AIDS.
Rural Animal Project
Project that provides clinical services such as rabies vaccinations for the local animal population in partnership with the local Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs.
Counseling Training and Services
Partnership with Rights for All Women (RAW) from Denmark. Counselors were trained and certified, and stationed in 11 villages in the Ingwe municipal area.
Jill Stokes Memorial Project
Instituted in 2011 in memory of Jill Stokes, a trained nurse and pillar of the community. Seeks to serve the elderly members of our community with health clinics, and distribution of clothing.