Ikamva Labantu’s Orphan and Vulnerable Children program supports over 700 children in the townships around Cape Town. These include AIDS orphans, child-headed households, and children living in squalid shacks with no food in their homes. Many have no access to government assistance, suffer from physical or mental disabilities or emotional trauma, and some are victims of violent crime and abuse.
In keeping with Ikamva Labantu’s mission to build self-reliance in township communities, we train and support community-based workers to help these children. These are dedicated local women, often foster mothers themselves, who have experienced the same challenges as their clients. The community-based worker visits each home weekly and through Ikamva provides food support through a supermarket debit card. She observes the foster mother’s and the orphan children’s needs and refers them to other services within Ikamva Labantu or elsewhere in the community. This year, we expanded the program, adding 20 community-based workers to address the desperate needs of these communities, even though we knew we did not have permanent funding. These 20 women, who are already trained and functioning effectively in their communities, are empathetic, caring, and are strong advocates who relentlessly pursue any avenue to help their clients. Unfortunately, due to lack of permanent funding for this program, Ikamva Labantu will be unable to keep them beyond October unless we can raise the $100,000 needed to fund their salaries for the next year. We have raised $20,000 through Friends of Ikamva Labantu, our 501(c)(3) support group, and hope to raise the rest to keep this vital program operating, to enable our township communities to uplift themselves.
For more information about Ikamva Labantu visit www.ikamva.org.za