SABC News, Relief aid for Eastern Cape Aids orphans, 29 August 2004

South Africa is currently faced with the escalating number of children orphaned by the HIV/Aids pandemic and TB. A community in the Eastern Cape has decided to lend a helping hand to these children.

Sinethemba child care centre a place of hope for the children, who've lost their loved ones to HIV/Aids or TB. They've been rescued from eight surrounding villages and are being cared for by volunteers. The children are taught basic life skills and encouraged to finish school. Staff from the local clinic, who initiated the project, now aims to also provide assistance to parents.

Pumla Mdladlana, the project manger, says they wish there could be a hospice built next to the centre, so that some of the mothers who are terminally ill could spend their last few days with their children. She says it becomes extremely painful when dying mothers start asking about their children.

Government has also promised to support this initiative. Neo Moerane-Mamase, the Eastern Cape Social development MEC, says the government has challenged NGOs, traditional leaders and other community structures to help in the fight against HIV/Aids and TB. He says they want to ensure that all these children, be they from townships or rural areas get access to government services, so that they can get help and live a normal life. Spoornet contributed R500 000 towards renovating the building, bedding and fencing. A further R300 000 for a bakery is on the cards.




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