Sophakama expands Child Care Support Programme

Sophakama partners with TDH and NACOSA in the provision of support to orphans and vulnerable children in Joe Slovo Township.  The current Children's Support Programme (2011 – 2013) has recently been expanded to also provide a material allowance to each enrolled child as well as nutritional support and pyscho-social support.

With the support of donor funders TDH and NACOSA the following activities are carried out by Sophakama for enrolled OVC’s:

  • Provide social support to OVCs through caregivers , including counselling, referrals, homework etc;
  • Provide nutritional support to OVC through after-school feeding schemes, food parcels or allowances for food gardens;
  • Procure & distribute comprehensive package of material support to qualifying OVCs through Sophakama CBOs;
  • Provide Life skills programmes involving:

-          Monthly workshops for children on their rights;

-          Half-yearly workshops on nutrition and gardening Holiday life-skills camps (Volunteer facilitators, transport, refreshments, training materials, accommodation, meals);

-          Sports and recreational activities

  • Health programmes involving weekly children’s sessions on basic health and HIV/Aids & referral of children and parents for professional medical examination and treatment Support groups programmes.

The project being rolled-out in Joe Slovo, a peri-urban settlement in Nelson Mandela Bay, will target impoverished children between the ages of 6 and 18 who are affected by HIV/Aids. Such children are vulnerable to physical, psychological and sexual abuse, HIV transmission, malnutrition, illness, stigma, discrimination and social exclusion and isolation. The project is build around four pillars which these children will require to improve their chances of success in life:

1. Resilience: Impoverished children affected by HIV/Aids have an immediate challenge to build own coping strategies and resilience so that they are better able to deal with their day-to-date challenges and experiences. The project will offer life-skills programmes and access to social networks (support groups) and welfare support (social grants).  Through these initiatives the project seeks to enable the children to strengthen their coping capacities and resilience and regain some sense of belonging and positive attitude to life.

2. Good health: Good health is a basis of normal life. Many impoverished children would not have a chance to access good nutritional supplies without outside help. The project will help the children to start backyard food gardens, to maintain good hygiene standards, to access basic health care services and to participate in recreational and sporting activities. The children will receive training, couching and gardening supplies to run their own food gardens, hygiene packs to improve their hygiene standards and outfits and equipments to participate in recreational and sporting activities.  Through these interventions the project seeks to enable their children to improve their physical and mental health and general wellbeing. 

3. Good education: For many impoverished children education is the only hope to get them out of the poverty cycle. Through good education, the children’s chances of leading a productive and prosperous adult life can be improved. The project will provide educational supplies such as school uniforms and stationery to the children, individual and group tuition, extra-classes and holiday academic programmes. Though these interventions the project seeks to ensure that the children enjoys their schooling and performs better in their studies. 

4.Good family life: Impoverished families are usually dysfunctional. Conflict, misbehaviour and abuse are usually widespread in such families. As a result children from such families are more often than not likely to engage in risky and dangerous behaviours. This project seeks to ensure that the children’s families are equally empowered and family members are able to care and support each other. The project will provide counselling and social support to targeted families. Each family will receive some basic family supplies including food parcels and clothing and basic security essentials. Through these interventions the project seeks to turn these families into loving and happy households, a good launching pad for the children to venture into the outside world. 

By the end of the project life-span:

  • Participating children improved their positive coping strategies and resilience.
  • Participating children improved their physical and mental health status.
  • Participating children improved their school participation and performance.
  • Participating children will improve their concentration in classes as they will have a meal once a day.