Topsy Foundation

The Topsy Foundation (NPC) is saving and securing lives in the most impoverished rural communities in South Africa. Topsy partners with rural communities, bringing about change through a multifaceted approach to the consequences of HIV and AIDS.
Dec 26, 2012

GlobalGiving Visits Topsy!

Topsy
Topsy's Line of Dolls

Earlier this year, as part of my field visits to GlobalGiving projects in South Africa, I had the wonderful pleasure of visiting the Topsy Foundation.

The Clinic: A Community Sanctuary

When I stepped out of the car, I remember thinking instantly that the atmosphere felt very different from other clinics I had visited (i.e. busy, harried, over-crowded); the Topsy clinic, in contrast, was located on very spacious grounds, complete with a parking lot, beautiful, tall trees, and patches of green grass on which a group of women and children were socializing. It was lunchtime during my visit, so groups of people were in line to get their sandwiches and drinks. I learned that Topsy feeds all their patients so that they can take their medication, a great incentive for people (who can't always afford to eat regularly) to keep coming back. At the clinic, I spoke with a few doctors and pharmacists, who were proud to show me the stock of medicine behind the counter; apparently, South Africa's government has recognized Topsy's work by making them a distribution hub for HIV/AIDs medication, which is great news for Topsy's patients. They get to visit a clinic that is well-resourced and supported.

Fostering a Women's Social Enterprise

Topsy also provides economic empowerment opportunities for women. It was a treat to get to visit Topsy's skill-training center where they employ women in bead-making and sewing. Here, I learned that the women who work at the skill-training center are in charge of fulfilling custom orders from Topsy's patrons (e.g. conferences who prefer to give their attendees hand-crafts vs. USB drives, for instance). All the women I met seemed very happy and eager to show me the designs and crafts they were working on, including tote handbags and an adorable line of dolls for kids.

More Than Home Visits: Supporting Families Through Loss

Though the clinic is in a remote area, the communities that Topsy serves are even further away. And so Topsy owns a charter of buses that they use to pick up their patients from their homes every day. I got on one of the buses, and we went into the communities, where I met with the social workers whose job it is to check on people who have been diagnosed. Additionally, they also hand out food parcels to really impoverished families (many of whom have lost their primary caretaker due to HIV/AIDS). 

I met a woman who was caring for five orphaned children (none of who are her own). She's in her 70s. She hasn't been able to locate any of the documents that the govt needs to process support for the five children that she's been caring for, so she relies on Topsy's program for basic needs. In the case of orphan children, the government actually gives some monetary support to grandmothers or other caregivers who care for them after their parents have passed. So Topsy helps caregivers, such as the old woman I met, through the legal process. Thus, while she and the five children are awaiting approval for government support, Topsy's food parcels are literally saving their lives.

Gardens of Hope

Finally, I visited a few vegetable gardens in the township as well. Another arm of Topsy's comprehensive HIV/AIDS care is equipping families to feed themselves and sell vegetables. Amidst the dusty grounds and dulled brick of township living, I saw beautiful, vibrant patches of green. "Spring onions, carrots, bitter leaf, cabbage..." an old woman told us, proudly. It would be a great harvest for her family -- including herself and three adopted children, who'd been orphaned by AIDs. Despite the circumstances, looking at that patch of garden, and the pride in that woman's eyes as she proclaimed that her garden was the best in the village, I felt hope.

Thank you so much to Helen McKenzie and the rest of the on-site staff for organizing such an educational, eye-opening, inspiring visit, and for giving Topsy -- and the communities it serves-- so much of your hearts.

Gardens of Hope
Gardens of Hope
Dec 5, 2012

Buy them a moment that matters

BUY THEM A MOMENT THAT MATTERS
BUY THEM A MOMENT THAT MATTERS

Playing with your children. Riding a bike. Coming home after a long day. Moments like these are what make life worth living. But for some, this very moment might well be their last.

What if you could play a part in helping someone – a mother, a child, a teacher – relive their most precious moments?

That’s what The Topsy Foundation, together with Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg, have partnered to do in a campaign that launched on World AIDS Day on 1 December with their “Buy Them A Moment That Matters” campaign.

Captured in evocative photographs of real people living with HIV and AIDS in the impoverished communities Topsy serves across South Africa, these “moments” are now available to the public to purchase. Take a look at the images in this report, that represent some of these moments. We would like you to make a $3 donation to Topsy as a symbolic gesture of paying for that moment of life to continue. 

All proceeds from every purchase will go towards Topsy’s live-saving treatment and care programmes, enabling the individuals it supports to continue to relive their most valued moments and fulfill their hopes and dreams.

 Saving thousands of lives over the 12 years since its inception, The Topsy Foundation is a fully-registered and internationally-respected non-profit and public benefit organisation that provides medical and social relief services from their free HIV and AIDS Care Clinic.

“The recent UNAIDS Global Report  highlights that there is an up to 49% decrease in HIV infection rates amongst adult South Africans,” says Silvia de Jager, Topsy’s Executive Director. “That, coupled with a five-fold increase in government spending to heal the country of the disease, makes it clear that it is now essential to support organisations like Topsy to back up this work with our existing and effective life-saving programmes.”

Launching on World AIDS Day on 1 December, the campaign will extend into 2013, giving the public further opportunities to support this cause.

Lucy
Lucy's Moment ... fun with her grandchildren
Sibongile
Sibongile's Moment .. walking to church
Ntswaki
Ntswaki's Moment ... taking care of her home
Maria
Maria's Moment .. caring for her patients
Hilda
Hilda's Moment ... being a happy child

Links:

Sep 4, 2012

A Birthday Present and Another Plate of Food

Their home
Their home

Dear Topsy Supporters,

With each month that passes we are more and more grateful to you for your warmth, care and support. It is hard to imagine what would happen without people like you in our world. Never underestimate the impact that you are having.

In truth you are saving lives, protecting the wholeness of families and restoring deeply impoverished rural communities who are unable at this stage to do it themselves.

Thank you for offering that second chance to people who have no other option but to ask for it.

Here’s a personal account from our Head of Social Work, Sister Elizabeth Moshe (English is her 2nd language on a case that really affected her):

“This is one case that touched me so much. I don’t know if I will sound like I am sentimentalizing it, but once again I felt like we are, by Grace, giving a smile to somebody who desperately needs our help the most. Today somebody is smiling somewhere because you made just another effort.”

A Birthday present and another plate of food, 09 July 2012

Blessing (not her real name) is staying with her 2 children, one of them is a new born baby (born 16 May 2012) and her partner, who is the father of both kids, (unfortunately unemployed). On the 4th of July when the Social Worker did a follow up on their case, it was Blessing’s eldest child’s birthday but no present or food could be offered to the boy due to home conditions. They are staying in a measured shack and on that particular day Blessing did not know where their next plate of food was going to come from. When the social worker left after the visit, she (Blessing) comforted herself by doing what one can call “self talk” - saying to her boy “Mommy is going to make the bed my boy, so that we may sleep”. These words seem to have come from a mind that wants to hide from hunger by rather sleeping- the time was around 15:20.

When the social worker enquired as to how it is possible that they would have such a long sleep she shyly confessed that they are hiding from coldness. (It was the middle of a very bitter winter). The following day the Social Worker took food parcels to the house, and it was such a joy for them to have another meal to share. Later the little boy was given a present of a new package of clothing, which was recently donated by one of Topsy’s generous donors.”

 

Although this story is very hard to hear, it is at the same time a very clear reminder of the importance of the value of helping others. We are honoured to be able to do this each day, and grateful to you for making it possible through your donations.

 

Take care.

Warm Regards

Helen MacKenzie

Communications Manager

www.topsy.org.za     https://www.facebook.com/thetopsyfoundation    http://www.twitter.com/topsynonprofit

Blessing (not her real name) and the new born baby
Blessing (not her real name) and the new born baby
The Little Birthday Boy
The Little Birthday Boy

donate now:

Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    give
  • $39
    give
  • $63
    give
  • $375
    give
  • $10
    each month
    give
  • $39
    each month
    give
  • $63
    each month
    give
  • $375
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?