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.
Oct 17, 2011

The Topsy Foundation is at a Crucial Stage.

At the Topsy Free Clinic
At the Topsy Free Clinic

Dear Topsy Supporters,

 Your generosity is deeply valued by all of us here at the Topsy Foundation. You are the fuel for the engine that must keep working to give life-saving and community building services to our impoverished rural communities.

Right now we are at a crucial stage. There are 2 key aspects that have come together now.

Firstly, with ten years of service behind us, the word continues to spread in our impoverished  and isolated rural communities that Topsy is the place to go for help. We are so humbled by the recognition that our beneficiaries give to our work. They remind us daily and keep us inspired to continue to strive to offer them our very best. 

Everything that Topsy does centres around our core services extending from our Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care Clinic (CHACC). When we reflect on the growth of the uptake of Clinic services, we can see both a dire need in the communities as well as the good reputation of Topsy filtering through to those people in need. To take a snapshot in time – in 4 years we have grown from attending to an average of 546 patients per month (2008) to a caseload of 2 754 per month today.

Our patients value the fact that at Topsy we take a holistic approach to ensuring the best treatment for HIV and AIDS – taking into account medical and social aspects affecting people. This is evidenced by the range of our services which include:

Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Project

Vegetable Gardening Project

Home-Based Care

ARV Therapy

Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission

Cervical Cancer Screening

Tuberculosis Diagnosis and Treatment

Skills Training. 

As we go from strength to strength in our abilities to help more people to not only handle their illness, but to develop their communities, we must strongly consider the second aspect.


This aspect is sustainability. It is essential that we are able to provide consistent support and provision to our beneficiaries. At Topsy we ensure that this is possible through a long-term fundraising strategy and an approach to service delivery that is both effective and efficient.

With the changes in giving behaviour brought on by the last few years of global economic pressure, we are mindful of the value of each and every one of our generous supporters. We appeal to you to continue to share what you can with those living in desperate need and very few options. 

A great opportunity to do this will be this WEDNESDAY 19th OCTOBER. is matching at 30% all online donations up to $1,000 per donor per project!  There is $100,000 available in matching funds on 19th OCTOBER. If you feel that Topsy’s work is something that you’d like to be a part of – then helping us through an online donation is the perfect way to do that.

We would very much like to take this opportunity to thank you again for all of your support and continued belief in the value of Topsy’s offering to our beneficiaries. Please continue to help us to save lives and build impoverished rural communities. 

Warm Regards

Helen MacKenzie

Communications Manager

Jul 25, 2011

More than 2000 children assisted with your help!

Dear Supporters, 

We are proud to report the figures of children assisted in our current financial year per month-

April 2011- 2221

May 2011- 2035

June 2011- 2056

The Foundation’s project for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) has grown naturally from our involvement in the Home-Based Care Project. As our fieldworkers care for and support people living with HIV and AIDS and their families, they know when a child is vulnerable and/or becomes orphaned.

In typical cases, we can collaborate with government to help the child find a home with an appropriate relative. Beyond that, there are a number of difficulties that both the child and caregivers face where we may assist. In other cases, where the parents are still alive, children and their families are subject to other challenges. In all cases, there are usually socio-economic pressure and hardship, including high unemployment.

We realized that we are uniquely positioned to continue to do more to help these children, and to the caregivers who take the children in. As we have developed a sustainable and revolving support system, we are able to help many children, whether we find them through our Home-Based Care beneficiaries or not. Topsy’s Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Project was launched in 2002, and has evolved as time and the communities’ needs have been monitored. 

Today there are a number of core activities involved, and all serve to offer these children both an immediate lifeline and a framework for moving forward with an improved quality of life and stability. These core offerings are providing food parcels, school fees and clothing, (ensuring that the children are going to school), and crucially helping the caregiver to access a social welfare grant. Once the grant is obtained and the family is stabilized, we can then move on to help the next family and children who are in dire need.

A highlight in this time has been the employment of another social worker, which has enhanced the sharing of workload and increased efficacy. We have seen continued proper monitoring of families, equality of distribution of care, quality budgeting and relationships continuing to build in trust and strength.

A great development has been the implementation of a computerized data capturing system. With the ability to easily capture, monitor, maintain and update beneficiary information, we have seen even more improvement and ease in our administration of this and other projects. In fact, another of our strengths as an organization is the ability to link each project through support, staff networking, team co-ordination and mutual assistance.

Each project links to the others in terms of outcome – at the end of the day, the outcome for the beneficiary remains our guiding priority. The OVC project links specifically with the Vegetable Gardening Project, Voluntary Counseling and Testing Project and of course Home-Based Care Project.

The support of individuals and of companies has enabled us to provide comprehensive support to over 2000 children on a monthly basis and we thank you for making this possible.

Apr 1, 2011

Over 1600 children now assisted!

Dear Supporters,

Since we last reported, the number of children we assist on a monthly basis has risen to over 1600! This is due to the support we have received from all of you and we cannot thank you enough for reaching out to us and donating to our cause. 

There are a number of core activities involved in our Orphaned and Vulnerable Children's Project - and all serve to offer children both an immediate lifeline as well as a framework for moving forward with an improved quality of life and stability. These core offerings are providing food parcels, school fees and clothing, (seeing that the children are going to school) – and crucially helping the Caregiver to access a social welfare grant. Once the grant is obtained and the family is stabilised, we can then move to helping the next family and children who are in dire need. We assist not only Granny headed households, but also those where there are no permanent adult caregivers. This is where we are so glad that our Topsy Fieldworkers live in the communities that we serve – to give that genuine personal support and caring.

The Vegetable Garden Project is tied to the Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Project. In each case where Topsy determines to work with Caregivers and their children, the setting up of a vegetable garden is mandatory.

Over the last year our social work team has helped an average of 108 households per month – which in turn involved an average of 274 children monthly.

The average number of beneficiaries supported through the communal vegetable gardens per month during over the last year is 564, and the average number supported through individual gardens is 758.

An average of 498 beneficiaries per month have been helped with emergency food parcels over the same time. 179 Children attend our Clinic each month for free Anti Retroviral Treatment and an average of over 1600 children per month were assisted in total. 

In addition to the essential services offered to the children in our OVC project, we make sure that we take every opportunity to bring more joy and comfort to their very difficult lives. A fantastic opportunity to do this is Easter time.

We aim to bring Easter Eggs and blankets to the children we serve. A good start on this road so far has been a lovely donation of Easter Eggs. The Johannesburg Mini Council of school children spend a great deal of time and effort collecting many eggs to distribute to various charities. Once again this year Topsy was chosen to receive these chocolate Easter Eggs. We went to collect them from those children and now look forward to distributing them to our children. It is these seemingly small gifts and experiences that we can provide to children to make a big improvement in the quality of their lives.

Life is hard for the Orphaned and Vulnerable Children who benefit from this project. It is also really difficult for the caregivers of these children as most often, they are old and at a stage of life where they need to slow down. Gogo Wendy would like to share her story with you-

Gogo Wendy’s story

Client story:   Wendy Simelane (name changed to protect her identity)

Community:  Cornelia (Free State) +- 70km from our Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care Clinic

                     and central project site in Mpumalanga


Wendy Simelane was born in 1941.06.11. She is a guardian to eight orphans, 6 of these children are attending school, 1 is at the nursery school and there is also a 5 months old baby.

Her son passed away in 2008. He had left one child who has also since passed away.  In 2009 her daughter passed away too. She had just started to attend the Topsy Foundation clinic, unfortunately it was too late. That daughter left behind three children. The eldest of these three, who had also been on treatment, had four of her own children.

Wendy has another son who is currently on antiretroviral therapy. He has five children, and as the mother of these children has already passed away, four of them have already been sent to stay with the maternal relatives’ care. The other one came back the beginning of 2011 to stay with Gogo Wendy. She also has her youngest son, who has left for Johannesburg to look for a job.

With all of these children to care for, Gogo Wendy only gets a Child Support Grant for two. She has been speaking to the local authorities to see if she can receive further grants for the other children – this is an ongoing matter.

Getting food parcels from Topsy has been such a relief for Gogo Wendy, as she was desperate for help. The baby formula she received from the Topsy clinic came at the right time - when it was really needed for the baby.

Topsy also helped Gogo Wendy with school clothes, ensuring that she can freely send the kids to school without fearing that they will look shabby. Recently we were able to bring even more support  - it was a great day for Gogo Wendy when the Topsy car stopped at her house to deliver disposable baby nappies that were donated to us.

When winter came around last year Gogo Wendy received blankets which she was so grateful for telling us that they never felt the cold of winter. She is determined to start and maintain, with the assistance of Topsy’s Home-Based Care Workers, a Vegetable Garden soon, (she was disrupted by the floods). Topsy’s Home-Based Care services are always available for her and the rest of the family members- especially the baby, when they need medical attention or someone to talk to. 

Your support means the world to Gogo Wendy and to all of us at the Topsy Foundation. We can only provide her with the services we do because of you.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

Take care,

Michelle Phipson

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