Many of the communities where SHGs exist have high rates of HIV and AIDS. During 2011 and 2012, thousands of SHG members received training on HIV and AIDS as they had expressed a desire to learn more so as to be better able to respond to the impact of HIV and AIDS. As a result, not only are the women more knowledgeable about the disease but they now talk openly about how to take care of their lives, their partners and children. Some SHGs and Clusters of groups have also started home-based care and vulnerable children projects.
Sinothando Cluster, formed in June 2008 by Zimele in Swayimani in KZN, with 6 SHGs as members, started its home-based care initiative because of the numbers of bedridden HIV positive community members that needed care and support. The project takes care of 10 patients at a time, most of whom are breadwinners in their families. The women provide these patients with a sense of hope through their counseling skills. Now due to the women’s care the risk of infection can be reduced and the lives of some household breadwinners prolonged.
Sizanani CLA, formed in September 2010 by Zimele in Swayimani in KZN, with 8 SHGs as members, initiated a life skills project to help reduce the high levels of teenage pregnancy in their community. The women believe they can achieve this by engaging with children in life-skills trainings and activities relating to the children’s area of interest and talents. The women made home visits to educate mothers/caregivers in vulnerable households on issues of children and HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancy.
Hlanganani Cluster, formed in July 2010 by USIZO in KZN, with 7 SHGs as members, received HIV training for some of its SHG members which motivated them to go for voluntary testing. Most members went to the clinic and found out their HIV status. This Cluster also made a huge impact on their communities by running HIV awareness and prevention campaigns and informing the other members of their SHGs about HIV. One SHG member explained: ‘We were living as strangers with our neighbors, with not much care for one another and the scourge of illness and AIDS-related deaths in the community exacerbated this isolation. My group assisted in bringing us together, which also gave strength to discussions and initiatives that are helping to address HIV/AIDS in our community.”
Many thanks to all our donors over the past year, we appreciate your support. Sinamandla continues to work towards reaching its fundraising targets on GlobalGiving so please would you consider making another donation in 2012 or into early 2013 in order to help Sinamandla assist thousands of vulnerable women in poor communities? Please do think of any family member or friend who would be interested in the work of Sinamandla through its Self-help Groups and do forward them our website link.
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