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Jan 29, 2016

Thank you for giving healthcare to children in SA!

Wellness Wagon brings healthcare to communities
Wellness Wagon brings healthcare to communities

As she plays in the schoolyard with her friends, Nokwanda is a pretty typical 8 year old with bright eyes and an infectious laugh. She loves playing outside, reading, and hopes to become a doctor when she grows up. Nokwanda was born with HIV, and lost both her parents to AIDS, so she lives with her elderly grandmother in a corregated iron shack in South Africa.

Just ten years ago, being born HIV positive in an impoverished South African township was a death sentence. In a country where nearly 1 in 8 children are born with HIV, and over 340,000 children die annually from AIDS related causes, Nokwanda is defying all odds. But thanks to your generous donation to Starfish, she is able to celebrate the new year with her family, and is a standing testament to how basic health care and access to medication can literally save lives.

Today both she and her grandmother are going for their health check-ups at Sethani, a community health organisation in the Kwazulu Natal region, serving at risk families like Nokwanda’s. Community based health centers like Sethani, which offer ARV medications and other crucial health screenings and treatments, are a keystone in the fight against HIV, and a path towards ensuring orphaned and vulnerable children have access to basic health care needs and nutrition.

Last year Starfish and our partnering community organisations, like Sethani, provide health screenings (including HIV testing and eye exams) as well as medications and medical referrals to over 1,400 children. Your donation increased access for at-risk families to health services, by helping purchase a Wellness Wagon. This little orange minibus is a mobile medical clinic, able to reach the most rural of villages. With your gift, this basic medical access meant that orphaned and vulnerable children were healthy enough to go to school, and live healthy and vibrant lives.

We all know education is the foundation of a society, and ensuring these children have health care means that Nokwanda can go out and become a doctor, and not simply another victim to the HIV/AIDS mortality rate. Nokwanda isn’t the only one, the donation you made goes towards providing accessible health care to even more children just like Nokwanda, children to whom an easily treatable or even preventable illness, like TB or malaria, is certainly fatal.

As we continue to build this partnership with our donors, it’s children like Nokwanda that remind us what Starfish is really all about, and we want to say thank you again for helping them.

Nokwanda receives treatment in the Wellness Wagon
Nokwanda receives treatment in the Wellness Wagon
School children waiting for their health checkups
School children waiting for their health checkups

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Jan 19, 2016

You have helped make it all possible!

Nokwanda and her bright beautiful smile
Nokwanda and her bright beautiful smile

As she laughs in the schoolyard with her friends, Nokwanda is a pretty typical eight year old with bright eyes and an infectious laugh. She loves playing outside, reading, and even hopes to become a doctor or a lawyer when she grows up. Nokwanda was born with HIV, and is an orphan of HIV/AIDS as well, and lives with her elderly grandmother Abbi in a township.

Twenty or even ten years ago, being born HIV positive in an impoverished South African township was a sure death sentence. In a country where nearly 1 in 8 children are born with HIV, and over 340,000 children die annually from AIDS related causes, Nokwanda is defying several odds, all stacked against her, and as she celebrates the new year with her family, she becomes a standing testament to how basic health care and access to medication can literally save lives.

This afternoon both she and Abbi will be going for their health check-ups at Sethani, a community based health organisation in the Kwazulu Natal region, serving at risk families like Nokwanda’s. Community based health centers like Sethani, which offer ARV medications and other crucial health screenings and treatments, are a keystone in the fight against HIV, and a path towards ensuring orphaned and vulnerable children have access to basic health care needs and nutrition.

Last year Starfish and our partnering community based organisations (CBOs) help to provide health screenings including HIV testing and eye exams, as well as medications and medical referrals to over 1400 children in five regions. Your donation went towards increasing the access at-risk families have with health services, by giving to our $3,000 fundraising drive, you helped us buy a Wellness Wagon. This little minibus acts as mobile medical hub able to reach the most rural of villages. With your gift, this basic medical access meant that orphaned and vulnerable children were able to go to school, and live healthy and vibrant lives.

We all know education is the foundation of a society, and ensuring these children have health care means that Nokwanda can go out and become a lawyer or a doctor, and not simply another victim to the HIV/AIDS mortality rate. Nokwanda isn’t the only one, the donation you made to help Bring healthcare to children in rural South Africa goes towards providing accessible health care to even more children just like Nokwanda, children to whom an easily treatable or even preventable illness, like TB or malaria, is certainly fatal.

As we continue to build new partnerships with other CBOs serving orphaned and vulnerable children living in poverty, it’s children like Nokwanda that remind us what Starfish is really all about, and we want to say thank you again for helping us help them. 

A young girl at her check up appointment
A young girl at her check up appointment
Masego's grandmother get screened for diabetes
Masego's grandmother get screened for diabetes
The boys of fourth grade jumping for joy
The boys of fourth grade jumping for joy

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Oct 30, 2015

Welcome our Wellness Wagon

Testing for HIV, TB, malaria and diabetes
Testing for HIV, TB, malaria and diabetes

“For the first time we will be able to go to school in our uniforms and look just like the other children who still have parents” – Lerato, aged 10

Our Wellness Wagon brings healthcare to children in rural, impoverished communities

Starfish recently introduced our Wellness Wagon, a mobile clinic that delivers healthcare to children in rural communities, without access to healthcare. The Wellness Wagon tests for HIV, TB and malaria and monitors the children’s general health and development. The Wellness Wagon visits impoverished areas, where the number of child-headed households is intolerably high, HIV is prevalent and your support is desperately needed. This month a staggering 67% of the 1,327 children treated were referred for further services, including malnutrition and treatment of ringworm.

“14 year old Grace was born HIV positive. She started to become weaker and thinner, but she lived with her aged granny with dementia, and there was no one to take her to the clinic. Starfish’s Wellness Wagon visited her rural village and tested her for HIV, we were alarmed that her CD4 count was only 10. It was amazing that she was still alive.

The Wellness Wagon referred her for treatment for TB and ensured that she knew how and when to take her anti-retroviral medication. Her CD4 count is now 54 and she is in the hospital, where we have visited her. She is grade 7 this year and we hope that she will return to school next year and resume her life.” - Starfish care worker.

Ethembeni (Kwa-Zulu Natal)

Ethembeni has partnered with a local daycare centre, to ensure that preschool children are stimulated and ready for school, as Ethembeni do not have space for all the children at their facility. This initiative by Ethembeni is part of their program to empower community members. They have restructured and strengthened their Children’s Program to maximize the impact of their childcare.

Loaves and Fishes Network (Eastern Cape)

The Positive Parenting Skills Workshops held in the villages were well attended. The support groups have been well received. Pateka Mtintsilana, LAFN General Manager, was selected as a finalist in the Business Women’s Association 2015 Awards, in recognition of her development work. Ten social worker interns have been appointed and a full-time social worker has been employed.

Bulungula (Eastern Cape)

Children in the preschools are being weighed regularly and given deworming medication and Vitamin A every six months. The Wellness Wagon visits monthly to immunize children not yet in preschool. Playgroups are held regularly and parents are taught the importance of playing with their children, in order to teach them shapes and colors etc. Fresh vegetables from the food garden are used to feed the preschool children.

Isipho (Eastern Cape)

Situated in one of the poorest regions of South Africa, Isipho is home to 66 children who have been orphaned by AIDS. Funding from Starfish enables Isipho to give these children a chance to complete their education, keeping them well fed and caring for those with nowhere to live.

Isipho provides not only a shelter for a group of orphaned children, but is also a pre-school, a library and a community center for AIDS awareness and training. Thanks to these programs, Isipho is no longer experiencing school drop out and teenage pregnancy. 94% of the children that Isipho supports passed their school exams. Funding from Starfish has helped Isipho train childcare workers in early childhood development, so that they are better able to respond to the children’s needs.

Cleaning materials and toiletries were provided to the children to help them maintain a high standard of hygiene.Nutritious meals were provided during the school holiday programs. The children alsoget meals at the crèche and the aftercare program.Older children receive vocational skills development. A support group for children is providing life skills training and counseling. Almost 50 children benefitted from medical supply services.

Tsogang (Gauteng)

The number of children being assisted with homework and participating in afterschool activities has increased. 150 children received health screening and 15 have been referred to the local clinic. An additional 75 children received TB screening. Outreach to 150 adolescents on HIV/AIDS prevention. Caregivers received training on health screening and counseling children with emotional needs.

“Starfish, you make me feel better, you make me cry lesser, you make me dream bigger.” Nathi, aged 11

The Wellness Wagon provides healthcare to children
The Wellness Wagon provides healthcare to children
Bringing healthcare to rural areas without it
Bringing healthcare to rural areas without it
On the road to health!
On the road to health!

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