The project aims to keep girls living with life-limiting or life-threatening illness (like cancer, HIV & AIDS or disability) in care, addressing issues of stigma and providing girls with the support they need to stay in school. Health management is integrated into the education and social routine of beneficiaries and participation in decision-making is encouraged. Being physically healthier, young girls gain confidence and become hopeful about living full, happy and successful lives.
A large proportion of children in South Africa live in dire poverty. For those who are ill the situation is even worse. Many ill children live lives of shame because of their illness, dropping out of school, bullied and are driven to horrendous futures, such as becoming a sex workers to survive.
The entire project is structured on the Ubuntu principle, which basically means sharing. Children who are ill or disabled often experience stigma and feel isolated in families and communities. Girls get connected to other people dealing with the same challenges and build a support network. They are empowered to lead the project as they grow older. Because of the relationship with the health system, they remain affiliated to the project and usually go on to become youth counselors themselves
Children who stay in care have better health outcomes, stay in school and are able to build strong educational backgrounds leading into higher education. This improves their employment prospects. Peer counselors become role models in their communities, raising awareness, promoting healthy lifestyle choices and help to alleviate stigma. Education and employment lead to better lifestyle and family outcomes.
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