The TB/AIDS epidemic and teenage pregnancy have created large numbers of children growing up without adult protection, nurturing or financial support.  While many OVC live with and are cared for by a grandparent or other relative, others are forced to assume caregiver and provider roles for themselves and siblings.  Without adequate protection and care, these OVC are more susceptible to exploitation.


HBC Community GatheringPhilanjalo offers specialized home based care services to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC).  Caregivers monitor children during visits and refer a child to the professional nurse or social worker if there are concerns or additional services are needed. Services provided include child protection, psychosocial, education, food and nutrition support, HIV prevention education, bereavement counselling  and facilitation of access to documentation and grants and referrals for additional services.

 

According to UNICEF South Africa, many families in South Africa are struggling to care for their children. On the one hand, the country has inherited a legacy of violence, extreme inequality and social dislocation from the former apartheid regime. This has translated into high levels of domestic violence, substance abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. The South African Police Services reports that 50,000 children are victims of crime every year, with sexual offences constituting about 40 per cent of these cases. Research reveals that the vast majority of such cases happen in families.

 

The article continues to state that the country is experiencing the highest burden of HIV in the world, with over 5.7 million people currently infected. Parents are dying and leaving behind orphaned children. There are an estimated 3.7 million orphans in South Africa, about half of whom have lost one or both parents to AIDS; and 150,000 children are believed to be living in child-headed households. Communities are doing the best they can to care for orphaned and vulnerable children. A UNICEF supported audit of community childcare forums found 400 volunteer-run networks that provide front-line support to 190,000 children.

 

UMsinga is one of the regions that have been hit the most by the epidemic, in the country. To overcome the epidemic, organizations, communities, law makers, the government, the healthcare and business sector will have to partner and come with a proactive approach to mitigate the impact and make situations better in the future.

2011 OVC.
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