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RAISA YEBO April 2005
AIDS Initiative of Southern Africa/VSO
It has been almost a year since RAISA organized its regional conference
on children and HIV & AIDS. This conference, held from 18 until
20 May 2004 in Pretoria, brought together 80 delegates from grassroots
organizations, NGOs and other stakeholders. Also ten youth delegates,
five from Malawi and five from Zambia, participated. This conference
was a huge success and we received very positive feedback from this,
particularly the way we involved the youth and enabled their involvement
as peers alongside the adults was praised. The youth participants
decided on the agenda of day 3 and facilitated the sessions on this
day1. During day 1 and day 2 the youth
participants learned skills around memory work and art and play
therapy and they sensitised the adult participants on day 3 about
their obtained skills.
At the end of
the conference all of the participants showed true commitment in
taking the learning forward. This Yebo will look at how the actual
lessons learned have been used by our staff and partners in the
Southern African region. We will also discuss other support RAISA
is giving to its partners working with children.
also be one of the main groups RAISA will focus on in the coming
years. We feel it is important to build the capacity of our partners
working with children as these children are increasingly infected
and affected by the HIV & AIDS pandemic. In fact, eighty per
cent of the world's children orphaned by HIV & AIDS reside in
Sub-Saharan Africa and it is predicted that by 2010 an estimated
20 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa will have lost at least
one parent to HIV & AIDS.
do not have the capacity to cope, and it is unrealistic to assume
that communities can just keep on 'absorbing' vulnerable children.
At the same time, children have the right to access care, support
and health services. Also, they have the right to education and
in more general terms, they have the right to a childhood.
As you can see,
there are big challenges ahead of many of us when we work on programmes
related to children infected and affected by HIV & AIDS. RAISA
is committed to this work and will keep on working with our partners
on the issue. Because, as one of the delegates at the above mentioned
conference rightly mentioned: 'When spider webs unite they can catch
a lion - we need to unite to create a safety net for children'.
After the regional conference two of the youth participants visited
a 10 Million Memory project workshop in Zimbabwe to build their
facilitation skills further. The two representatives are both from
Consul Homes, a centre in Lilongwe where orphans are trained in
various vocational skills apart from the usual feeding and psychosocial
support. After their trip to Zimbabwe they sensitised the staff
and their fellow youths at the institution on the lessons learned.
They also sensitised
the community leaders in surrounding villages and trained fellow
youths and orphans on how to develop memory books, hero books and
body maps. Last but not least they empowered youth groups and widow
groups on how best they can look after orphans and other vulnerable
children. The community leaders and the youths that were trained
indicated that the trainings were very useful to them, and they
encouraged the two youths to consider reaching children in other
areas too. Recently RAISA Malawi held a planning meeting with the
youths that were trained and with other stakeholders. In this meeting
we came up with an Action Plan for Follow up activities, aiming
to hold even more youth 'Training of Trainers' workshops.
information please contact Safari Mbewe, RAISA Country Coordinator
for Malawi, at email@example.com
Since the RAISA regional conference RENSIDA, the Mozambican national
network of PLWHAS, has decided to adopt the use of hero and memory
books. These memory books are encouraging HIV positive parents to
begin preparing their families for their deaths. The hero books
are a means of psychosocial support for children that currently
get very little of this kind of assistance. RENSIDA is in the process
of starting a project that will cover the 6 provinces where they
work, and which UNICEF will fund. The aim of the project is to train
the 46 activists that work in the provinces about how to write memory
books. They can then start to assist particular families to write
the books. RAISA will be assisting RENSIDA to find a facilitator
and budget for the materials necessary to implement the project.
We have also
suggested to RENSIDA to get in contact with Reencontro, a CBO that
went on the RAISA sponsored UNASO tour to Uganda in 2003. It was
there that Reencontro first heard about memory books. Since then
they have worked with the Ministry of Justice to make memory books
legally binding documents. This means that the law protects any
inheritance recorded in the memory books.
The other lesson
coming out of the conference that has been incorporated in the work
of RAISA and its partners is the need to form partnerships. RENSIDA
previously only involved their member organizations in caring for
children. Now local community and government institutions, such
as the district and provincial representatives of the Ministry of
Women and Social Action, are also involved. The partnership between
RENSIDA and these authorities means that children get free access
to services such as education, health and registration a lot faster
then before the cooperation was started.
Directorate of Women and Social Action from the Sofala Province
now wants to improve the functioning of its community councils,
particularly in psychosocial support for children. They are hoping
to organize an exchange visit to Malawi to visit Karonga District
Hospital as this hospital has a lot of experience with community
based childcare focusing mainly on psychosocial child development.
For more information,
please contact Etelvina Mahanjane, RAISA Country Coordinator for
Mozambique, at firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of the 3rd national Orphans and Vulnerable Children Conference
in Namibia, organised by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Child
Welfare, VSO-RAISA sponsored Jonathan Morgan (Clinical Psychologist,
Associate Consultant REPSSI and one of the facilitators at the 2004
regional conference) along with 2 youth facilitators from South
Africa to lead 50 Namibian youth in Hero Book Training.
youth delegates were aged between 14 and 18 years and were all supported
through the organisations present at the conference. None of them
had done any previous Hero Book work. During the workshop, which
took place on 9 and 10 February, youth were given the opportunity
to make their own Hero Books. Following this time was spent preparing
the youth to share their experiences with the other conference delegates,
if they wished to do so.
At the end of
the workshop the youth had a lot of things to take forward: They
produced their own Hero Book, learned skills to teach other youth
to make these books, and they were also having the opportunity to
share this learning with the other delegates of the conference.
Feedback from the conference indicated that this programme was well
received by all, particularly the youth. They felt they were not
only involved in the programme, but also listened too. VSO-RAISA
will stay in contact with the youth in the future to see if they
have been able to disseminate their learning to others.
We have also
been working with a group of 6 shelters that provide care and support
for children affected by HIV & AIDS in the township of Katutura.
Through our support the group has been able to form a network that
meets monthly. At these meetings participants are able to share
ideas and learning, plan activities together and discuss issues
that are relevant to their work.
information please contact Lisa Davidson, RAISA Country Coordinator
for Namibia, at email@example.com
As in many countries in the region, in South Africa a lot of children
are affected by AIDS. The country has more than 660.000 orphans
at the moment and the prediction for 2010 is that 1,7 million children
will have lost at least one parent due to AIDS by 2010 (UNICEF).
VSO South Africa works with a variety of partners working with children,
and several of these participated in the RAISA 2004 RAISA regional
conference on Orphans and Vulnerable Children. Examples of partners
implementing this learning are given below:
As a result
of the regional conference the Centre for Positive Care (CPC) organised
sessions on Art and Play Therapy in partnership with three primary
schools, involving both the children and the teachers at these schools.
CPC also facilitated a training on Hero Books for one primary school
and for a Children's Resource/Care Centre. Last, CPC trained 26
of its own staff on Memory work in order for their staff to use
the learned skills when working with their patients and volunteers.
According to CPC the art therapy and memory work training has helped
its own staff to communicate better with the children and to understand
the 'other side' of the children's stories. The training given in
the schools proved to have sensitised the teachers more about the
issues faced by children affected by AIDS. Also the children themselves
indicated they benefited from the art therapy and hero book trainings.
They were able to share their life experiences with others and realised
their peers had similar problems. They also got a clearer picture
of their exact problems, which has made it easier from them to deal
with the issues. Lastly, sharing their stories with others boosted
their sense of belonging to the community.
The Durban Children
Society (DCS) has also trained their staff on Hero Books and Memory
work. They also organised a Father's Day, in partnership with Unilever.
This day was organised to promote men's care and the protection
of children. DCS got inspired to organise this day as a result of
seeing the Fatherhood Project Exhibition during the RAISA conference.
This photo exhibition, organised by the South African Human Science
Research Council, presents images of fatherhood seen through the
lenses of professional photographers, students and children. Alongside
these images are the words of children talking about fathers, and
men talking about the way they see themselves. The exhibition aims
to recognise, encourage and support men's care and protection of
from RSBSC, who was the Art and Play therapy facilitator at the
RAISA conference, has been receiving emails from participants after
the conference for advice/input on aspects of children's programmes.
Liesl also received feedback from one of the participating children
who said to be using some of the techniques with friends back home.
of VSO South Africa partners working with children are Ikageng Itereleng
and HIVSA, both based in the Soweto township outside of Johannesburg.
Ikageng mainly focuses on child headed households and supports those
households with basic needs, such as food, clothes, school uniforms,
school fees etc. HIVSA is an organization that focuses on psychosocial
support and organizes children camps teaching children basic life
skills, develop leadership and communication skills and most important
increasing the child's self-confidence and self esteem.
For more information,
please contact Carine Munting, RAISA Country Coordinator for South
Africa, at firstname.lastname@example.org
VSO-RAISA Zambia supported a workshop in December 2004, which was
organised by our partners City of Hope. The workshop focused on
Hero books and brought together more than twenty young people from
organizations providing institutional care and support for children
living in difficult circumstances. All these organizations are based
around Lusaka. City of Hope also provided its own venue for the
workshop; a centre for girls in crisis and a community school under
the auspices of the Zambia Community Schools Secretariat (ZCSS).
The ten members
of the national training team, which consists of five participants
that attended the regional conference and five of their peers, worked
in pairs in the four sessions where they took the 20 other youths
through the training process. The training included an introduction
to the hero book document and also in the actual process in which
the participants are invited to be the authors, illustrators, main
characters and editors of the books that are designed to give them
power over specific challenges in their lives. The process was one
in which these groups of young people led each other through a series
of drawing exercises and autobiographical story telling. The young
trainers focused on highlighting challenges that affect other young
people and have their roots in public health issues.
At the end of
the training session all the participants had a hand bound storybook
of their own making, that proclaimed and reinforced their hero survival-resilient
qualities and that also drew attention to the deeper social issues
around children living in difficult circumstances. Another outcome
was that the young people found time and space in which to work
together and contain the telling, retelling and reconstructing of
their life stories. Also, the participants of this workshop found
the opportunity to deal not only with their past difficulties but
also their present challenges and they planned together as a team
on how to overcome these problems. A last outcome was that by the
end of the session all participants were able to take back their
knowledge and skills needed to make the hero books to their schools.
The youth can use these books as tools to support their efforts
to integrated memory work in the respective community schools.
For more information,
please contact Augustine Chella, RAISA Country Coordinator for Zambia,
HIV & AIDS have led to an orphan crisis in Zimbabwe with the
brunt of care falling on the weak extended family. The number of
children in Zimbabwe who have lost one or both parents to HIV and
AIDS is estimated to exceed 980 000. The Government of Zimbabwe
in collaboration with UNICEF and other stakeholders have started
to respond to this crisis by drafting the National Plan of Action
for Orphans and other Vulnerable Children. Through partnerships
with various organisations focusing on the needs of orphans and
other children RAISA Zimbabwe is responding to the crisis.
partners attended the 2004 Regional Conference and implemented key
learning in Zimbabwe. It was at this conference that these NGOs
identified a common need to implement memory projects within the
communities they serve. With support from RAISA through a Small
Grant they held two-day memory book training workshops for orphans
and other vulnerable children and their families. These memory book
projects helped complement the psychosocial support for the families
and form additional coping strategies for the children and their
families. They prepare the orphans to cope with the grief and trauma
associated with the loss of parents, and help make it easier for
them to store memories they desire and track their origins (totems,
values and culture) using the memory books. As a communication tool
the memory books help break the silence between parents and children.
Most of our
partners involved in orphan care are doing enormous work and are
making a difference in the lives of children. Next to psychosocial
support, their work evolves also around general orphan care such
as payment of school fees, provision of stationery and clothing.
Our partners also work on HIV prevention among children by teaching
them about reproductive health issues and peer education. They also
have programs on the prevention of child sexual abuse which is rampant
among children in Zimbabwe. As the orphan crisis in Zimbabwe is
growing there is a need to step up efforts and make a difference
in the lives of the children.
For more information,
please contact Wedzerai Chyioka, RAISA Country Coordinator for Zimbabwe,
on Children and HIV & AIDS
- Report on
the 2004 RAISA regional conference on Orphans and Vulnerable Children.
See www.vso.org.uk/raisa or request a hardcopy from the RAISA
coordinator in your country.
- Orphans and
Vulnerable Children Support Toolkit at http://www.ovcsupport.net
on the Brink 2004’ (UNICEF, USAID, UNAIDS) presents the latest
statistics on historical, current and projected numbers of children
under 18 who have been orphaned by AIDS and other causes. This
publication can be downloaded from http://www.unicef.org/publications/index_22212.html
- Save the
Children has produced various reports on children and HIV &
AIDS. You can download these reports from their website www.savethechildren.org.uk
more information about the conference, please download the conference
report from www.vso.org.uk/raisa
or request a copy from the RAISA country coordinator in your country.
or contact Carine Munting for more information about the Fatherhood
the VSO Zimbabwe fact sheet
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