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Challenges Facing South African Families

At least 5.7 million children in South Africa could lose one or both parents from HIV/AIDS by 2015 unless there are major interventions.

The impact of HIV/AIDS on South African families

South Africa’s Medical Research Council (MRC) warns in a new report that South Africa requires significant changes in citizens’ behaviour in order to counter the rising number of orphans in the country due to illnesses such as HIV/AIDS. Without an intervention the MRC reports that about 15% of all children in SA will be orphaned by 2015, creating a chilling reality for children already suffering from lack of economic support and educational opportunities.

30 percent of all children between the ages of 15 and 17 will have lost their mothers by 2015

After the Apartheid Era, South Africa’s society has been suffering from a distinct inequality which has hampered the social and economic growth of previously disadvantaged communities. Now in addition to their everyday strive, these communities must accommodate the additional burden of orphanages and child care communities without the necessary resources and facilities. Meeting the needs of orphaned children would be a massive challenge that would overwhelm formal foster and orphan care systems, and informal systems, such as older siblings and grandparents would shoulder the biggest share of the burden of orphan care, the MRC report highlighted.

Volunteer organisations and childcare

While the MRC’s report indicated various additional models of community-based orphan care initiatives emerging, the need for formal and informal child care are rapidly rising resulting in many volunteer organisations picking up the gauntlet and providing their assistance to informal settlements and overwhelmed communities. Dreams To Reality are such a volunteer organisation that provides volunteers from abroad with the opportunity of making a difference in the lives of orphaned South African children and the community in which they live.

Dreams To Reality Childcare Project

The children at DTR daycare centres deal with extreme circumstances such as crime, alcohol, drug abuse and HIV/AIDS on a daily basis, and sometimes they do not have anyone who takes proper care of them. The DTR Childcare Project aims to help these children and to provide them with loving support and care. The Childcare Program consists of taking care of young children and babies, and volunteers will be placed at one of the three daycare centres that DTR is involved with.

Want to be a part of DTR’s Childcare project and assist South African children? Click here to find out more.

The MRC’s findings were drawn from research by the actuarial science centre at the University of Cape Town. (Source: PLUSNEWS 8 June)

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