Helping to fight poverty

2015-06-03 06:01


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DESPITE South Africa’s successful transition to democracy, poverty, unemployment and HIV/Aids continue to dominate the lives of millions of South African children and their families.

Right now, one in four South Africans are hungry with nothing to eat. This according to Oxfam International’s report - Even it Up: Time to End Extreme Inequality - released in October 2014.

The report highlights the fact that the two richest people in South Africa have the same wealth as the bottom­ 50% of the population and, by 2019, it projects that almost eight million South Africans will be living in poverty.

In circumstances like these, children often go hungry, drop out of school, experience emotional or behavioural difficulties and take to the streets, often being forced to beg or become involved in petty crime or sex work just to survive.

Thandanani Children’s Foundation, with its focus on strengthening families caring for orphans and vulnerable children, is working to combat the impact of poverty and HIV/Aids in the lives of hundreds of children in the greater Pietermaritzburg area.

Through a network of fieldworkers in communities, Thandanani identifies indigent families caring for orphans­ and other vulnerable children and then, through a holistic, structured and time-limited system of support, works to strengthen these families so they are better able to meet the basic needs of the children in their care.

Nelson Mandela saw poverty as unnatural - “man-made” - and something that could, and should, be overcome.

He said: “It is people who have made poverty and tolerated poverty, and it is people who will overcome it.

“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of fundamental human rights,” said Mandela.

If these sentiments resonate with you and if you want to contribute to the fight against poverty and its devastating impact on children, then you might want to explore Thandanani’s 4Kids initiative.

This initiative was launched last year and is aimed at creating a “virtual village” of caring individuals who support Thandanani’s efforts to strengthen families caring for vulnerable children.

Facts and figures on children, poverty and HIV in SA

•Having lost one or both of their parents, about 3.24 million children are orphans.

•60% of all children in South Africa and 68% of those in KwaZulu-Natal live in poverty.

•17% of all children and 25% of those in KwaZulu-Natal live in households where there is child hunger.

•A third of children aged between 15 and 19 live in households where no one is employed.

•Unemployment among young males of working age is running at 67%, and among their female equivalents at 75%.

•People between the ages of 14 and 25 account for 29% of the country’s prison population. Some 45,000 born-frees are in prison at any one time.

•30% of all pregnant women in South Africa and 40% of pregnant woman in KwaZulu-Natal are HIV-positive.

•3% of children in South Africa and 4.2% of children in KwaZulu-Natal are HIV-positive.

These statistics are taken from the South African Child Gauge (2012), from the National Antenatal HIV Prevalence Survey (2012) and from The South African Institute Race Relations Report: Born Free but still in Chains 2015

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