Sat Oct 22 11:07:37 SAST 2016


By unknown | Dec 01, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Nthabisang Moreosele

Nthabisang Moreosele

Pensioners have formed a bulwark against the HIV-Aids pandemic in South Africa.

Millions of retired people are the most affected by the disease because their children died and they were forced to return to work to support their grandchildren.

Many grandparents, especially in rural and isolated areas, are supporting sick orphans and their own children on little more than their government pensions.

They nurse their sick children, often more than one in a family, bury them and then watch helplessly as their grandchildren die too.

In 2001 Grannies in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, founded Grannies against Poverty and Aids as a support system where they learn to nurse their loved ones.

They attend workshops on poverty alleviation, human rights, parenting, HIV-Aids and death and bereavement. They are taught how to draw up a will, access welfare grants and are given skills training.

The organisation's (Gapa) membership is limited to grannies who are 50 years and older and who are affected by HIV-Aids.

Gapa director Vivienne Budaza says the NGO covers most of Eastern Cape. She says some of their sub-groups are thriving and are now independent.

"We would like to start more branches but we are hampered by a lack of funds," Budaza says.

Gapa is divided into two streams. One is for skills training and runs cooperative food gardens, handicrafts and other subsistence project to generate a little income to augment their pension grants.

The other group runs workshops to teach others about nursing, accessing help and counselling.

The social welfare department has coopted grannies who visit Gapa members to check on vulnerable children and households. They receive a small stipend.

The programme started in August.


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