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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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Angels of mercy to the rescue

By Sne Masuku | Jul 13, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

WHEN four teachers at Umbumbulu, south of Durban, resigned from full-time teaching to help terminally-ill HIV-Aids people, their colleagues, families and friends thought they had gone crazy.

The prevalence of HIV-Aids in the area forced the teachers and two others who shared the same concern to leave their jobs to work for their community.

Caroline Duma, Duduzile Njapha, Thuli Ntuli and Sebenzile Njapha were joined by Thandiwe Mkhize and Senzeni Cibane.

The six women said they wanted to help their community and launched the Ziphatheleni Care Centre.

Ziphatheleni's chief executive officer Cibane worked as an administrator at a local school before joining the other women.

"People thought we were crazy, but we were driven by our love for what we were planning to do at the time and could not let anything stop us from saving the lives of our people.

"People were dying like flies from HIV-Aids-related diseases, but they were so blind and instead accused others of bewitching them.

"It was very sad. The deaths were going to continue unless somebody stood up to correct the wrong information that was going around," said Cibane.

Umbumbulu is a semi-rural area outside Durban, with a very high unemployment rate.

The centre serves more than 600 households in the densely-populated area. Child-headed households are common and the poverty levels are staggering.

Low-paying jobs are the only opportunities for those with at least a Grade 12 education.

"We were concerned about all of these challenges. We started going to various workshops to get training on HIV-Aids and care-giving programmes.

"We focussed on gardening and beadwork projects. We now offer all of these to our community," Cibane added.

Today the centre provides home-care visits. It has a team of about 35 care-givers who go from door to door helping the sick because people do not have anyone looking after them during the day when they are left alone.

The centre survives on donations and sponsorships. Cibane said they wanted to build a crèche and a hall where orphans and poor children could go for nutritious meals in the afternoon. The centre also runs educational classes for people living with HIV-Aids.


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