Aids orphans centre responded to needs

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

The Sithokozise Noah centre cares for 340 Aids orphans - feeding them, teaching them computer skills and helping them with their homework.

The centre in Umlazi, south of Durban, has also helped to make the community realise the importance of looking after their orphans.

Sphiwe Miya, the centre's manager, said the increasing number of orphans in the area, as people died of the Aids pandemic, spurred them into establishing the centre in 2003.

"The prevalence of HIV-Aids was so high and children were left without parents that we felt we had to do something. These are our future leaders," he said.

Miya said they also help the children to access child support grants and foster care grants.

"We help those who do not have birth certificates. We register them with Home Affairs and they are able to get their grants. We also help those who have been raped or abused by offering them counselling," he said.

The centre is supported by Nurturing Orphans of Aids for Humanity (Noah), a non-governmental organisation that already helps 52 community centres and 21 resource centres in KwaZulu-Natal.

Noah's Thoko Mhlambo said that though the community had told them that nutrition was the major problem in Umlazi, their objective was to provide more comprehensive support for the children.

Sue Moola, of ABI, which sponsored the building of the centre, said the company had already built centres in Mtubatuba and Swayimane and was going to help build another centre in Molweni.