Nthabisang Moreosele

Nthabisang Moreosele

"Orphans need everything because they have nothing," says the project manager of the Barona child care and support organisation in Diepkloof.

"But we try and cover every aspect of the children's lives," says Monica Moagi.

And it's a big job.

There are 600 children who get counselling and education about ARVs and how to take them.

"We also visit child-headed households, supervise homework and study and monitor their health and general well-being."

Barona was founded in 2003 by FA Mthembi after she had listened to conference reports at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development on the plight of children affected and infected by HIV.

Barona surveys families and gets information about orphans and vulnerable children, including the number of child-headed families.

The families' needs are assessed before they are put on various programmes.

The centre, which is housed in a church hall, has a kitchen which prepares two hot meals a day for all the children on its books. And that's why Sowetan's Mama Angel donated a gas stove to the centre last week.

The children receive food parcels from the department of social services on alternative months.

"It is heartbreaking sometimes when the children have no food and you have to send them back home empty- handed because they are not due anything that month," Moagi says.

"The founder sometimes helps us by buying food out of her own pocket. We depend on donations for everything we give to the children.

"Right now we are worried about the coming winter because most of the children have nothing to cover themselves."

Barona's second drop-in centre needs furniture and crockery.