Bara unit to the rescue

CHEERS: CAB members having fun with the children of Philani Orphanage during their Christmas party. 03/12/08. © Sowetan.
CHEERS: CAB members having fun with the children of Philani Orphanage during their Christmas party. 03/12/08. © Sowetan.

Nthabisang Moreosele

Nthabisang Moreosele

Mama Angel has brought a smile to the faces of children affected by or infected with HIV-Aids.

The Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU), based at Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital, established an adolescent programme last year when young people from Soweto came together and formed the Adolescent Community Advisory Board (CAB).

The group consists of 20 members aged 15 to 24 years. They represent different youth organisations in Soweto, such as Lovelife and Hope World Wide.

The role of CAB is to serve as a link between the community and the research group in order to raise important issues.

"We represent the voice of adolescents working with the PHRU because their research targets our age group in a bid to prevent HIV-Aids infections.

"We teach each other how to educate others on HIV-Aids. We also advice researchers on the appropriate message that will appeal to young people so that they can come for testing and counselling," says Sinazo Pato.

CAB has opened a user-friendly adolescent clinic in Kliptown, Soweto, where the services are free.

In celebrating this year's World Aids Day, CAB decided to embark on a toy donation drive. The objectives are to spend time with children affected/infected by HIV-Aids; to make a difference in the lives of children in orphanages during the festive season; and to introduce CAB to the community.

"We want to put a strong message out there that young people should love and look after one another," said Pato.

CAB appeals to community organisations, individuals and business to donate toys, clothing, stationery, books and sanitary products.

"We thank Sowetan employees and Mama Angel for their support in making this Christmas party a success with their donation of toys," Pato said.

The group has identified Philani Orphanage to be the beneficiary of its drive.

Philani was established five years ago and cares for 67 children between the ages of six to 18 years who have lost their parents to HIV-Aids.

While CAB donated toys, Khanyamotsha Adolescent Centre, part of the PHRU, embarked on an HIV-Aids information drive at Southgate shopping centre.

"We distributed educational pamphlets promoting HIV-Aids testing counselling. We informed young people about the services provided by Khanyamotsha," Pato said.