Program Background

There are 7.5 million HIV positive persons in South Africa. This population is the largest in the world and continues to increase. (Source: UNAIDS)

South Africa is a society with the widest disparity in the world. The unemployment rate exceeds 50% for the younger generation under 35. Additionally, the country is home to the largest HIV positive population in the world and one in five adults is infected. In difficult social situations, about 70% of the children under14 live in poverty and continuously become orphans as their parents die from AIDS. Above all, children in poor families in rural areas are faced with big challenges including limited access to food and lack of caregivers since adult family members leave home for work. These social situations created a vicious cycle over a span of generations. JVC supports children with difficult family backgrounds.

A Story in Our Activity Area

Ms. Mthuhadini taking care of her home vegetable garden.

Ms. Mthuhadini is 50 years old and a single mother with five children. Her income consists of an allowance for a care volunteer (about 15 thousand yen per month) and child allowance for her two small children (about 10 thousand yen per month). She says, “Since I began vegetable gardening, I don’t have to worry about food and it’s helpful I can have savings.” Her second daughter studies in a university on a scholarship. Ms. Mthuhadini can support her daughter through her savings. Additionally, she said, “Frankly, I was not very interested in vegetable gardening when we first started the training sessions with JVC. However, I was full of joy after making a vegetable garden and harvesting crops for the first time in my life.” She wants to teach the OVC about the joy of vegetable gardening soon.

Supporting Children with Difficult Family Backgrounds

Outline of the Activities

In various parts of South Africa, there are children with difficult family backgrounds, so-called Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC). Their complex family situations resulted from the absence of parents partly affected by AIDS and poverty. Through the public welfare system, “Drop-in Centers” (DIC) were set up for OVC aged five to early twenties. DICs are places where they can drop in after school, play, study, and receive counseling and support. DICs are operated by care volunteers mainly composed of local women. However, most of them did not have training nor necessary caregiving knowledge or skills for caring for OVC. In 2019, JVC started activities with two DICs in two villages in Limpopo Province, a poor province in South Africa.

A cultivation field in DIC before the training.

A current scene of a field in DIC. Many crops have been harvested.

We are carrying out the following training sessions.

  1. Caregiving training sessions for care volunteers.
  2. Activity and program delivery training for care volunteers to provide OVC with study and play opportunities Life skills and leadership training for teenage OVC attending DIC (hereinafter “youth”) on topics such as HIV/AIDS, civil rights, and social issues.
  3. Vegetable gardening training for care volunteers and youth using natural farming methods to support the children with daily meals.

We continue our activities to break the vicious cycle through addressing OVC problems, empowering them to consider issues and take initiative.

Observed Changes

In 2019, we started training sessions for vegetable gardening with natural farming methods for 20 care volunteers on each DIC site. All of the twenty volunteers acquired skills needed to constantly cultivate crops throughout the year by utilizing natural resources around them and without spending money. Consequently, one DIC irregularly provides about 130 OVC with meals by using the crops. Since they learned ways to grow seedlings and collect and preserve seeds, they became capable of growing some crops in the latter half of the fiscal year by using seeds they collected themselves.

Children eating meals at a DIC.

Additionally, all care volunteers started making vegetable gardens in their homes and have been developing farming practices. While the activity allowance from the government stagnates, the vegetable gardens offer them reliable support and livelihood. Ensuring a stable life for volunteers will lead to sufficient care for OVC, we plan to further improve the volunteers’ cultivation skills to provide OVC with meals throughout the year and activities 1-3 above will be launched.

A care volunteer making a splendid home vegetable garden. She is very proud of her accomplishment.

Our Partner Organizations

Mphego Childcare Center and Ntwanano Childcare Center

Both centers are working for OVC and operated mainly by women in our activity areas.

[Source: JVC Annual Report 2019]

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