SOS Children in South Africa
South Africa is rapidly emerging as a new society of energy and significance. Political violence has ended and there is a sense of optimism and hope among all communities as they build a new nation. The country is fortunate to have a good infrastructure and diversified economy. It has made significant gains in improving the provision of basic services, such as water and sanitation, and reforming the education system, since its first democratic elections almost a decade ago.
However, income distribution in the country is among the most unequal in the world. Almost 57 per cent of the population are living in poverty, and of these, two thirds are Africans. It is estimated that up to 50,000 children die each year from malnutrition or diseases that would be curable with adequate medical care.
Our work in South Africa
Our charity has been active in South Africa since the early 1980s when the charity's first SOS Children’s Village opened in Ennerdale, 30km south of Johannesburg. Today it is home to over 150 children in its 15 family homes, with four houses for older SOS children completing their education or occupational training and taking their first guided steps towards independence. An SOS Social Centre was opened in 2000 providing day care for children of local working and single-parent families and medical treatment. Almost all of the SOS Children's Villages in South Africa have nurseries for both local and SOS children.
A second village was built in Mamelodi township near the capital Pretoria in 1987. The village consists of 16 family homes and five youth houses. An SOS Social Centre provides training in computer technology and dressmaking. In addition, a community outreach programme supports over 30 local child daycare centres with materials and advisory services.
SOS Children's Port Elizabeth village is located in a suburb of the city on the south coast and opened in 1989. The village has 13 family homes and two youth homes and can care for up to 130 children. Training courses for SOS mothers are also regularly held here.
The charity's Cape Town village was built in 1994. It was the first racially integrated SOS community in South Africa following the end of apartheid, enabling children and SOS mothers of all races to live together in the 15 family houses. The nursery has three classrooms and older children attend local schools.
In December 1992 an SOS Emergency Relief Programme was established in Natal Province to provide a home for orphaned babies being abandoned in local hospitals. This led to the development of SOS Children Pietermaritzburg which was opened in 1996 by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The village comprises 15 family homes and two youth homes.
Mthatha, the location for the charity's sixth South African village is in the Eastern Cape Province, north of the provincial capital of Bisho. It has 13 family homes and two youth homes where 150 children and young people are cared for. Mthatha is a deprived area where many women are left to care for their families while the men find work elsewhere, and the day care provided by the SOS Children is of great help to them. The charity also runs a primary school, with places for nearly 500 children, as well as a clinic, which provides medical treatment for local people.
In 2004, an SOS Children’s Village was opened in Nelspruit, in the south eastern-most province of Mpumalanga in response to the increasing numbers of child-headed households in the area. The village was one of the first to follow the charity’s new "Solid, Modest and Integrated" approach to construction: The family houses resemble the local building style and fit seamlessly into the neighbourhood.
The village comprises 10 family houses, where up to 100 children can find a new home.
The adjoining SOS nursery school consists of two group rooms and a playground and has a capacity to take in up to 50 children both from the village and the local community. The SOS Social Centre also co-ordinates HIV/AIDS community-based child care and a variety of support programmes.
As part of “6 villages for 2006”, SOS Children’s joint 2006 World Cup campaign with FIFA, an eighth village was opened in late 2006 in Rustenburg. The ten family houses in the village in South Africa’s North West province are slowly being filled with vulnerable children from the country’s mining area.
South Africa, like many African countries, is strongly affected by HIV/AIDS. Community outreach programmes have been established at all eight SOS Children's Villages to provide practical support and aid for children and families in the neighbourhood.
Aids Orphan Projects
SOS Children in South Africa
SOS Children's Village Association South Africa, PO Box 22, Randburg 2125, Johannesburg, South Africa
Tel: +27/11/801 0100
Fax: +27/11/801 0112
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