I just returned from visiting Justin in KwaZulu-Natal where he works at a rural community health center that provides services to people infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS. One of the many services of the Umvoti AIDS Center is caring for Orphans & Vulnerable Children (OVCs), which includes children orphaned by HIV/AIDS and children infected/affected by HIV/AIDS. Every day over 50 children between the ages of 5 to 14 come to the center where they are fed, offered homework support and given leadership skills through the center's Cubs & Scouts programs. Some of these children, as young as age 14, are now head of their household and care for their younger siblings since losing their parents to AIDS. The poorest of the poor have their clothes washed, school uniforms and school fee waivers provided for them, given monthly food parcels and engaged in bereavement counseling or offered psycho-social support. Basically, they are treated with love and respect and are given the skills and support they need to live healthy productive lives.
Justin has been trying to build a modest playground for these children and has prepared a location and design for a safe and affordable play structure. The playground will be located on the AIDS Center property in an open field next to the feeding center where the kids come everyday for meals and counseling. The playground is already partially funded and needs $1000 more in order to be completed. If you could see these kids, you would know they deserve so much more but this playground would go a long way to bringing back some joy, laughter and childhood to their lives.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (June 2013)