Aids project needs help

Beverley Hendricks, co-ordinator, Fikelela Aids Project

Fikelela Aids Project was started in 2000 and was formally registered in May 2002, with the vision of providing an active response to the HIV and Aids pandemic in South Africa.

Fikelela (Xhosa for “reach out”) aims both to make a sustained positive contribution towards reducing the number of new HIV infections, and drive HIV and Aids education and care.

There are three main ways in which Fikelela achieves these goals.

Firstly, at Fikelela Children’s Centre in Khayelitsha they care for orphaned and vulnerable children who are infected with or affected by HIV/ Aids, and have been neglected, abandoned or abused.

Secondly, Fikelela runs nine support groups in various communities, currently reaching a total of 250 people. These groups provide various forms of support to people living with HIV (including support of those on antiretrovirals (ARVs), and provide nutritional and emotional support plus skills development, for adults living with HIV.

Thirdly, Fikelela does prevention work with children and youth through three different programmes: a youth sexuality programme, a peer education training programme, and a programme teaching younger children about the dangers of child abuse and HIV, and how to protect themselves.

2020 was an enormously challenging year for the Fikelela Aids Project. Thankfully the Children’s Centre managed to remain Covid free, but lockdown put enormous pressure on the staff in the closure of schools, restriction of movement, confinement to a small space and constantly having to maintain strict health and sanitising procedures on young children.

Another huge challenge for Fikelela during the Covid-19 pandemic was finance, especially for the Children’s Centre. They experienced a significant loss of income due to the financial strain Covid-19 put on many of the donors.

For many years, an international airline has been one of Fikelela Children’s Centre’s main donors, providing them with income second only to their government grant. Due to the impact of Covid-19 they were forced to halve their donation, which has left the Children’s Centre at risk of closure.

If the Children’s Centre has to close, the forty children in Fikelela’s care (all of whom are vulnerable, and have suffered trauma) will have no home, and the twenty-five staff who have dedicated their lives to them will be left without work or income.

If you are able to help support Fikelela in any way (especially financially or by connecting them with donors), please contact me, Beverley Hendricks, on hendricksb@ctdiocese.org.za or on 083 285 5977 or Susan Knighton Fitt at support@fikelela.org.za

• Fikelela Aids Project is the HIV and Aids outreach programme of the Anglican Diocese of Cape Town. Fikelela was founded in 2000 with the vision of providing an active Christian response to the HIV and Aids pandemic in South Africa. For more information, visit the website at www.fikelela.org.za