South Africa has 7.1 million people living with HIV – the largest number of any country in the world. An entire generation of parents in South Africa have been lost to AIDS, leaving grandparents to care for the 1.7 million children who are now orphans as a result.
Avert’s work in South Africa
Avert helped establish the Sisonke Project over 12 years ago through the Diocese of Grahams Town in the Eastern Cape.
Sisonke brought together a network of grandmothers supporting them to find a voice in their communities. The project provided new skills and built support systems for the elderly as they adjusted to understanding HIV and AIDS and their new role as carers of young grandchildren whose parents had died.
After 12 successful years, in which the project has achieved its goals, Avert is now phasing out its funding. The final stage of the project will support elderly caregivers to establish their own self-sufficient community groups and help Sisonke to document the successes of the project.
Like many Sisonke grandparents, Nomerica lost her own children to AIDS-related illnesses and now she looks after her six grandchildren.
The Sisonke project has given Nomerica the skills and confidence to share her knowledge about HIV and AIDS across her community.
Photo credit: ©Corrie Wingate for Avert (top and above). Images used on this site are for illustrative purposes only. They do not imply any health status or behaviour on the part of the people in the photo.