The spread of HIV/AIDS in Sub Saharan Africa is a tragedy on a large scale. It is a complex and far-reaching issue which demands a holistic response.

Family Africa’s (FA) activities in the Johannesburg area target economically challenged and less privileged adults and children directly impacted by HIV/AIDS. Long-term programs include HIV/AIDS awareness programs at schools, support groups for HIV+ mothers (many of whom also live with tuberculosis), a free Day Care Center for their children and other AIDS orphans, and support groups for “gogos” (grandmothers) who care for AIDS orphans.  The support groups provide counselling, health education, literacy classes, as well as training in sewing, knitting, and fresh food gardening. In 2011, support services extended to also include relatives caring for orphans and child-headed households (children living on their own due to the death of their parents), whereby help is offered with homework every night after school.

Using music and drama, last year FA successfully conducted HIV testing campaigns and awareness programs for 4,000 primary and secondary age students. HIV seminars for teachers in townships were also launched with great success, reaching teachers from 28 crèches and schools, as well as dozens of counselors, caregivers and clinic staff.

For HIV victims, access to quality nutrition is a pivotal factor to living healthy, normal lives. FA’s targeted feeding program in the squatter camps translated into 26,000 hot meals served last year, and over 50 tons of fresh food distributed. Clothing, blankets, toiletries, toys and sports equipment were also distributed.