Bonginkosi Self-Help Project
Perspective - Break down of family structures
Because of the HIV/Aids pandemic in South Africa traditional family and community structures are failing, leaving children with little or no adult support systems. The exact number of orphans is unknown but tends towards “holocaust” proportions. One estimate is of 250 000 children already orphaned in KwaZulu-Natal, and 750 000 in South Africa.
Consider this scenario …
IMAGINE … you live in Sweetwaters, an area of stunning beauty near Pietermaritzburg, Kwa Zulu/Natal. Although there are some 100,000 residents there is almost no paid employment. The climate ranges from extreme heat in summer to piercing winter cold.
IMAGINE …you are a widow with no pension and no source of income. In the last three years you’ve lost both beautiful daughters from HIV/AIDS. Between them they had 7 children. You are now their mother. Within the last year you’ve taken on 4 more orphans. You have 11 young mouths to feed and clothe between two and nine years.
IMAGINE... you are a dedicated, creative and hard working person. Your see your mission in life as providing for these eleven children. Friends and neighbours help out but have their own problems. Depending on other people dents your pride. Then one day a few caring, South Africans, aware of the plight of Sweetwater residents, arrive on the scene, to assess the situation. Soon they provide training in Blanket Making. You are overjoyed. At last you can do something to support your growing children. You take pride in making beautiful blankets.
The Bonginkosi Self-help project
The Bonginkosi self-help project cares for about 200 people in the Sweetwaters area. In addition to the crocheting of blankets, other income-generating activities include crocheting hats from waste plastic bags, candle making, hand sewing embroidery, machine sewing of school uniforms and clothes, brick making, and helping people to grow food from donated seeds. Educational and medical needs are also met.