OVC & School Youth
Orphans & Vulnerable Children
Approximately one third of the total population of South Africa are children, of which 6% have been orphaned by HIV. The children also classified as multidimensionally poor are overwhelmingly located in rural areas in traditionally poor provinces like Eastern Cape (UNICEF, 2020). Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in rural areas often go hungry, struggle to access health care and reasonable school facilities on top of the immense trauma suffered from losing one or both parents and experiencing GBV.
ASAP recognises that a child’s needs should ideally be met within their community for them to have a chance at developing optimally, recovering from trauma, and reaching their full potential. As a first step, ASAP works with Community Based Organisations (CBOs) to ensure basic needs like nutrition and shelter, as well as urgent psychosocial needs like GBV intervention of the children are met. ASAP then further contributes to the broader developmental needs of the children though capacitating the CBOs to continue their work for years to come.
- ASAP’s direct relief activities in the OVC programme include:
- Donation of a mattress and blanket for the harsh winter conditions in rural conditions
- Psychosocial screening and support (GBV intervention and support, trauma and bereavement counselling) on a case-by-case basis
- Facilitation of therapeutic arts programmes at community drop-in centres during school holidays
- Donation of jungle gyms and other outdoor play equipment so children can develop gross motor skills, have fun and enjoy being kids.
- ASAP funds and builds the capacity of Community Based Organisations to provide the following:
- Screening of children and household visits to establish the children’s circumstances and individual needs
- Providing a nutritious afternoon meal during school terms and holidays to reduce hunger, provide essential nutrition and prevent stunting
- Holding a safe, after-school space where children are assisted with homework and lay psychosocial support
- Assisting with obtaining birth certificates for those without, to ensure all children can access education, medical care and government grants
- Referring children experiencing abuse to ASAP’s counselor
In response to the lack of opportunity and difficult conditions in the rural areas around Matatiele, ASAP supports school-going youth to become champions of change in their own lives and in their communities. The programme focuses on laying a foundation to enable youth to develop as individuals, increase their work and education prospects, and ultimately widen their horisons. The programme was created with the participation from youth and other community members, and it invites involvement from caregivers and community leaders. Over a three year cycle, each youth grows to make smart choices that will contribute to their success through the following activities:
- personal development training,
- career guidance,
- assistance with applications for tertiary education placement and bursaries,
- creation of a personal portfolio of evidence and
- participation in running campaigns in their communities, e.g., HIV awareness, environment clean-ups and recycling.
Workshops on themes like GBV awareness and response strategies, teenage pregnancy, strategic gender analysis, heritage, decision making, unhealthy relationships, human trafficking, rights and responsibilities in being a citizen and community member.
The programme’s first year focuses on self-knowledge, developing individual portfolios and co-generating themes with the youth from each participating village that are culturally congruent and relevant to their specific reality. These themes will become the core themes over three years. During year two, the focus shifts to leadership on personal and societal levels, networking with youth groups from other villages and development of community campaigns by the youth leaders. Year three builds on the previous years, and participants are supported in co-facilitating workshops and events in their respective villages.
Career guidance workshops take place every year, and youth are encouraged and supported to use the ASAP field office computers and internet to access information and submit applications. ASAP believes these young people will be able to continue to develop and grow with the resources made available to them, placing them on the path towards tertiary educational opportunities and future prosperity.