FAQ, facts, testimonials

 

We collected here testimonials and statements from local people, quotes and other interesting extracts from reports. These facts might help to bring answers to your questions and give a clearer picture of the settings.

If you have further questions, opinions or other information, do not hestitate to contact us (see below).

 

In South Africa there are companies and "rich" people, who are enjoying a European standard way of life. Are these people not donors, sponsors or socially involved?
Yes, they are! All the children's homes that we support have started as normal families who accepted one or more foster children. A lot of families act as foster families or as "weekend godparents". The most important supporters are probably the churches and their members. Companies too are socially involved: therefore our children's homes are sponsored. One company pays for the food, another one for the oxygen bottles and so on. But HIV/Aids has become an economical problem for the entrepreneurs because their employees and workers die. Companies have to fill the positions twice, hire new employees every month, train them and so on to replace employees that died of Aids. This generates of course additional costs leaving less money to assist children in need. An increasing number of companies invests into Aids prevention and treatment for their employees and therefore play over an important role in the fight against Aids.

(Warren, B&B Bell & Bird, Apple Orchards, Gauteng) "The employees and workers of companies decease. A friend of mine owns a medium sized construction company. Every month he has to hire new personnel to replace former employees that died from Aids. It is an insanity. And it is costly, so little is left for donations."

 

Do people talk about HIV/Aids? (Lyn Croote, Lambano Sanctuary)
"No, among the concerned people the HIV/Aids subject is a no-no. It is kept silent, out of shame or fear to be excluded. Most of them do not even want to know. Therefore, no testing, no help or protection against further infections." This silence is probably one of the reasons of the rapid spread.

 

 

How much does an anti-viral treatment cost? Does the South African state pay for it?
The cost are about USD 600 per month. (Chris Harding, Tshepo ya Bana) “Only since 2005 has the state covered the costs of anti-viral medication, but of course only for children that officially exist, i.e. those who are officially registered are officially taken care of and only the people who are officially HIV positive, i.e. who are officially tested. A major part of the persons concerned do not fall into this category: most foundlings and Aids-orphans, all illegal immigrants and all the people that have decided to simply ignore Aids.

 

Why are there so many children and adults without official papers?
First of all, there are the illegal immigrants from all over Africa who flee to South Africa out of war zones, out of poverty, out of affliction.They live in informal squatter camps and in sub tenancy in the backyards of townships. A large number of directors illegally accept these children in their schools, despite the fact that officially they do not exist, and provide them food and clothes without state support.
Second a whole generation is lacking any kind of education and information because during Apartheid they had no access to school or "free" society. They cannot read or write and do not even know that they are entitled to state support if they possess official papers, or how to get these papers. That's why our partners are helping on the ground.
And there are the foundlings. Somebody discovers them and calls the police. The police brings them to the next cramped hospital that will alert the closest private children's home. At least those children are then taken care of and can live on, but without papers for the time being. Papers will be prepared tomorrow. But the day after, somebody else finds another child, the same emergency case.
(Chris Harding, Tshepo ya Bana) „The social assistants have no chance to catch up and the administrative procedures are very cumbersome. The foundlings are privately taken into care, but officially they do not exist, i.e. no papers, no support and not adoptable.“

 

How is the situation in downtown Johannesburg explicable?
The city center was reserved exclusively to white people during Apartheid. Black and coloured people could only enter the city center with a respective work permit to work and had to leave again after work. Inside the protected area, the white people had "their" own European or Amercian style city center. With the end of Apartheid in 1994, the restricted area, symbol of the racial segregation was stormed with a lot of negative feelings. White inhabitants, business people and companies fled. Skyscrapers and corporate buildings were abandoned. Sandton, a new city center, was build north of the center. In the empty buildings immigrants, but also criminals found a new home. Whole streets got out of control and anarchy was taking over. At one point the city simply cut electricity and water from the occupied buildings. In the middle of this chaotic and dangerous situation there were some small islands of different kinds that were still functioning: an overcrowded hospital, the diamond company De Beers behind gates and protected by guards, the Constitution Hill visited by tourists where famous people like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Ghandi had been detained. For some years now, the city has tried to revalue and resocialise one by one the streets and the squares.

 

Why has Aids been so widespread?
(Warren, B&B Bell & Bird, Apple Orchards, Gauteng) "The beginning was the mines and the Apartheid: men moved from the land to the mines in the townships, respectively to the sheds of the workers - their families were not allowed to join them, encampments for men and women were as a matter of principle separated. This were the places where they got into contact with HIV positive prostitutes. Their wives and children had to stay in the country. Once or twice a year they returned home and brought the Aids to their wives. Today there are villages and parts of townships where the generation of these parents does not exist anymore. The children live with their grandparents, in children's home or alone.
Following this spread, the ignorant South African Aids politics came, affirming until 2004 that there was no link between HIV and Aids. Thus, there were no or inaccurate information and total neglect of medical supplies and prevention. Another reason: poverty and lack of education lead to early sexual contacts and sex related crimes.

 

 

How big is the ignorance concerning HIV and Aids among the poor men?
A healthy father in a township said to the social worker: "In fact I would rather have Aids, because, in this case, I would get money from the state for medication and my kids would become nursing allowances." In fact he did not realise that he would face death in that case. This shows the desperation and the ignorance of the poor in the townships. Ignorance, wrong knowledge and superstition in all social classes have heavy consequences: to avoid an Aids infection, it is sufficient to have a shower after sexual intercourse or simply drink water. Another false belief is that to cure Aids, you need to have sex with a virgin...

 

Are there public children's homes?
(Martha Sibase, Lambano Sanctuary) "Of course there exist some public children's homes, but these are totally overcrowded: about 200 children in one home, 20 children per room, not enough employees and, therefore, not enough care. Furthermore, the homes are organised according to the age of the children, implying that children are separated again and again and transferred from one home to the next. Not the best start into life".

 

Have the living conditions in the townships improved?
(Claudine Klein, Naledi Projects) "During our first visit in South Africa in 2005, we noticed of course the large number of shacks, the tin-sheet homes in the townships. During our second visit in 2008 the first impression was that a lot of small concrete houses have been constructed and the shacks were less obvious. But once you had a look behind these new homes, in the backyards you could find even more shacks than before, about 6 tin-sheet homes each 2x3m squeezed together, a single tab and a collective squat toilet. In one of them was a single HIV-positive mother with her child, in the other ones families with 2 or 3 children. The overall living conditions have deteriorated, more people are living together in a cramped space in poor conditions, the only difference being that you can not see the problems at first sight anymore."

 

Why are school uniforms so important, other acquistions seem more urgent?
(Martha Sibase, Lambano Sanctuary) "A school uniform is mandatory in South Africa's schools; without a uniform a kid cannot attend school. Of course the mothers are exchanging the uniforms or sell them second hand. But what when there is even not enough money for a second hand uniform? Or, when there is no adult person around to take care of securing a uniform?" Considering the poverty these children are living with at home, the school uniform is much more than an obligation. It is also their pride because they get back their pride for a few hours - poverty is left at home.

 

Why does South Africa have so many illegal immigrants?
People are coming from crisis regions in neigbouring countries and the whole of Africa. They are poorly or not at all informed and expect to find paradise in South Africa. Their ultimate stop is the shacks in the townships.

 

Does the South African state not finance orphans, Aids-patients and the schools?
According to the law it does, but in practice it is overwhelmed by poverty and Aids and it is not master of the situation. The European image of the developed South Africa is simply wrong, it is only the case for a minority of 13% of the population.

  • extremely high number of poor people
  • many years of false Aids policy
  • high rate of Aids infections
  • lack of infrastructure, lack of education, lack of precautions, lagging Administration
  • children and adults without official papers (not registered children and illegal immigrants) cannot receive state support

 

Please contact us:

Naledi Projects
165, rte de Longwy
L-1941 Luxembourg
info@naledi-projects.lu