FXB started operating in South Africa in June 2000, with the aim to support young people affected by HIV/AIDS. Through its programs, it has provided young people with the support to cope with the loss of parents to HIV/AIDS and crucially, the life skills to lift them out of poverty.
The HIV/AID epidemic
The majority of black children in South Africa, nearly 60%, live in poverty. HIV/AIDS has worsened this situation further, spreading poverty and weakening families.
In 2011, it was estimated that 5.6 million people were living with HIV and AIDS, the highest number of people in any country. For children whose parents have HIV/AIDS, many of them suffer neglect long before they are orphaned. Eventually, with the death of their parent, they are left with little or no support, and the trauma of coping with the loss of a loved one.
In many cases, the child’s schooling is interrupted or their performance at school begins to deteriorate. Expenses such as school fees, uniforms and stationery presents a major burden, as caregivers or extended families cannot afford to take on these extra costs, as they themselves struggle to survive. Consequently, these youngsters are at risk of missing out on an education, suffering ill-health, malnutrition, abuse and exploitation. They are also at risk of contracting HIV.
Children grieving for dying or dead parents are often stigmatised by society merely through association with AIDS. The distress and social isolation experienced by these children, both before and after the death of a parent, is strongly exacerbated by the shame, fear, and rejection that often surrounds people affected by HIV/AIDS.
According to statements made in a recent article published by a development information portal for NGOs in South Africa, many NGOs operating in South Africa are confronted with serious financial and capacity challenges. Many have already closed down or had to scale down their activities. At the same time, South Africa is faced with overwhelming development challenges – education, health and poverty. Increasingly, government departments and agencies are incapable of responding to these challenges – lack of capacity and leadership, as well as corruption causing slow or no service delivery, and an alarming increase in social unrest in many parts of the country. It is a common fact that NGOs more often than not are the ones that fill the delivery gap.
Our areas of focus
In June 2000, FXB opened the first After-School – Life Skills program in Alexandra Township in an effort to help young people aged 12-18 who have lost their parents to AIDS address some of the issues they face. The three-year program helps with coping and developing life skills, as well as addressing the ‘silence’ surrounding HIV/AIDS, often a protection mechanism used by young people. The aim is to empower these young people and give them back their sense of dignity and pride.
The After School – Life Skills program addresses the mental distress of young people and provides educational, nutritional and recreational support and resource. These are mainly oriented towards children’s rights, sex education, self-respect and respect for others, information on and prevention of HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse and violence.
More than 1,800 young people have been part of the FXB After-School – Life Skills programs over the years.
All After School – Like Skills programs offer:
- Help with school work, projects, assignments
- Art therapy and counselling
- Recreational activities
- A Leadership program
- HIV/AIDS education
- Drug and alcohol dependency counselling
- Life skills
- Awareness campaigns
- Training as peer-educators
- Development of youth clubs
- Teaching financial literacy
- Teaching environmental awareness
- Further vocational training with a possibility of employment
In 2006 FXB added a new activity under the out-reach programs – the Youth Club Program. The Club is made up of young people who have been through the three-year After- School program. The objective is to train these young people in the running of the After-School program, from activities, to the administrative aspects of the program. FXB also encourages the young trainees to come up with their own projects and implement them. There are 10 to 15 youth club members in each After-School program. Youth club trainees are also encouraged to give back to their communities, through visits to orphanages, old age homes, disability centres and hospices.
In 2013 FXB opened a first Vocational Training Program in the Soweto and Alexandra townships in Johannesburg intended for 90 young people. The program strengthens the impact of the existing programs and is designed to offer young people the opportunity of a successful future and enable them to live beyond the poverty line that they have grown up in.
Our future plans
- To replicate and extend the FXB After-School – Life Skills programs and the FXB vocational trainings programs
- To launch the first FXBVillage in South Africa