FXB started operating in South Africa in June 2000 to support young people affected by HIV/AIDS. Through its programs, FXB has provided these communities with support to cope with the loss of parents to HIV/AIDS and life skills to lift them out of extreme poverty.
The majority of Black children in South Africa, nearly 60 percent, live in extreme poverty. HIV/AIDS has exacerbated this situation, spreading poverty and weakening families.
In 2013, it was estimated that 6.3 million people were living with HIV/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 a parent, they are left with little or no support, and the trauma of coping with the loss of a loved one.
In many cases, when a child faces these challenges, schooling is interrupted or performance at school begins to deteriorate. Expenses, such as school fees, uniforms and stationery, present a major burden. Caregivers or extended families cannot afford to take on these extra costs, as they struggle to survive. Consequently, these children are at risk of missing out on an education, suffering poor health, malnutrition, abuse and exploitation. They are also at risk of contracting HIV.
Children grieving for dying or dead parents are often stigmatized 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 been forced 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. This is due to a lack of capacity and leadership; 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 often fill the delivery gap.
Our areas of focus
In South Africa, FXB is focusing on youth’s education and life skills development. In this effort, FXB opened the first After School – Life Skills program in Alexandra Township in June 2000 to support young people, ages 12-18, who have lost their parents to AIDS. This program aims at minimizing the impact of poverty and diseases on youth by reinforcing their capacities to cope with their daily lives and help them create a healthy future for themselves.
The After School – Life Skills program addresses the mental distress of young people and provides educational, nutritional and recreational support and resources. These are mainly oriented toward children’s rights, sex education, self-respect, respect for others, sexual abuse, violence and information on and prevention of HIV/AIDS.
More than 1,800 young people have been part of the FXB After School – Life Skills programs, which offer:
- Help with school projects and assignments
- Art therapy and counseling
- Recreational activities
- HIV/AIDS education
- Drug and alcohol dependency counseling
- Life skills
- Awareness campaigns
- Training as peer-educators
- Development of youth clubs
- Financial literacy
- Environmental awareness
- Vocational training with a possibility of employment
In 2006, FXB added a new activity under the outreach programs: the Youth Club program. The Youth Club is comprised of young people who have been at least three years into the After School – Life Skills program. The objective is to train these young people to operate the After School – Life Skills program, including all activities and administrative aspects. FXB also encourages the young trainees to develop and implement their own projects. There are 10 to 15 Youth Club members in each After-School Life Skills program. Youth Club trainees are also encouraged to give back to their communities through visits to orphanages, senior citizen homes, disability centers 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 above the poverty line.
In 2008, the young participants of the After School – Life Skills and Youth Club programs compiled their stories and poems in a book called “Iridescent Reflections.” In 2011, they also published a collection of poems entitled “Walk a Mile in My Shoes.”
Ninety young people have also had the opportunity to follow theoretical and practical training courses for three years in information technology, masonry, tiling and flooring, carpentry, tapestry and aesthetics. They are also trained in project management.
Our future plans
Find new partners to:
Replicate and extend the FXB After School – Life Skills and Youth Club programs
Launch the first FXBVillage in South Africa