South Africa has the largest HIV epidemic in the world with 7.2 million people living with HIV. 14% of the population is HIV+ but prevalence increases to 20% among those aged 15-49 years. Although mortality rates have declined since the rollout of Anti-Retroviral Treatment, HIV/AIDS continues to be the leading cause of mortality in the country with deaths from interpersonal violence and road injuries also contributing significantly. One in five children in South Africa have lost a parent and research shows that bereaved children are at risk for developing depression, problems at school, behavioral problems and substance abuse. Parental death, in lower and middle-income countries, is also associated with HIV positive status in women as depressive symptoms in adolescents are associated with the non-use of condoms and a higher risk of having an STI. Specifically, in South Africa, research in KwaZulu Natal has demonstrated a clear relationship between the death of a parent and HIV prevalence; with those who lost only one parent being less at risk for HIV infection than those who lost both, and non-orphaned adolescents being least at risk.
Khululeka was established in 2005 by a group of six professional women who wished to use their skills and experiences in social work, child psychology, palliative care, nursing, and education to support children whose primary caregivers were dying of AIDS before the rollout of anti-retroviral therapies. It now works to build the resilience of children, adolescents, and adults who care for them by equipping them with tools to process their experiences of loss and death. By integrating a holistic approach to their programming, Khululeka’s programme focuses on recognising and supporting children and teens who have experienced grief and loss. The organisation provides services to more than 300 young people a year through their programmes.
Current Grant:EMpower’s 2nd grant to Khululeka will help 120 in-school young women dealing with trauma, grief, or other loss to improve their mental health, build resilience, reduce risky behaviors, and increase their self-confidence. The grant will also contribute to developing a curriculum specifically targeted to younger girls (9-12) and support Khululeka’s COVID-19 response, which includes shifting the curriculum online.
Primary Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Funded Since: 2019
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