Global Reach: Grantee Partners

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Khululeka Greif Support (Khululeka)


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. They treat about 95-100 young people a year and reach another 200 through life skills interventions. In order to achieve its objectives, Khululeka develops appropriate methodologies and relevant materials, works directly with bereaved children and adolescents, supports caregivers and trains educators, caregivers, social workers. During a five year partnership with Child Welfare Bloemfontein and Childline Free State (2012-2017), Khluleka developed Abangane, a curriculum aimed specifically at girls aged 13-19, to help them deal and overcome grief and loss. A Randomised Controlled Trial conducted by Tulane University found that the participating girls demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in mental health compared to the wait-listed ones, including a decrease in problematic grief, depression, attention issues, and an improvement in social behavior. Khululeka’s Director, Deborah Diedricks is an experienced educator and a trainer while her deputy and Programme Manager, Lire Greef, is a qualified social worker and has worked with children and families for nearly 20 years.

Current Grant:

EMpower’s 1st grant to Khululeka Grief Support will help 84 in-school young women dealing with trauma bereavement or other loss to improve their mental health, build resilience, reduce risky behaviors and increase self-confidence.

You can support our work with Khululeka Greif Support (Khululeka) and our other grantee partners.

Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.