Fakisandla, (“Lending a Hand”) is a Community-based Organization located in the township of Nyanga, one of the oldest townships in Cape Town with a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Fakisandla was started as a community project in 2008 by the late Rose Mbudi, the founder of Etafeni, to co-ordinate community care for orphaned and vulnerable children and alleviate poverty for their families, living in the shanties outside Cape Town.

AIFEC has been funding Fakisandla since its inception in 2007, supporting nutrition, further education and psychosocial programmes, while providing essential strategic guidance and project management training. Baba Velele, the Project Manager and trained counsellor, and Ida Mbele a professional social worker, assist more than two hundred children affected by poverty and HIV/AIDS, and intervene in the homes when children’s safety is threatened by neglect or abuse.

Fakisandla gives hope and restores human dignity to families and empowers them through awareness of their cultural value system. The youth programme helps them to rebuild their self-esteem and confidence so that the children can grow up to become self-disciplined and successful human beings.

Two Grandmother support groups were formed to create a sense of belonging for the ‘gogos’ struggling with having to care for their grandchildren having lost their children to AIDS. They get together once a week and, over a meal and spend their time sharing stories and doing handwork like knitting, sewing and crocheting for income generation. Recently a permaculture garden was installed at Fakisandla and the grannies are active in maintaining the garden. Within quite a short time they have grown enough organic vegetables to provide a nutritional supplement to those families to whom they supply food parcels, and to sell to residents of the community.

In their own words:

“Today we feel proud of who we are because of the strength and perseverance it takes to make Fakisandla a drop-in centre for our orphans and vulnerable children. We are really respected for the care and support we offer to our community. We are able to look back on the journey we went through and the problems we experienced, and salute ourselves on what we have overcome”.