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Orphans/Vulnerable Children (Services and support for families of orphaned and vulnerable children)

Providing focused, multi-level support for families on the brink increases their capacity to properly nurture orphaned and vulnerable children.


Institute of Cultural Affairs South Africa works to positively change the destiny of children affected by the AIDS pandemic. Our approach is the holistic support of families and the community so that they are empowered to nurture their children into productive adulthood. We know that you cannot help a child without helping the family. We believe in acting in the best interests of the child, and therefore deliver services that enable community-based care of orphaned and vulnerable children.


This project enables the Institute of Cultural Affairs South Africa to provide services to 300 vulnerable families in the township of Alexandra. This disadvantaged community is adversely affected by high unemployment and high incidence of HIV/AIDS. There are families with no income, and many with insufficient income. There are also many AIDS orphans in the community, and most of the children are vulnerable due to the poverty-stricken circumstances of their families. Itereleng: Institute of Cultural Affairs has been delivering services to vulnerable children since 2008


The project identifies orphaned and vulnerable children in households at risk and in distress. The needs of each household are assessed and multiple interventions are put in place to address these, so as to improve conditions and care for the children. 300 vulnerable households in walking distance from each other are grouped in clusters and serviced by two trained community-based care givers.
Households benefit from focused, needs-based interventions; as well as from being part of a defined community support group.
The project is rooted in the premise that the best interests of the child must be served.
Capacity is built in vulnerable households with the goal of self-reliance.
This project works to ensure that orphaned and vulnerable children receive proper care so that they can grow up in a safe family environment. The intervention recognizes that parents and families need to be empowered in order for them to meet the needs of children. The project is a replicable model that enables the community as a whole to take responsibility for their children.


Services to these families in distress are delivered through weekly home visits by trained community care givers; they include psycho social support, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, food parcels, assistance in income generation, the provision of essential resources and child care.

  • 300 people in these households will benefit directly, including approximately 300 orphaned and vulnerable children less than twelve years of age.
  • Direct life change at a cost per life of R963.00

This project has breadth, depth, intensity and permanence in that it has the potential to impact positively on the economic, social, psychological, physical and vocational aspects of the beneficiaries' lives.


There is a majority of households in distress in Alexandra. Impoverished families live in shacks. There is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, and ill health prevents parents from working and hampers their capacity to care for children. People living with HIV/AIDS are often stigmatized and isolated in the community, exacerbating their distress and undermining their capacity to cope. In these households in crisis children suffer from neglect and some times, abuse. Many children are traumatized by witnessing the physical deterioration, and even the deaths of their parents. The physical, emotional, psycho social and educational development of these children is severely compromised.


A network of trained community-based care givers provide a wide variety of services and support to these homes. There are currently 300 children receiving daily food packs from Itereleng: Institute of Cultural Affairs. As this programme expands its reach, household by household, it enables the community to develop a network of aware and capable households that provide proper nurturing to orphaned and vulnerable children. Identification and organization of households in crisis - Vulnerable families affected by HIV/AIDS are identified and registered as part of a 300-household where the homes are in walking distance from each other. The specific needs of these families are investigated and services are tailored to meet those requirements. Provision of support – Ten trained community care workers work in a cluster, each delivering life-supporting services to 15 families on a daily basis. These services include monitoring and assistance to orphaned and vulnerable children, HIV education to all family members, psycho-social and emotional support and counseling, assistance in accessing orphan grants, assistance for unemployed adults to engage in income generation projects, as well as the provision of daily food parcels. Families are monitored on a regular basis to support their progress towards living independently.

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