Following the Fellows: Winnie Wakaba in South Africa

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By Winnie Wakaba

Around 7 a.m. I get up and begin to get ready for my day.

I’m fortunate enough to have a hot shower every morning, unlike the members of the communities that I serve while stationed at the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust (HACT) in Durban, South Africa.

I have also been granted another luxury: the opportunity to drive to work. By 8 a.m., I am in the office and ready to start my day.

HACT offers me many opportunities to help those around me and to grow as a person.

Every day is different from the last. You might find me in the office helping Sara, the education manager, on stats for the home-based carers or acting as an interim receptionist. I have also been involved in heading to the four primary schools that HACT partners with to assist the education team in teaching life skills every Tuesday and Thursday.

Currently, I’m involved in tutoring English to a boy from an impoverished community who is interested in applying to one of the most prestigious boys’ high schools in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

I will also be tutoring geography and math to some high school boys and girls in the coming weeks.

The children that I will be tutoring are all from the same community, known as Kwa Nyuswa. They attend one of two support groups both of which are facilitated by Nontobeko Nkala and Aretha Ngcobo. One of the groups is for children ages four to 11, and the other one is for children ages 12 to 18. There are specific lesson plans for each age group, teaching necessary life skills.

HACT works with an amazing goup of women who serve as carers, taking care of 40 children with their communities.

They assist with family, food and health needs that children might have. Although they are only required to take care of 40 children, they take care of far more because of the growing number of vulnerable children in their areas.

This growing number of vulnerable children has led to the launch of 4 new support group sites.

Ntobe’s support group consists of about 80 children, 40 in each age group. With the success of her support group, and the launch of the new sites, these carers will be changing the lives of well over 400 children within the Valley of a Thousand Hills.

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