At one of four schools in a cluster, a permanent centre has been established where:
- 426 orphans have been registered.
- Daily 300 are fed.
- The children do their homework after School at the centre and are supervised by volunteers.
- They are provided with uniforms.
- Taught sport and provided with recreational opportunities.
- Counselled; visited in their homes and generally provided with all the support that they would receive in a normal home.
- The facility has a crèche which cares for the needs of 2-6 year olds during the day. These are in many cases the siblings of the older orphans who are attending school. Some of the children are from “child-headed households”, where a child of 14 or so is running the home and caring for his/her siblings.
This is a project financed by Investec Bank and run under the auspices of NOAH (Nurturing Orphans of Aids for Humanity). It is the intention to partner other organisations and sponsors, and to roll the concept out to other schools in Alexandra, each time selecting four Schools in a “cluster” and setting up a facility at one of the Schools which the children will attend on a daily basis. There are 20 Schools in Alexandra which would mean 4 more clusters, of 4 Schools per cluster, to cater for the needs of more than 2000 HIV/AIDS orphans and vulnerable children.
Robin Binckes, Chairman of Friends of Alexandra (FOA) helped establish this project in 2005. Robin now serves on the Board of NOAH Alexandra, and partners FOA with the project in as many ways as he can to assist the children at the project.
The centre is based in rented premises at Realogile High School (one of the schools that the orphans are drawn from) and is staffed by volunteers from the Alexandra community, and is open 365 days per annum. The centre has a full time, salaried Manager, Cook and Child Minder but the 14 Volunteers contribute their time expertise and love in return for a small stipend.
Volunteers call on homes & evaluate and monitor conditions on an ongoing basis. Orphans live with other members of family such as Uncles and Aunts, foster parents and of course some are from “child-headed households.”
Friends of Alexandra OA assists this project in the following ways:
- Although Investec Bank sponsors the project, and is the main sponsor, there is an ongoing need for additional funds and goods.
- FOA assists in identifying needs and helps find appropriate sponsors.
- For the past 4 years FOA have ensured, through additional sponsorships, that each of the orphans receive a meaningful age and gender appropriate Xmas gift at Xmas time
- In 2008, Xmas was sponsored by the staff at African Bank. Each child received a gift and a Xmas meal. Previous years Xmas day saw Father Xmas arrive to deliver the presents on the back of an Alexandra Fire engine
- FOA runs an”orphan sponsoring scheme” called “Angels of FOA.” The scheme provides orphans selected (those with the greatest need at that time) with additional financial aid from benefactors who “sponsor” a child. At present 12 orphans are benefitting from this scheme – 11 are from USA “Angels of Friends of Alexandra.” The children who receive the additional assistance are identified by the staff and Counselors at the centre. The income and expenditure is done through FOA who keep an ongoing account for each of the 12 children.
Christmas at NOAH
Children who are cared for under the auspices of NOAH are given a Christmas party each year, and are each given an age and gender appropriate gift.