Keiskamma exists to foster hope and health as well as pride
and respect amongst a community that has been deeply affected by
the AIDS pandemic. The programme covers an expansive rural
community hit hard by the economic realities of the area of the
Eastern Cape - providing support for many children who live in
situations of drastic neglect and abuse through a number of
essential and often life changing services.
Local medical officers were overwhelmed by HIV/AIDS reaching a
Therefore the programme is medically focused - concentrating on
the treatment of opportunistic infections, stabilising their
patient's health and providing education on the use of Anti Retro
Viral drugs (ARV).
A direct outcome of this work is was the identification of
orphaned and vulnerable children in the community - the centre
provides support services such as AIDS treatment, educational
initiatives, social care and art projects, using a holistic
approach to fighting the impact problems of HIV/AIDS.
Since Starfish and Keiskamma Trust have worked together, the
number of children reached has expanded from 108 in 2008 to over
The project also provides shelter and food for vulnerable and
orphaned children who do not have caregivers and the Keiskamma OVC
- Support groups for adolescents on ARVs
- Home support for young people
- Camps for OVCs and HIV positive children
- A children's ARV clinic
- A children's inpatient centre where caregivers and children are
educated about HIV
The partnership works by combating the stigma of AIDS.
Why this partnership works
It is essential that alongside the medical and support needs of
AIDS victims, the stigma that follows the condition is also
combated to prevent the cycle from continuing through the next
generation. Through providing simple services to the
beneficiaries, the most vulnerable are protected from the effects
of stigma, the deep psychological scars prevented and a brighter
This is the story of a child in the Lover's Twist community, who
received a uniform from Starfish.
"My name is Chwayita Bani . I am 19-years old. I am in grade
10 at St Charles Sojola Sec School. I am living in Lover's Twist. I
grew up with my grandmother as my mother gave birth to me when she
was 14 years old. As my mother grew up she got married to somebody
else that is my step father. Then I had to go and stay with my
mother and my stepdad who was working in Johannesburg in the mine.
My stepdad who was a breadwinner in the family got sick and he
died. My mother had to work as a domestic worker and she earned
R300.00 per month. We are family of three from my mother's side. My
mother got pregnant had a child got a social grant for the child
and that also contributed was helpful to feed us. Then my mother
got sick it was discovered that she was HIV positive. She tried
going back to work but health prevented her. She couldn't work
anymore. I thought of not going to school as my mother was very
sick but I knew that was not a good thing to do as she always
motivated me to go to school. Eventually I decided to go to school.
Every day I was confronted by my teachers about school uniform. But
Starfish came to my rescue and again it was revealed to me that
there is light at the end of the tunnel. I want to say to Starfish
thank you very much."
This organisation has seen growth and development over the last 4
years. As the number of vulnerable children is highlighted and more
people come forward for treatment, more resources are made
available for the support of these children. With the dedication,
strength and growing expertise of this team the future for this
area of the Eastern Cape is positive.