The Khuphuka Project, KwaZulu Natal,
Providing care and support for orphaned and vulnerable children
The Khuphuka Project is an innovative community outreach project serving the Mqatsheni tribal region of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Khuphuka is at the South African epicentre of HIV/Aids. The Mandala Trust worked with members of London Insight who held a sponsored walk, and raised almost £10,000, to buy a 4-wheel drive vehicle for Khuphuka; it’s a remote, rural community in which, until now, emergency hospital trips have been impossible if its streams were in spate, and, as you might expect, once you leave the highway there are no surfaced roads.
Skhumbuzo Mlibeni, the project leader, and his colleagues serve 10,000 people. HIV/Aids infection rates are not yet established accurately, but are known to be very high – each weekend sees funerals in the valley. People are given access to medical treatment, drugs and emergency food, and the Trust has funded a crèche and playground. The workers help people to claim welfare funds by tracking down birth certificates and advocating on their behalf. Since 2010, they have been camping with groups of young men, to speak together about what being a man in Zulu society means, and how that might need to change. In June 2011, a Mandala Trust volunteer worked with local women to launch the women’s network.