Welcome to the Winter edition of the AAF winter newsletter.
Thanks once again for all the generous donations we receive that support AAF in their the ongoing work in Africa.
•This month John and Rosalie fly to Africa to continue encouraging and assisting people who are part of the AAF projects. John has written a short letter to explain their trip
•Also Renate Krol relates her visit with Mumsie and her garden
•There is a report from Phumxile Ndlovu regarding her work with assisting people with AIDS
•Tim Pickles plant sales help AAF
This week I am about to leave for Africa with my wife Rosalie. The frequent trips we make are both arduous and inspiring. Making a difference in the lives of deprived, and often sick people is not a simple thing and the knowledge that so many people give sacrificially to AAF for this purpose gives us a great sense of responsibility.
Living in Australia in 2014, at this time in history, makes us among the most priviledged and spoilt of approximately 110 billion people who have ever lived in the world. This being the case, every visit we make to the homes of desperately poor people reminds me of our good fortune and puts our personal frustrations and aspirations into perspective.
On this trip we are excited that we will meet a number of young people who AAF have mentored and, although from poor circumstances, are now enjoying tertiary education. We will spend time with orphans and vulnerable children, attending ”camps”, teaching ”value-based life skills” in which they are inspired to respect themselves and other people as they come to understand that every one of them is unique, with the potential to achieve great things in their lives.
We will visit six schools which are, or are about to partner with schools in Australia. Already we have seen exciting results both here and in Africa from their relationships.
We will visit, and hopefully encourage, those African people we work with. They inspire us with their enthusiasm and dedication to help their own people.
We are taking with us an old friend, Richard Daniel, to film the people we meet to consolidate in everyone’s mind how worthwhile the support we receive is, and to show how it is utilised.
I would remind eveyone that all that is given is used in Africa, as all of the wonderful people who work with us in Australia are volunteers. All travel expenses are met by the travellers themselves.
We wish John and Rosalie a safe and fruitful journey!
If you would like to make a donation to AAF, no matter the size, just click here.
From Renate Krol, who we know through her work as a medical technician and a long time supporter of African AIDS Foundation…
Recently Renate visited Philakahle for 7 weeks where she worked with Mumsie who is the garden facilitator. Renate has a degree in Agriculture and animal husbandry. She gives a very enthusiastic report of what she was able to achieve and teach, as well as feeling that she learnt a lot.
“Mumsie is starting to make use of the enthusiastic gardeners. Tim Pickles, from Tim’s Garden Centre, called these the “hero gardeners” when he visited.
These gardeners will be available in their local area to guide others and therefore lessen the load on Mumsie. One who I was very impressed with was Mr Shabalala. We had been visiting households all week and many had nothing growing and some not even garden beds. This was in winter. I was getting somewhat depressed and then we came to Mr Shabalala’s garden and I was so excited. Here was a person who had built another fence around his existing garden and all his garden was laid out in orderly beds with seedlings planted as well as crops growing. If he could do it then others could also.
We had workshops at Philakahle and I was able to add some helpful things.
By reducing the width of the paths they could then plant more vegetable plants. Also not to plant too close to the netting as animals will put their heads through and eat the closest crops. Also adjusting the lower wire of the garden and making it tight so animals can’t get in. Using liquid manure to help reduce shock of seedlings. Get the fruit trees out of the fenced garden as they shade the crops.
Gardens producing fresh vegetables can make a huge difference to people on treatment for HIV/AIDS
I left Mumsie to experiment with many different seeds I bought and also to try to grow potatoes in cardboard boxes. I was able to give day old chickens, starter mash and water additive for prizes at workshops, as well as other prizes.
Many people would like to grow crops in winter but have no money for seeds. This would be such a good thing as there is less competition selling in winter. These people are desperately poor and often needing vegetables, as many are on treatment for HIV/AIDS.
The learning went both ways.
Africa has had enormous resources donated over the years with little effect. We have come to see one of the greatest needs of the continent is quality, ethical leadership, with a Christian world view. AAF is engaged in trying to produce these leaders.
Phumzile Ndlovu is a wonderful example of our efforts. She writes…
I am Programs Coordinator in the Department of Centre for Diseases Control (CDC). Our role is to sub-grant local organisations, especially small community based organisations. We capacitate them in order to deliver quality services in the community. I monitor their budget to see that they spend accordingly and ensuring that all expenditures are in line with their budgeted line items. I also monitor the programmatic objectives and ensure that they are achieved on time.
From 1999 to 2006 my work evolved around coordinating Home-base Care. Caring for the sick people in their homes, as the hospital wards could not keep many people, as they were full. Community Based Home Care Intervention was intoduced for caring and supporting people who were terminally ill due to AIDS and other related infections, in their own homes.
Phum has become a strong African leader!
During that period we played a vital role of advocating for the ARV drugs to be accessible in Emmaus Hospital where Dr. John Schwarz served many years ago as the Medical Superintendent. In 2004 the National Department of Health accredited Emmaus Hospital to initiate HIV positive patient Anti Retroviral Drugs. Beside the South African Government taking role and responsibility to provide medical and clinical care, we also thank the support that came from African AIDS Foundation to sustain the passion of the women so that they can care for their own people in their homes, Home Based Care volunteers.
Currently, there is a turnaround with the AIDS epidemic as 2.4 million clients are now receiving ARV. In the past there was a stigma towards HIV, but now more than 20 million people tested for HIV in 2013. This shows that people are now aware of HIV because they can easily access treatment from public health facilities. The life expectancy is slowly going up and people live longer.
Phum in her office
Tim Pickles, from Tim’s Garden Centre, was recently interviewed by the Macarthur Chronicle regarding his sale of a plant called Euphorbia milii. Tim is selling this Madagascan plant to raise money for African AIDS Foundation. They are for sale at Tim’s Garden Centre, Campbelltown at $13 each or two for $20.
His target is to raise more than $1000. Tim said sales are a little slow at the moment due to the cold weather but he hopes sales will pick up in Spring. Tim has sold nearly half so far.
Tim will also has a new green tomato, which is great for pickling, that will go on sale in Spring to raise further funds for AAF.
If you wish to read the whole newspapr article click here.
Chairman African AIDS Foundation Australia