OVC Support program

OVC Support Program

The number of children attending the after-care, pre-school and nursery programmes fluctuates between 345 and 410. The carers who work at the centre, the Trust’s village health workers, local primary schools and clinics assist in identifying new children who would benefit from the programmes offered by the centres. The goal is to extend the programmes reach to 500 children during 2012.

The centres provide the children with a daily meal as well as creative, developmental, educational and psycho-social activities and support, during term time and school holidays.  Preschool and nursery children also receive breakfast and lunch and the regular measuring and weighing of children will enable staff to monitor the nutritional status of those attending the centres.  Porridges with supplemented micronutrients are now also being provided regularly.

Village health workers and treatment centre staff employed by the Keiskamma Trust have completed a house to house survey in Hamburg and Ntilini, a neighbouring village.  During the course of the visits to all households in the villages, numerous children with special needs were identified and referred to the relevant agencies (health, social development, education) for assistance.  The OVC centre co-ordinators were alerted about children who need assistance through the programme.

Projects and activities that have involved all three centres in the past year are:

The centres provide the children with a daily meal as well as creative, developmental, educational and psycho-social activities and support, during term time and school holidays.  Preschool and nursery children also receive breakfast and lunch and the regular measuring and weighing of children will enable staff to monitor the nutritional status of those attending the centres.  Porridges with supplemented micronutrients are now also being provided regularly.

Village health workers and treatment centre staff employed by the Keiskamma Trust have completed a house to house survey in Hamburg and Ntilini, a neighbouring village.  During the course of the visits to all households in the villages, numerous children with special needs were identified and referred to the relevant agencies (health, social development, education) for assistance.  The OVC centre co-ordinators were alerted about children who need assistance through the programme.

Projects and activities that have involved all three centres in the past year are:

Health Screenings

A health screening exercise was conducted at Mgababa in July 2010, where all the nursery children and many of the after-care children were measured, weighed and given a basic medical examination.  The exercise was undertaken by two visiting Dutch medical interns (Sebastiaan Stapert and Sophie Post), under the supervision of Dr Carol Baker/Hofmeyr, the Trust’s doctor.  Almost all of the children seen needed to be referred to the local clinic for treatment or further investigations.  A number of children were referred to hospitals in East London for specialist assessment.

A follow up assessment was done in June 2011 by a visiting US doctor (Rebecca Jaffe) and Lacey Woloshyn.  Lacey, a registered nursing sister with extensive mental health nursing experience, is volunteering for 4 months with the Trust as part of her Masters in Public Health studies in Canada.

During the assessments, carers were trained on how to measure and weigh children and update their growth and development charts.  These will now be updated every two months so that any problems can be detected as early as possible and professional assistance can be obtained.  Each centre has been provided with a scale, measuring tape, and a supply of World Health Organisation growth charts for various age groups.

Food Parcels

Funding from Starfish Greathearts Foundation allowed the centres to distribute 180 food parcels in mid December to ensure that the poorest families had some nutritional support during the period when both the schools and the OVC centres were closed (16 December to 9 January) and children were not benefitting from the school and OVC centre feeding schemes. This was a large scale operation which involved hiring a 4 ton truck, organizing distribution to the centres and collection of food parcels by the identified parents in each village.

School Uniforms

Starfish also donated funds to provide school uniforms. After consulting teachers and village health workers, the centres distributed uniforms to the most needy learners at Hamburg Primary, Charles Sojola High School in Hamburg, Zanethemba Primary in Lovers Twist and Masibambisane Primary in Mgababa. Altogether 43 uniforms or partial uniforms were handed over.

Staff Training

10 carers are attending the National Association of Child Care Workers Child and Youth Care Work training provided as part of the PEPFAR contract with the Trust.   Carers who successfully complete the full course, are found competent after completing the required assessment tasks, and receive verification and endorsement from the SETA’s ETQA will be issued with a certificate and their details will be entered onto the National Learner Record Database (NLRD) at SAQA for an FETC qualification in Child and Youth Care Work. The training takes place for 1 week every two months and so far the carers have attended 4 modules. The training will continue in 2012.

The Trust is discussing arrangements for ECD training for 4 carers with the Centre for Social Development at Rhodes University.

New carers and village health workers attended a four day training workshop on memory work, held at the Lovers Twist centre. Staff at all three centres were provided with basic first aid training.


The Education programme has been fortunate in having had extensive assistance from volunteers in the past year. These volunteers are in addition to the volunteers mentioned in the various activity areas above.

The German government’s DED Weltwaerts programme sponsors 2 volunteers to Keiskamma Trust each year. Jesusman Gildas has been the volunteer allocated to the Aftercare centre in Hamburg in the past year. He will unfortunately leave us during August 2011 and it is unlikely that we will be allocated a new volunteer from DED this coming year due to their having had to reduce their programme.

A group of volunteers from Canada came to Hamburg for 6 weeks in February and March. Two women who were ex-teachers did very valuable work with the carers at all three OVC centres and the teachers at three primary schools in the area. They worked with the carers and teachers on lesson planning and teaching methods, songs and games for children ranging from 1 year to 13 years of age and prepared lessons for foundation phase teachers in line with the curriculum requirements for Life Orientation, which most teachers seem to struggle with.

They were accompanied by two young qualified nurses who assisted on the Keiskamma Trust’s health programme and also trained OVC centre staff on basic emergency first aid. The group also put a lot of effort into maintenance and repairs at Bodiam Prmary school which Keiskamma Canada had provided some funds for during the course of the 2010/11 financial year. The school staff, school governing body and learners were delighted with the improvements and the stationery and other supplies brought by “Team Canada”.

Children with learning or developmental problems at Hamburg aftercare and primary school were assessed by a visiting volunteer UK occupational therapist who wrote up short reports on the children for referral to the Department of Basic Education.

Two young Canadians working with the Sustainable Seas Trust at Rhodes University visited for a month and did two sessions of environmental education with the children at the Hamburg centre.  They introduced the children to the Eco-schools concept which we are hoping to incorporate in our programme. The Institute has been in discussion with the Trust on how to co-operate on their planned programme in Hamburg. They have obtained initial funding for the programme and implementation is in the planning phase. Several other overseas volunteers have spent short periods in Hamburg and most of them have assisted at the Hamburg aftercare during the course of their stays.

Creative Development Programme

Merran Marr started working for the Trust in April. She has a Masters in Art Therapy and extensive experience working with both adults and children. She is in the process of developing a programme to be implemented by volunteers who she will train to use art, drama and music to empower children and adolescents by providing them with the opportunity to discover their own talents and self-worth. One of the rationales behind this programme is that current education and prevention campaigns are failing due to young people having no self esteem, hope or real prospects.

In return for volunteering, the young volunteers will be given formal training in Early Childhood Development and Community Development work which together with the work experience they gain will hopefully assist them in securing employment in the future.

Life Skills Development

Weekend and week-long workshop “camps” for adolescents and younger children who are on ARV treatment or being prepared for treatment initiation continue to be held every 6-8 weeks at the Umtha Welanga treatment centre. The camps provide an opportunity to monitor the children’s treatment adherence, health status and psycho-social circumstances.

A programme of HIV/AIDS education, sex education, life orientation, group work and social interaction skills activities is provided by treatment centre personnel, visiting medical students and local peer-educators.  This group of HIV+ve children has grown in size with 5 new children joining the group for the camp. In addition to health and lifestyle education and counselling, the children participate in ceramics workshops and active creative play sessions.  Unathi Meslane will in future be co-ordinating the youth prevention and schools programme on behalf of the education programme.

The recent week-long camp for older children at the treatment centre was facilitated by Sbonelo Ngubane from the Onjengami Project (part of the Sinomlando Centre at the University of KZN).  Onjengami had recently piloted a very well received programme for HIV positive adolescents in KZN and Sbonelo provided training for health and OVC programme staff using the newly developed manuals.  The camp was very successful and produced a very close and happy group of young people by the end of the week.

Many of the events and activities in the OVC centres are planned around important days (nationally and internationally) and public holidays. Programmes have focussed on Human Rights (particularly child rights), World Play Day, Freedom Day, Youth Day, Madiba day and many others.

Visiting medical students and other health professionals run regular sessions on  hygiene, general and sexual health and HIV/AIDS prevention at both the primary and high schools. Many teachers are uncomfortable dealing with these issues with their students even though they are part of the Life Orientation syllabus. Teachers are generally very grateful to have independent facilitators deal with these issues on their behalf.

The Trust ran an HIV prevention campaign at the popular Hamburg Beach Festival which attracts hundreds of (mainly young) visitors from both the Peddie area and other towns and cities such as East London and King William’s Town.

Donations of goods and supplies

The amount of supporters providing food, clothing, toys, books and other useful supplies for the centres has grown tremendously over the past two years.

We have received large donations of books from Rotary Rondebosch and the Edmonton Public Library in Canada.  Avusa Publishing (Sunday Times) has provided us with good supplies of their thematic educational supplements (Madiba Day, Xenophobia, World Cup, Matric Q&A) which we have distributed to our centres and many primary and high schools in the South Peddie area.

The University of the 3rd Age in Port Alfred has also provided food including fortified porridges.  The Port Alfred Presbyterian Church, Peas in a Pod women’s group and Port Alfred Christian School have all provided clothes and high quality knitted products including beautiful crocheted blankets for the nursery at Mgababa and children attending life skills camps run by the Trust.  Thanks to their efforts we have also been able to distribute hand made jerseys to all the creches in Hamburg, Ntilini and Bodiam and primary health clinics throughout the South Peddie area at the start of winter each year.

Mgababa Centre (Bjorn Aftercare and Nursery)

Centre co-ordinator and Aftercare co-ordinator: Nozigqibo Sinuka
Nursery co-ordinator: Eunice Tokota
Aftercare Carers: Nonthuthuzelo Mablayi, Xabiso Tokota
Nursery Carers: Noxolo Tlokwe, Nokuzola Ntengu
Centre Support Staff: Nomzamo Manise, Fezekile Mani, Khatazile Kota, Sikhumbuzo Thimba

The nursery has over 30 infants and toddlers attending on a regular basis.

The aftercare has over 100 children attending regularly.

Nozigqibo Sinuka, the centre co-ordinator has been building links between the centre and Masibambisane Primary School. The centre has strong connections with various community committees in the area.

Eunice Tokota, the nursery co-ordinator, was selected to undergo the extensive memory work training course offered by Sinomlando/CERI at the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg. She completed the academic and practical aspects of the training at the end of 2010. She has recently attended a children’s memory box camp at Lovers Twist and this means that the Trust will be able to start holding workshops for children attending the Mgababa centre. The first camp is planned for the September 2011 school holidays.

Two of the planned workshops in developmental, educational and therapeutic play have been held at Mgababa OVC centre (6 carers). There is one more workshop to be held before the series is implemented at the Lovers Twist Centre (6 carers).

A jungle gym / outdoor play equipment set was installed at Mgababa. This was generously funded by the Wanderers Golf club in Johannesburg. The children spend hours having fantasy and physical fun on it.

With the recent good  rains, the vegetable gardens at the centre (and the other centres) are flourishing. Significant quantities of fresh produce are being provided to the feeding schemes and the carers and the children are very excited by the success of their endeavours.

Daily art classes were started at Mgababa OVC centre. Each afternoon Xabiso Tokota teaches a group of children (sorted by age and ability) drawing, painting, print making, pottery etc The children are loving the classes and producing great work. Xabiso is an excellent artist with impressive motivational skills.

During the July School holidays Xabiso ran the first series of creative development programme activities.  Also during these holidays 53 children and seven adults went on a tour to Port Elizabeth. They had a great time visiting Umhlobo Wenene radio station, the Bay World museum and the Addo Nature Reserve.  The visits were followed by a braai and a very weary bunch of children and adults were delivered to their homes in Mgababa at 2am!

Lovers Twist (Eva Centre)

Centre co-ordinator: Nomathemba Ngqondi
Carers: Ntombikhayise Majamani, Nokwaka Mgaba, Phakama Kosani Booi, Khunjuzwa Daniso
Support Staff: Landiwe Macingwana, Pumeza Mbinza, Simon Mpupu, Nomvuselelo Sikaka, Wells Spaji, Cekiso Thotyelwa, Noludwe Xhausile, Nomfuniselo Bani.

Around 105 children attend the aftercare at Lovers Twist and 36 attend pre-school.

At the time of the Trust’s last annual report, it seemed that we would lose Nomathemba Nqondi as the Eva Centre Co-ordinator as she wanted to study Social Work full time. Fortunately for us, Nomathemba decided to carry on with her studies through UNISA and has been able to stay on at the centre.

Lovers Twist pre-school held its second graduation ceremony attended by parents, members of the community committee and local teachers and health professionals. The pre-school is doing very well and numbers of children attending are growing fast – particularly in the lower age group of 2, 3 and 4 years of age.

A memory-box camp was held at Lovers Twist from 12th to 15th December. The camp was attended by 37 children, all of whom have previously attended a memory box camp, but who had been identified as requiring follow-up and further grief and loss counseling.

The second camp for the year was held during the July holidays and was attended by 30 children.  Sinomlando, the organisation based at the University of KwaZulu Natal which trained Keiskamma staff in memory work, has developed new materials for the camps. A facilitator from Sinomlando attended the July camp to introduce the new material to our staff and the programme was a very special one for all involved.

The Lovers Twist pre-school children participated in the local sports day and came first.  They went on to Peddie to participate in the South Zone regional sport competition and came second. The children were very proud of themselves and so were their carers.

Twice weekly Capoeira sessions have been started at the Lovers Twist centre. A large number of children are attending including children who have not attended after-care in the past.

The department of Health finally came to assess the Lovers Twist centre and awarded a certificate of compliance. They were very impressed by the standard of the facilities and the quality of the care and programmes provided.

Hamburg Aftercare Centre (Hamburg Primary School)

Centre co-ordinator: Veliswa Mangcangwaza
Carers: Nzondi Mapuma, Norih Nxadi
Support Staff: Noyolo Solwandle, Neliswa Mhahmi

The aftercare programme caters for close to 100 primary school children. Initially the programme focussed on academic development, working intensely on literacy and numeracy. This centre remains more focussed on the educational side, partly because it is based in the school itself, but is broadening its activities to include younger children from the foundation phase and provide more creative developmental input.

Reading groups at the aftercare are very popular and there is a richly resourced reading room which provides a quiet space for children to spend time in – either in groups or individually.

On Fridays children have a choice between soccer and netball programmes, science experiments and art.

Independently from the Trust programme, an overseas visitor from the US (Pat Thomas) who is a remedial teacher who visits Hamburg each year, spent six weeks at Hamburg primary working with the children who have problems – mainly on reading and comprehension. She has written up full reports on all the children and left individual education plans for each child with the after-care staff to continue wording with them. She also started book clubs – one for girls and one for boys.

As most of the Keiskamma Trust employees have children who attend the primary and high schools in the village, the education programme is engaging with parents to be more active in the school governing bodies and PTA’s. There is room for significant improvement in the quality of the education being provided in both institutions and it is hoped that if parents take on an advocacy role better progress will be made. Initial meetings with parents have been held in all three centres.

Bodiam Primary School

The Trust has obtained funding to employ two teacher assistants at the Bodiam school as the small number of pupils attending the school means that there are not enough teachers allocated by the Department of Basic Education to ensure that children have an educator in their classrooms all the time.

Andiswa Makhubalo was employed a year and a half ago with assistance from Ms Jane Spriggs and then later with further assistance from Keiskamma Canada.

The elderly teacher who Andiswa was employed to assist, Miss Mcoseli, retired at the end of 2010.  This precipitated a crisis as the Department of Education had still not replaced a teacher who had died the previous year. As a result, Andiswa took over teaching the grades 1,2 and 3 completely on her own, despite not having any formal qualifications.

The Keiskamma Trust engaged another young woman (Ondela Penya) to assist Andiswa from the beginning of February 2011. Fortunately a new teacher was allocated by the Department of Education (Ms Manjezi) and although her training is as a high school teacher, she has taken over the grade 2/3 classroom.

Andiswa, Ms Manjezi and Ondela (as well as the other teachers and all the pupils in the school) were greatly assisted and supported in March and April by the team of volunteers from Canada (Bertha, Marilyn and Neil). Apart from the generous donations of stationery, toys and equipment they made, they spent a lot of time with both Andiswa and Ms Manjezi developing teaching and lesson plans. This was particularly helpful in helping Ms Manjezi make the adjustment to foundation phase teaching.

The 23 Foundation in the UK, established by Jamie Carrgher, the star Liverpool football player, donated 30 pairs of soccer boots, some T-shirts and a No 23 Liverpool shirt signed by Carragher. It was the passionate dream of Nokwanda Makhubalo, a founding member of the Keiskamma Trust and member of the school governing body of Bodiam Primary who sadly passed away earlier this year, that Bodiam develop its own soccer team. Her dream has been taken forward by Andiswa and Cebo Mvubu who heads up the Trust’s ceramics studio. The budding soccer team is a mixed team of girls and boys who were delighted to receive their own pairs of “cogs”.