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The lifeblood of a community

Umthombo wekuphila

Khayelitsha-based organisation Umthombo Wempilo has been part of the NACOSA network since 2020 and received capacity building support and a small grant as part of the Community Systems Strengthening programme. “We have been running as an organization for 14 years now but we have been lacking in most of the departments in the organization,” said Nikelwa Msipha from Umthombo Wempilo.  The organisation received training and mentoring focused on governance, planning and fundraising. “For us it has helped a lot in terms of our governance and the sustainability of the organization because for some time we did not have funding,” said…

Rophe – The community healer

Rophe community organisation

Rophe Community Services, named after the Hebrew word meaning ‘healing’ or ‘healer,’ is a community-based organisation born out of a deep concern for the lack of resources and proper counselling for AIDS patients in 2001. The organisation was founded by Carole Mdluli through mobilising retired nurses and volunteers.  Dealing with problems like not having enough funds and the right facilities, Rophe started in a small office with a committed team. “We had a tiny little office, which only had two rooms, but then we did capacity building with NACOSA and fortunately we were also funded for COVID 19,” Carole explains. …

Changing communities

Thy Kingdom Care brings hope to a community dealing with difficult problems. Thandi Khanyile has been running the organisation since 2013, addressing a range of social and health issues including an increase in the number of HIV-positive people, a rising number of orphans, growing crime, and an increase in teenage pregnancies.   “Helping the community is one of my passions. I couldn’t just look at the challenges without doing anything,” Thandi says. She felt compelled to contribute more to her community. “I used to assist the community with my salary because there was nothing happening in our community.”  Thandi and…

Eco toilets boost young women’s health in schools

Eco friendly toilets

St Lewis Bertrand’s Secondary School, one of the top performing schools in Newcastle,  KwaZulu-Natal now has better toilets, thanks to Waterloo SA. The safe  eco-friendly flush toilets are making a big difference for the school and NACOSA’s Imagine programme.  The Imagine programme, which works to prevent HIV and unwanted pregnancy amongst young women, has established Safe Spaces at schools like St Lewis Bertrand’s. In these safe spaces, near-peer facilitators, nurses, and social workers provide a number of services such as testing, health support and counselling. Imagine aims to help girls and young women imagine and bring to life a happy,…

Harm Reduction Q&A

Harm reduction peer educator

Q: What is harm reduction? A: Harm reduction is a non-judgmental approach to policies, programmes, and practices that seeks to reduce the negative health, social, and legal consequences of drug use, drug policies, and drug laws. Q: What are some examples of harm reduction services? A: NACOSA’s People Who Use Drugs Programme works with organisations like TB HIV Care, deploying peer educators like Justin Deary who take their time to know people who use drugs, listen to their stories without judging them. They assist them in accessing programs like Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST), provide methadone to reduce their dependency on…

Zanele’s pregnancy journey

“I didn’t have enough knowledge about contraceptives back then.” Shares Zanele a 20-year old mother. If you have sex, you can get pregnant – even if it’s your first time and even if you only have sex once. Contraceptives or birth control stop you from getting pregnant before you are ready to start a family. Different contraceptives options like condoms, the pill, injections, implants and emergency contraception are available for free at government clinics. Zanele was in grade 12, just about to finish high school when she found out she was pregnant. “Becoming a mom is a big deal, and…