THIS PROJECT IS COMPLETE
The aim is to use the renovated premises not only for a clinic, but also as a community centre. A sewing group, afterschool club and office space for local businesses are some of the proposed uses for the space.’, ‘In the communities of Mange and Tshanani, bordering Thanda Game Reserve to the north, many families live in very basic conditions. Often devastated by the effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, parents struggle to support their own children, unable to feed, clothe or educate them. Despite their bleak situation, the people are desperate to develop new skills that will enable them to become independent. However, a dire lack of services and opportunities in the area makes it extremely difficult for local people to lift themselves out of poverty.
At the heart of the need to support these communities lies an essential need to refurbish local buildings, which are often run-down and derelict.
Currently, a derelict, empty group of buildings is used as the premises for the mobile clinic that visits once every two weeks. At the moment, those who are ill or vulnerable must travel to the local town (over 20km away) for any medical assistance or wait for the fortnightly visit from the mobile clinic. Sadly, this often results in people not receiving the treatment they need.
Clearing the area – The overgrown grass needs to be slashed and internally the structures cleaned up. Our first project would be to fence the surrounding area. In Zulu culture this is incredibly important. Fencing will also provide security for the site, and additionally, stop the cows and goats grazing on the land.
Begin to secure the ceiling and check the roofing. Begin refurbishment of the stand alone building that will become the community hall. Put flooring down – secure subsidence and cracks in the current flooring. Fix new ceiling braces and fit ceiling. Strip paint off walls, and then repaint. Find a water source that can be linked up to the clinic. Secure electricity to the building. Employ a security guard to keep the area safe.
Check the flooring on the other structure. Put in blocks for a seating/waiting area. Level the flooring, and re brace ceiling. Once the structure has been made secure and safe (ceiling, roofing, flooring), the next stage should be to work on one room. Renovate a chosen room into a private clinic space which will require a bed with curtain, sterile equipment and the relevant medical supplies. Re hang doors so that medical supplies can be locked away in a secure place.
Begin work on another room for clinic use; make sure there is enough shelving and secure (lockable) medical cupboards. Provide weighing scales and baby weighing facility.
Begin creating a room with facilities for community use: provisions for a youth club, potential sewing club or community meeting space.
Provide literature, either from the Department of Health or created by volunteers, on the importance of nutrition, healthy eating, hand washing and other basic medical practices.
Have the provisions in place for a fully functioning clinic. Work with the Department of Health to provide further nurses, and the possibility of a midwife to the project.
Begin preparation on the vegetable garden. Prepare the land – cultivation. Community members (and the possibility of volunteers) to be involved in this process. Once the land is cultivated for the vegetable garden, begin planting seeds. Ask the Department of Agriculture to support this program by providing seeds. Encourage the committee to be involved in the establishment and maintenance of the project. Use the vegetables from the garden to feed the community and provide meals for the sick. Use the area to promote variety of diet, nutrition and healthy eating.
Short Term Impact:
Etshaneni Community building and Clinic will be available as meeting facilities.
Long Term Impact:
The aim is to use the renovated premises not only for a clinic, but also as a community centre. A sewing group, afterschool club and office space for local businesses are some of the proposed uses for the space. The grounds have also been identified as a potential safe area for young adults to meet and socialize or play sports, as no such community centre currently exists.
Planned renovations also include a fence and guard post, which will provide security for those using the clinic and community centre, as well as the introduction of a vegetable garden that will help provide food for patients and staff.
The province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in South Eastern South Africa borders the countries of Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland. As its name suggests, it is the birthplace of the proud Zulu nation. Still ruled by the Zulu royal family, the rural areas of KZN maintain a very traditional way of life. Sadly, the population of KwaZulu-Natal has been devastated by the effects of poverty and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. A staggering 40.2% of people in the province are estimated to be infected with HIV, and about 10% of these have full-blown AIDS.
The Happy Africa Foundation has two projects in KZN; one in the coastal town of St. Lucia and one in the rural district of Umkhanyakude, in and around Thanda Game Reserve.