Right to a family environment and alternative care
A large proportion of South African children are growing up without their mothers and fathers. Many have been left in the care of extended family members, such as aunts and grannies, who often struggle to put food on the table or send the children to school.
Only one in three children lives with both biological parents. Overall, one out of every five children is an orphan, though there are differences between provinces. The HIV epidemic is largely responsible for the growing number of orphaned children: 1.9 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related illnesses.
In this context, it is vital to work with families and communities to strengthen their capacity to look after orphaned and vulnerable children. Equally important is ensuring that policies and programmes pay special attention to these children, who, more often than not, are at a greater disadvantage when it comes to accessing basic services.