Greece contributes €30,000 to UNICEF South Africa country programme
Funds will support community based actions for orphans and vulnerable childrenPretoria, 9 April 2007… The Government of Greece has given a €30, 000 boost to UNICEF South Africa’s programme for community-based social support of orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS (OVC).
Greek Embassy First Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission, Mrs. Ekaterini Loupas, handed over the donation to Macharia Kamau UNICEF Country Representative in a brief ceremony at the Embassy premises in Pretoria. She said that Greece was pleased to be a friend of UNICEF, an organisation that was active in providing targeted support to children through various programmes. She commended UNICEF for addressing the psycho social aspects of care through creative storytelling for children who had lost one or both parents.
Expressing his organization’s appreciation for the Greek contribution, Mr. Kamau said the psycho-social support programme, conducted under the guidance of experienced facilitators led by Dr. Dorian Haarhoff, former Head of the English Department at the University of Namibia, was a model of narrative story telling used to help children, particularly those affected by HIV and AIDS, learn to express themselves on difficult, sometimes even traumatic issues. The exercise in creative self expression aims to help children learn to cope with the impact of HIV and AIDS and other related traumas on their lives.
Mr. Kamau said that with the support of the Greek funds, UNICEF South Africa would continue its work in partnership with the provincial departments of social development in Northern Cape and Mpumalanga to train and mentor an increased number of caregivers in principles of narrative psycho-social support as part of a national initiative to develop creative ways to support and improve the lives of OVC.
UNICEF’s child protection programme, which is closely aligned to the National Action Plan for Orphans and other Children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS (2006 – 2008) incorporates strategies to strengthen and support the capacity of families to protect and care for such children and to ensure that mechanisms are in place to provide psychosocial support to the children and their families.
An assessment by UNICEF, UNAIDS and USAID in the joint 2004 publication, Children on the Brink, shows that at current parental death rates, South Africa will have some 5 million orphans by year 2015. Psychosocial support programmes for children and their caregivers, particularly those who are made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS, are limited and children affected by HIV and AIDS are often cared for by families who themselves are vulnerable and reside, more often than not, in vulnerable communities.