Legacy helps people in the greater Johannesburg area.

Johan Viljoen

The SACBC AIDS Office began operating in 2000, with a mandate from the Bishops to coordinate the response to AIDS of the various Catholic Church structures in South Africa, Swaziland and Botswana. Since then it has developed such a good track record regarding project- and financial management, that it occasionally receives requests from non-AIDS related donors to administer funds. At the beginning of last year, SACBC AIDS Office was approached by a British Christian NGO. A South African born woman, who had immigrated to the UK years ago, had bequeathed them her legacy, the only specification being that it had to benefit the poor in the greater Johannesburg area. The British NGO partnered with SACBC AIDS Office, to spend the legacy in terms of the deceased’s will.

This funding gave a welcome respite to struggling Catholic NGO’s in the Johannesburg area providing services to disadvantaged people that are not AIDS – specific: particularly those caring for the aged, and for physically and mentally handicapped people. These organizations are facing an almost total drying-up of funding. In the past all of them relied primarily on funding from Lotto. This year Lotto is only funding Early Childhood Development (ECD) projects. Most of the Catholic NGO’s caring for the aged and handicapped are currently drawing on their savings. When these have been spent, they face closure. Ronelle Sartor, the incoming Director of San Salvador, highlights another threat posed by the lack of funding: all of these projects need to fulfil registration requirements of either the Department of Health or the Department of Social Development. Should they not, they will forfeit their registration. However, to meet these requirements requires money. San Salvador, for example, must have a backup generator to ensure that operations continue during load shedding. Without funding, it is not possible to buy one. Without one, they will lose their government registration.

To date, assistance has been provided to 15 organizations. For example:

· St Francis Care Centre (Boksburg), Little Eden (Bapsfontein), Catholic Woman’s League (Kensington), San Salvador (Hyde Park), Holy Cross Home (Pretoria) and St Anthony’s Day Care for the Aged (Reiger Park) have been assisted with operational costs.

· A new vehicle was bought for the Love of Christ Ministries. It is used to take HIV positive orphans for medical appointments. Director Thea Jarvis says that the vehicle was a direct answer to prayer – just the week before SACBC contacted her, she was praying for a new vehicle.

· New toilet facilities were constructed at the Good Shepherd Day Care Centres in Madidi and Mmakaunyane built new toilet blocks.

· Missionaries of the Charity (Yeoville) were assisted to repair the roof of their hospice.

· Nazareth House (Yeoville) was given a much needed industrial washing machine for their children’s home.

· Kholofelo ya Josefa – based at St Hubert’s Parish in Alexandra- was given medical kits for its community health workers.

· Frederic Place (Coronationville) was given an autoclave, and bedside lamps for each resident. In November, Mr Mangaliso Bavenda (83 years old) shattered his hip bone when he fell one night while going to the bathroom. He returned from Hospital on the day the new lamps were installed.

Site visits by SACBC have highlighted the outstanding quality of services being rendered to the most forgotten members of society – the aged, and the handicapped.

Mr Mangaliso Bavenda, 83 years old, with Nokuthula Sibiya – the matron of Frederic Place – in front of his new bedside lamp.

Mr Mangaliso Bavenda, 83 years old, with Nokuthula Sibiya – the matron of Frederic Place – in front of his new bedside lamp.

Mr Mangaliso Bavenda, 83 years old – in front of his new bedside lamp.

Mr Mangaliso Bavenda, 83 years old – in front of his new bedside lamp.