Caring for the sick and orphans
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CTA. 2005. Caring for the sick and orphans. Rural Radio Resource Pack 05/4. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57421
Thabani Lunga of the Matabeleland AIDS Council and Betty Chiwambo of the Bhuwacha women?s garden group, discuss their work to support those living with AIDS, as well as AIDS orphans, through farming and gardening.
Caring for the sick and orphans Cue: Women in Africa have always had a heavy workload, but few would disagree that the HIV/AIDS pandemic has added to their burden. In most societies, women are responsible for tending the sick and for looking after children, but the spread of AIDS has greatly increased the size of these tasks. So how can women hope to meet these responsibilities, as well as fulfil their many other roles in their families and communities? One strategy which has proved successful in a number of countries is the cultivation of communal and home gardens. These have the advantage of providing both nutritious food - a vital need for those living with AIDS - as well as employment and income. They can also be an excellent way for orphans to learn the essential farming skills that they may need to ensure their future food security. Many non-government organisations are now supporting women?s home garden projects, for example by providing training, equipment or inputs like seed and fertilizer. One example is the Matabeleland AIDS Council in Zimbabwe, which works through a participatory process to encourage communities to identify their needs, and offers support in meeting their goals. Busani Bafana spoke recently to Thabani Lunga, Information Officer for the council, who described some help being offered to communities in six wards in the Plumtree area of southern Matabeleland. IN: ?We realise that HIV and AIDS ? OUT: ? going to have better lives.? DUR?N 5?07? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Betty Chiwambo of the Bhuwacha women?s group in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, on the benefits that home gardens can offer to orphans and those living with AIDS. Transcript Lunga We realise that HIV and AIDS has got a big impact on the rural communities especially the women who are involved in agriculture. So much that in order to alleviate that problem what we decided to do is to distribute some drip kits. And out of these wards we are going to select two members of the community. And those two members of the community happen to be the farmers who would intend after we train them they would intend to go back to their respective villages and train others in the use of drip kits. These drip kits we hope they will go a long way in alleviating the problem of HIV/AIDS because we hope that they would use them in the community gardens and also these drip kits we have given to those old women who are looking after AIDS orphans and those who are also infected of course. Bafana Would you say it is very important for women farmers particularly those who are breadwinners or who are engaged in intensive agricultural activities to have information on HIV and AIDS? Lunga It is very important because they have to know how agriculture is linked to HIV and AIDS. They should know that agriculture is a way of improving the lives of the people, of improving poverty thereby lessening the impact of HIV/AIDS in their particular communities. NARR As well as the communities in Plumtree, the Matabeleland AIDS Council has also supported women farmers in the city of Bulawayo. The Bhuwacha women?s group began by growing vegetables on a plot they were given by the city council, but after security problems most of their farming now takes place in their own home gardens. Busani spoke to the founder of the group, Betty Chiwambo, and was keen to know more about their activities, in particular how they are now helping children orphaned by AIDS. Bafana As a member of the Bhuwacha garden in the year 2000 you formed the Good Hope Orphan Care Programme. What was the idea of forming this orphan care programme? Chiwambo Some of our members had left and we had nothing to help these children so we thought it was better for us to identify all the orphans within our community. We have introduced this farming within these families so that they can be kept occupied creatively and also to learn self-reliance. Bafana What impact would you say it has actually made in the livelihood of your clients? Chiwambo Yes there is a great change within the community and especially these vulnerable orphans. They are now able to feed themselves. And as we give them our food supplements they also get some from their own gardens, the fresh vegetables like carrots, onions, cabbages, peas and beans. They are getting them from their own gardens of which is a great improvement because most of them they did not know anything concerning gardening. Also these people living here are having a lot from their own gardens. So there is a need for us to continue training the community and these needy people. Bafana Apart from the nutritional need which these gardens have fulfilled what other roles have the gardens played? Chiwambo I can say they have helped us to keep these children occupied somehow. They do not have time to loiter around doing dirty games, they are ever occupied and they have got this feeling of possession. Bafana Would you say it has also helped them raise some income? Chiwambo Yes I can say because those who are not involved in these programmes they are also buying from these children which of course will help them to get some money to buy themselves some other commodities like soaps and sugar and some other things. Bafana What advice then would you give to other women especially those who are also looking after orphans on urban farming? Chiwambo Yes for those who are looking after orphans they do not have to rely on donations. They have to teach these children on self-reliance. To teach them on how they can help themselves. If they can do farming that means they are going to have a point of nutrition and cash to help themselves. So they are going to have better lives. End of track.
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