Sipho (not his real name) is one of many HIV positive and disadvantaged children living in rural areas around South Africa. He stays in a poor neighbourhood under Mbashe municipality, with his 16 year old aunt and three siblings, together with two cousins, all under the age of five. His single mother died in 2008, due to HIV and AIDS, followed by his grandmother two years later.
Sipho’s deteriorating health, has not only subjected him to constant agony which leads to constant groaning, he is a very isolated child. “He does not attend school because he is deaf and cannot speak, so we don’t know where to take him,” says his teenage aunt, Khuthala (not her real name). His situation is also made worse by the lack of food in their home. Two years ago, Khuthala decided to give up school and take care of her siblings and cousins. However she is still underage to be employed and cannot even continue with her temporal domestic jobs because she also has a six months old baby to care for.
According to Khuthala, Sipho was born HIV positive, but as children, they never knew his status until her mother (Sipho’s granny) died. “We just knew he was always sick and my mother protected and loved him dearly, and would give him medication daily” she says.However, after the passing-on of parents, Sipho’s medication got finished and her aunt does not have money to take him to the clinic for more.
The nearest health facility, Taleni clinic is about five km away from their home. “The other day he was too sick and was crying a lot, so I tried to carry him on my back, taking him to the clinic, but could hardly travel one km carrying him, he was too heavy,” says Khuthala.
World Vision (WV) in Mbashe has recently learnt about this family’s situation, and efforts to get Sipho to restart antiretroviral treatment are underway. “The situation of this family needs urgent attention. We cannot rest until we know it has changed for better, and as WV in Mbashe we are doing all we can to assist,” says WV Leader in Mbashe, Ernest Fraser.
According to Fraser Department of Social Services has been notified about the situation of these children. “We also appeal to the nation to help these children taste the joy of being a child. Your contribution can help towards making sure they become happy, healthy and are educated for life,” concluded Fraser.