Mseleni, Northern KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
Family Support Teams
Lulisandla Kumntwana contacts lots of local churches in an area and presents the Biblical call to minister to those in need. Those who want to join are trained in workshops and the aim is that each local area should have a team of Christians from different churches that care for the orphans in their community. So far we have 56 teams doing this, which involve about 300 people working as volunteers.
The team members are local people who live in the same community as the children who have been orphaned. Some of them have orphans in their own homes. The team members themselves often have very little, with most of them relying on what they can grow in their fields and selling handcrafts.
The team members visit the orphans living near them at least once a week to help them practically, spiritually and emotionally. Some of the things they may help with include:
· Ploughing the family fields
· Helping around the home by cleaning, cooking and repairing
· Teaching the children handcrafts and to mend their clothes
· Taking the children to clinic if they are sick
· Being a caring adult by sitting and talking with them
· Supervising homework and advocating for them at the local schools
· Providing spiritual support by taking them to church, reading the Bible and praying with them.
The majority of these orphans live with a relative – maybe an older sibling, an aunt, or a grandparent. Those relatives of course also need help – their resources are stretched & they themselves have been bereaved.
We currently have four coordinators whose main task is to work with the teams – they meet with each team every month so that they can plan, discuss & pray together. There are also regular training workshops for the teams. The coordinators do a lot of individual work with the orphans too.
Family Support Team members doing Child Action Plans with a coordinator
The coordinator and FST together draw up a Child Action Plan for each child. This identifies what needs the child has & plans interventions. Every time the team meets the CAP is updated, recording any changes, progress in school, & what the FST member & coordinator have done. The CAP is then used to update the LK data base.
There are regular workshops to train the Family Support Team members. Topics in 2011 are: Child Abuse & Children’s Rights; Memory Box Refresher; HIV AIDS information, & How to access birth & death certificates; Teenage pregnancy & substance abuse.