May’Khethele is an uMgungundlovu District based schools project serving orphans, children and youth made vulnerable due to HIV and AIDS. The project aims to support and care for orphans and vulnerable children and youth through the school as well as family and community intervention. May’Khethele works in up to 27 schools in the uMgungundlovu District Municipality. The project works closely with the Department of Education, Health and Social Development in aligning strategies and providing support services to young people. The services provided by the passionate team of May’Khethele includes HIV and AIDS education, Behavioural change workshops and Dialogues, psychosocial support, Skill development, school fee exemption, HIV counselling and testing and more. Very interactive programmes are used to be relevant to the children and youth using Edutainment teams and small group facilitation. May’Khethele project is now operating in two offices. One office in the central city of Pietermaritzburg at 190 Pine Street, and a state of the art Youth Development Centre in Snathing Road-KwaDambuza.
May’Khethele has grown in the past 9 years of its existence. The programme has moved into more sustainability programmes that will benefit their beneficiaries. Through its new KwaDambuza Youth Development Centre, the project is tapping into skills development for the most vulnerable youth that they save.
This project started in 2007 and through funding from PEPFAR, Department of Social Development and NACOSA, it is now reaching many youths than it could before. The overall aim of this project is to improve the quality of life of the identified orphans and vulnerable children and youth within the district through various programmes. The project activities are geared towards a holistic community development approach. The project offers programmes as follows:
- Schools Programme: May’Khethele’s entrance to the community is through schools. Programmes run in schools include HIV prevention through behaviour change workshops; psychosocial support of OVCs through structured group therapy; child protection interventions that include assisting OVCs obtain legal identity documents & protection from abuse; assisting them to access grants from the Department of Social Development; educational assistance through facilitating enrolment in schools, negotiations for school fees exemptions; and facilitating access to health services and career guidance.
- Community and Youth Economic Strengthening: With a high rate of unemployment, it becomes very difficult for households to provide for their orphans. The Outreach team works closely with the corporate companies to source out donations but most importantly the team runs community and households gardens for the families to be able to provide food for themselves. The Outreach team also provide trainings on caring for orphans for the community and caregivers. The team focuses on capacity building for the caregivers to be able to care for Orphans and Vulnerable children. The programme also focuses on capacitating OVC and their caregivers on savings clubs. Beneficiaries are trained in how to save towards furthering their education and also supporting their families. Its strategic objective is to improve the long term economic security and HIV prevention knowledge and skills. This is done by providing financial capability training, employability and entrepreneurship support to pursue tertiary education.
- Youth Development Centre: May’Khethele has Youth Skills development centre in KwaDambuza, Pietermaritzburg. This centre focuses on enrolling Vulnerable youth that are out of school. After realising that when children age out of Foster care and programmes that are under the Department of Social development due to age, their level of vulnerability still increases. The youth centre enrols vulnerable youth into Vocational skills training through the TVET programmes and learnership programmes through the Department of Higher Education. It provides skills such as Electrical Engineering, Brick laying, Plumbing, Painting, Cooking, Garment making, Computer skills, and other soft skills. This allows the youth to receive ongoing care and support from the project until to a level where they are employable and can provide for themselves and their families. The Youth Centre also provide the vulnerable children who are in grade 12 with a proper resource centre to cater for their extra educational needs and career options.