SUPPORTING A TEENAGER

We met a young girl, Noma*, aged 16, while doing house-to-house visits. She had a 9-month-old baby, weighing 5.9 kg. Both her parents had died, the father in 2003 and the mother in 2007. Her parents were married and had 5 children. Noma is the first born and is now looking after her own child and her siblings. They have family – uncles and aunts – but they do not care for the kids. Two of Noma’s siblings have moved to Eastern Cape to stay with an old granny. The mother had an income from the father’s work pension after he died. A friend of the mother is now the ...

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MANDLA’S STORY

During house to house visits, a mentor mother met a little boy called Mandla*. He was 3 years old. The mentor mother noticed that Mandla was vomiting and had diarrhoea. She made him oral rehydration solution (ORS) and referred him to the clinic. After a few days, Mandla was not improving. The mentor mother arranged transport money for the mother and Mandla and sent them straight to the hospital. Tests were done in hospital and Mandla was found to be HIV positive. He was started on ARVs. The mentor mother opened a Philani folder as she knew Mandla would need to be ...

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A DESPERATE FAMILY’S STORY

“It had rained the night before and although the sun was up it was the beginning of winter and cold. We were asked by an outreach worker, to visit a desperate family with her. After knocking on the door for a while it was eventually opened and the heartbreaking cry of a hungry baby greeted us. The mother, who did not look well, was sitting on the bed trying to calm the baby with a bottle of water. A 5-year-old boy, who looked small for his age, was standing next to his mother asking for bread. We noticed that the mother had enlarged glands behind her ears and looked ...

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A FAMILY IN NEED

Zolelwa* is a 25-year old mother of 5. She is now pregnant with her 6th child. She was admitted into the Mentor Mother Programme. The weight of her 4 children was fine and the 5th was living with her father. On our visits we discovered that none of her children were receiving Child Support Grants (CSG). This was because she herself did not have an identity (ID) book and therefore could not apply for birth certificates for them, making it impossible for them to apply for CSG. All her children were delivered at home; she did not know their birthdays. We asked the neighbours ...

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THE STORY OF AYANDA

Ayanda* was 2 years and five months when she was admitted on the Philani Programme. At our first visit she was severely underweight. We noticed that she was due to start ARVs the previous year. However, Ayanda’s mother passed away and never disclosed her status to the grandmother. Ayanda’s mentor mother accompanied her and her grandmother to the clinic. At the clinic a few tests were done and Ayanda was diagnosed with TB. She was immediately initiated on medication for both TB and HIV. They also entered Ayanda onto the Nutrition Therapeutic Programme (NTP) due to ...

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PROVIDING SUPPORT

Thando* was admitted into Philani’s programme as he was severely underweight at 2 years. Thando and his mother are originally from the Eastern Cape but arrived in Cape Town as he was referred to Red Cross Hospital. He was diagnosed with a nephroblastoma (kidney cancer) and was referred for chemotherapy, as his cancer was advanced. On the first visit, stress was written all over the mother’s face. She was 21 years old and was struggling to cope on her own. Her mother died a long time ago and she didn’t have anyone to support her or a shoulder to cry on. We started ...

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A STORY FROM THE EASTERN CAPE

22-year old Owethu* was admitted into the Mentor Mother Program when she was 5 months pregnant. As of Xhosa tradition a mother should be in the care of her own mother during pregnancy. In her case she moved back home to Tsolo. This meant that we could not attend to her since we do not have mentor mothers in that area. She came back when the baby was 3 weeks old. When still under our care prior to her leaving, Owethu would not tell us whether she was HIV+ or not. When she came back with the baby we picked it up from the baby’s Road to Health Booklet that she was indeed ...

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BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY

Thandiswa Mhe, a Philani mentor mother, met a client Nomasango* in Site B, Khayelitsha, who is 49 years old, has one child and was separated from her husband. The client was separated from her husband for 4 years when Thandiswa met her. The husband came back after 4 years to reconcile with his wife. 6 months after his return Nomasango fell sick with shingles. She went to the clinic and was diagnosed with HIV. The client became traumatised and would hear voices, she struggled to accept her condition. The mentor mother, Thandiswa, offered her counselling and encouraged her ...

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A new mother supported

This story is from Thembisa Njomana, one of our Mentor Mothers. Thembisa found a 23 year old new mother-to-be in her area who was very close to delivery. She was new to the area and had only recently found out that she was HIV positive. Thembisa visited her regularly to help her come to terms with her HIV status and prepare her for the birth of her first child. Her baby was born in April 2014 and weighed just 1310g. Thembisa visited her often to help her exclusively breastfeed her child, and to speak to her about the importance of kangaroo mother care, and the ...

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Going back to school

Philani Stacy-Leigh
Last year, our OVC team identified a 16 year old orphaned girl, Emihle Yola, who is currently living with her older brother. She was previously attending school in Mitchell’s Plain but since her mother’s death, she had been unable to pay the transport fees to go to school and had also not paid school fees. As a result, she dropped out of school when she was 14. She was too fearful to speak to her teachers about her situation and scared that they would be angry that she couldn’t pay her school fees. Nomvuzo, one of our OVC fieldworkers, spent time with her, ...

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