Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC)
The Orphans and Vulnerable Children programme assists households headed by children, grandparents or other relatives.
In June 2008 Philani initiated a programme for orphans and vulnerable children. This was a result of an urgent need identified by Mentor Mothers based on what they saw and experienced on their rounds. The programme now operates as a support to the Mentor Mothers assisting them with some of the harder social issues they are confronted with in the home.
Primarily the OVC programme assists child-headed households, grandparents, aunts, uncles and neighbours who look after abandoned children or those who have lost their parents. The challenges and needs of this programme are huge. The programme is aimed at enabling orphans to stay with extended family where possible, in neighbourhoods known to them, and to have access to the financial support, schooling and healthcare that the government offers.
Philani Family Fund
The Philani Family Fund provides assistance to destitute families through building projects and scholarship programmes for young women and men who want to continue their education or who need support during a time of illness.
In 2005, a group of volunteers from the US organisation Children of South Africa (CHOSA) decided to help a client and her family living in desperate poverty. The volunteers not only raised enough money to build a new home, but were also inspired to start a fund, through CHOSA, to assist other families and create a better life for their children. They named it the Philani Family Fund (PFF).
PFF provides funding for participants in certain Philani programmes. It is designed to be flexible in its form of intervention, where cases are assessed on a needs basis.The mission of the fund is to give families the tools they need to get themselves out of poverty. To achieve this, PFF is divided into two branches: emergency relief, which generally comes in the form of housing; and long-term human investments, in which a comprehensive plan is established to help a family or adolescent reach a long-term goal. These investments usually come in the form of schooling bursaries or job training, but also include many items such as crèche fees for a beneficiary’s children, transportation, books, etc. In all cases the recipient is required to “pay back” the sponsorship, either as a long-term low interest loan, or by committing to a set number of hours of community service.
CHOSA and PFF are wonderful examples of how a committed group of young people can recognise a need and mobilise themselves to create tangible change at a grassroots level.