AIDS Africa Best Practice: SOS Social Centre Mamelodi

SOS Social Centre Mamelodi, South Africa

Programme Description

The Social Centre serves as a base where HIV/AIDS-affected children and families can access essential services. Vulnerable families are assisted with material support (food parcels), educational support (school uniforms and supplies) and other support to meet their basic household needs. Families caring for orphans are assisted to access government foster care grants by a contract social worker. A support group has formed for parents living with HIV/AIDS. They received training in income-generating activities.

The Social Centre also has community-based activities. A partnership has been formed with Tateni home-based care organisation to deliver care to families containing people living with HIV/AIDS and orphaned children. Trained volunteers conduct home visits to these families to provide assistance with housework, childcare, and palliative care.

The Edu-care Programme provides support to community daycare centres, in order to build their capacity to deliver higher quality of care to vulnerable children and to become more financially sustainable.

Approximately 450 children are receiving some form of support from the Centres’ programming and an additional 2,400 children through the Edu-care programme of which approximately 20% are orphans and vulnerable children.

Relevant standard and good practice

We support families to build their capacity to protect & care for their children.

Care takers of orphans and vulnerable children receive assistance to access government grants .


By enabling the families to access government grants, a sustainable source of income is created for the families and it mitigates factors that lead to child abandonment.


The most vulnerable families (child-headed, grandparent-headed and chronically ill headed households) receive material support while they are assisted in accessing government social grants.

Child care government grants are available for caretakers of orphans and vulnerable children in South Africa. The application process however is quite a tedious and bureaucratic process which many care takers struggle to go through due to their advanced age or low levels of literacy.

An experienced contract social worker, who is paid by SOS per successful case, has been appointed to assist the care takers during the application process and to take the cases to court on behalf of the families. This reduces the waiting time significantly and ensures the timely receipt of financial support. Once the families start receiving grants, they are obviously removed from the SOS material support scheme.

Lessons learnt

Although the families are receiving financial support through the government grants, further non-material assistance (i.e. supervised study/homework opportunities, youth activities, psychosocial support for care takers etc.) to improve the caretaker’s abilities is necessary.

Key people

Dudu Skosana
, who is a social worker by profession, is the programme manager and was responsible for establishing the Social Centre. She feels that working with the community is important because it empowers the community to become more self-sufficient, and creates the opportunity to educate community members about HIV/AIDS and positive thinking. Her personal motivation for becoming involved in this kind of work is to give people hope. “No matter how small the effort is, it gives affected people hope that someone out there cares,” she says.