AIDS Africa Best Practice: South Africa

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 receive 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.

Further information contact

Relevant standard and good practice

We work together with partners to achieve common goals.

Partnership with ‘Tateni’ home-based care organisation.


The partnership combines the organisations’ individual areas of expertise to enhance the quality of care provided to programme beneficiaries. Shared resources are effectively used to offer a wider range of social services to vulnerable families, and to avoid duplication of efforts. Through one another, the organisations benefit from increased access to resources and funding.


The Social Centre has formed a partnership with Tateni, a home-based care organisation, in the form of the Legodimo la Tsepo (“haven of hope”) community-based childcare and support programme. The programme was built by combining the areas of expertise offered by each of the organisations. Tateni has extensive experience in providing home-based care and support to terminally ill adults, and as a result, they already had well-established relationships with HIV/AIDS-affected households. However, in order to extend Tateni’s capacity to care for orphans and vulnerable children living within these affected households, they needed to draw on SOS’s wealth of childcare experience. SOS trained Tatenti’s home-care volunteers by upgrading their knowledge and skills to address childcare-related issues and to ensure a certain standard of care. The training covered such topics as child development and learning, healthcare, trauma counselling, and children affected by HIV/AIDS and their rights. SOS was able to use Tateni’s existing database of orphans and vulnerable children with ill parents, to build the programme.

The Tateni volunteers visit vulnerable, AIDS-affected families in their assigned districts several times a week, assisting with housework, palliative care, children’s home work, and providing social support (counselling) to the families. They refer the most vulnerable cases that they encounter to the Social Centre for material support. It is a two-way referral system; SOS also refers children and families who come directly to the Social Centre on to Tateni in order to receive home-based care. SOS subsidises the volunteers’ stipend, and provides ongoing guidance on childcare-related issues. The volunteers write monthly reports on their assigned families, which are submitted to their supervisor at Tateni, who then updates the SOS Social Centre Project Coordinator.

Programme beneficiaries are able to access the services of two full-time social workers at Tateni, and are assisted by a contract social worker employed by the SOS Social Centre to help them secure government foster care grants. The Social Centre benefits financially as a result of this partnership from both in-kind contributions and access to donations received by Tateni. For example, Tateni has supplemented the Social Centre’s food parcels with donations it has received, and Tateni volunteers help out with distributing a proportion of the parcels. The two organisations will be jointly establishing community childcare forums using funding secured by Tateni from German Agro Action (GAA) and IBIS for this pilot project.

Lessons learnt

  • Volunteers providing home-based care services to AIDS-affected families need ongoing support in terms of constant debriefing and follow-up training, since delivering this kind of assistance can be very strenuous and emotionally draining.
  • In order to identify and reach the most vulnerable children, both organisations agree that it is important to involve the community, an area which the programme still needs to develop further. This is the prime motivation for establishing childcare forums in each of the target communities, in order to extend programme coverage.

Key people

Veronica Khosa is the coordinator and founder of Tateni home-based care organisation. She sought out the partnership with SOS in order to address the overwhelming orphan problem she was confronted with when terminally ill patients who were receiving care from her organisation passed away. “When SOS agreed to partner I was so happy to know that I was not alone - I had someone else to share burden.” When Veronica established Tateni it was the first home-based care project in South Africa. Formerly employed as a government nurse, Veronica was confronted by the fact that the hospitals had very little to offer PLWHAs in the way of care. She realised that to address the needs of people who were ill, their families had to be taught how to care for them. With regard to children from affected families, Veronica remarks, “How would you discover the situation of children that need care, unless you go into the homes?" Veronica hopes that the partnership between SOS and Tateni will be able to further expand into the community and reach out to even more needy children.

The programme is carried out by the Tateni Home Carers, who are trained volunteers. They each have assigned families, whom they visit several times a week to care for children and ill family members. The Home Carers believe that the partnership with SOS is important on account of SOS’s ability to be immediately responsive to their client’s material needs. They describe the most rewarding aspect of their work as being able to gain the trust and friendship of their clients, and the satisfaction they receive from making someone happy.