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International News

South Africa: Literacy Trainers Lend a Hand in HIV/AIDS Care

October 28, 2002

The NGO Operation Upgrade has included AIDS as a topic in its training courses for several years. Recently, however, it became evident that a dedicated project was necessary, because tutors found that many of the approaches used to spread AIDS awareness were not effective in poorer communities.

About 150 adult basic education tutors, who are already conducting literacy training in their communities, have been trained as part of Operation Upgrade's Literacy Against AIDS project. In addition to using their literacy classes to build AIDS awareness among students, the tutors have also obtained skills to provide counseling and home care training in their communities.

The response to the courses was overwhelming. In follow-up workshops, it became apparent that the tutors felt considerable satisfaction at being able to help people. Even so, Program Manager Thombi Bhengu said many of the tutors have been traumatized by their involvement with terminally ill persons. The tutors have witnessed a number of problems: lack of food for ill people; insurance companies refusing to pay policy benefits when deaths resulted from AIDS-related illnesses; AIDS orphans left to fend for themselves; shortages of medicines and protective materials; and sick persons isolated by their relatives.

Discussions among tutors and networking efforts with other organizations and individuals have resulted in some progress on these problems, Bhengu said. In some cases, tutors have demanded access to sick people in various stages of neglect. Some family members have fled for fear of the disease. Others, however, were glad to be shown how to care for the sick, Bhengu said.

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One tutor is establishing an AIDS feeding and counseling service. Another tutor has trained 60 young people as AIDS volunteers. A policewoman with an adult education class has obtained permission to visit all such classes run by the municipality to talk about HIV/AIDS. A rural tutor has started a community garden for AIDS-affected families. To help those who cannot afford food, the tutors are mobilizing communities to set up crafts projects to provide income for people with AIDS and their families.

Back to other CDC news for October 28, 2002

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Adapted from:
allAfrica.com
10.25.02; Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)


  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
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