Aachen for Fikelela (2003 – 2006)

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Since the inception of the Partnership there has been some interest in working on a project related to people that are affected or infected by HIV/AIDS. During July 2002 Zanele Rini from the Caring Network in Cape Town was invited to participate as a presenter in the Aktionswoche der Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Agenda 21 NRW e.V (LAG3W) and to visit AIDS related organisations in Aachen.

Following on the six month volunteer work of the Aachen teacher Sabine Schoenberg-Ehlen at Fikelela in Khayelitsha, it was decided that a project group be established in Aachen to focus on this project. The aims of the project were to seek cooperation with groups in Cape Town that work with people that are affected by HIV or AIDS, either directly or indirectly. For this purpose three Aachen groups worked together under the banner of “Aachen for Fikelela”: Notruf für vergewaltigte Frauen und Mädchen (Distress Call for Women and Girl Victims of Rape), AIDS-Hilfe Aachen (Aachen AIDS Support Group), and Aachener Südafrika Initiative (ASI – Aachen South Africa Initiative).

During 2004 the Aacheners worked together to do some fundraising for Fikelela and on 29 December 2004 they handed over a cheque to the value of R20 000! This much needed money was used to uplift the centre and a big thank-you went out to all the donors.

The 2004 Bauwagen-goes-South-team also came to the centre to assist by starting some greening at the centre with the assistance of Nosisa from Abilimi. Many thanks for the help in making the children’s life a bit greener.

The artist and art therapist Michaela Frank from Aachen worked in 2005 and 2006 at Fikelela with traumatized children and youth and she also trained the personnel at the Children´s Home.

Background: Fikelela Children’s Home

The Cape Town Anglican Church (including the Western Cape and all the way up to Namibia) initiated their AIDS Project which focussed on the following:

  1. Mobilizing Anglican Churches to assist with AIDS projects in 90 churches throughout the Western Cape;
  2. Two Children homes (Fikelela in Khayelitsha and also Heavens Next in Ottery which has 6 children) and AIDS Support to families through assistance with grants, food and emotional support; and
  3. Youth Prevention programs.

Fikelela Childrens Home was established in June 2001 to care for HIV+, abused or neglected children from Khayelitsha. By the end of 2004 they had 29 children, mostly under the age of eight (there are three “older children” with the oldest being 15 years). There is a small pre-school on site and the older children all go to school in the area. There are 22 staff members, include the nurse, social worker, cook and casual staff. Usually they work in shifts with four people per shift.

The main aim is to provide a safe haven for the children while they regain their strength through medication and then as soon as they are healthy they are placed with foster parents. The social workers arrange the placements and do follow-up visits to ensure that the children are happy and safe.

After a complete restructuring of Fikelela and the establishment of new operational methods the cooperation with the Aachen partners unfortunately came to an end.