What is an OVC?

OVC stands for “Orphaned and Vulnerable Child”. OVC’s generally do not have any support structures when their parents/caregivers are incapacitated or die from AIDS related illness.

Orphans can be defined as Maternal, Paternal or double orphans. Children can be classified as Vulnerable for circumstances including, but not limited to, a broken family, child abuse of any sort, personal or familial substance abuse, neglect, disease or poverty.

What is a child-headed household?

Children who are left behind when their parents die often have to care for themselves. When the oldest child (a minor) in the home becomes the head of the household and that child must bear the responsibility of caring for their younger siblings in their parental home, this is referred to as a ‘child-headed household’.

Without orphanages or other full-time formal support, child-headed households are often not sufficiently cared for. It becomes necessary to find ways to develop community initiatives to support the children in their parental homes.

What is a Drop-in Centre?

A Drop-in Centre is a support structure for a child: it is an environment that meets a child’s basic human rights, and ensures his/her healthy growth, development and well-being for a bright and sustainable future. We regard the centres as a safe haven for the kids.

The Centres perform, as a minimum, the following basic functions:

  • Provide all registered OVC’s with a cooked meal each day after school.
  • The caregivers help to wash the children’s uniforms.
  • The children receive homework assistance.
  • The children have the ability to gain psychosocial support from trained practitioners.
  • The children have a safe space to stay and play or be with friends each afternoon after school.
  • Caregivers are assigned to do home visits every week.
  • The caregivers assist OVC’s when applying for Identity Documents with the Department of Home Affairs.
  • The caregivers will also help with clinic visits.

Social support is available to OVC’s through government initiatives. Why are many OVC’s not accessing them?

For a child to access food parcels or grants from the Department of Social Development they need to have an ID book. Many children in rural communities are not registered as citizens because they were never issued a birth certificate (often due to distance from hospitals and subsequent home births), and therefore do not have an ID document.

Furthermore, in order for guardians/caregivers to receive child grants, the death of a child’s parents’ must be verified with death certificates, which are often not available either, for similar reasons.

How many orphans are living in South Africa?

The South African Children’s Institute (University of Cape Town) indicated that there were approximately 3.85 million orphans in South Africa in 2010. This is 21% of all children in South Africa, and is an increase of over 1 million children since 2002. This figure continues to increase, resulting in serious consequences for a child’s access to basic necessities such as food, care, shelter, education and clothing.

How does the Lonely Road Foundation help meet the objectives of South Africa’s national strategic plan for HIV/AIDS?

South Africa’s National Strategic Plan notes that children are highly vulnerable. The impacts of ill-health and AIDS contribute overwhelmingly to the rapidly growing number of orphans in the country. Both the resulting household impacts and increases in childhood mortality threaten the future of the country and its ability to realise the Millennium Development Goals.

To address this crisis, The Lonely Road Foundation delivers on the following recommendations from the National Strategy:

  • Communities be targeted to take greater responsibility and to play a more meaningful role in managing solutions
  • Special focus be given to the vulnerable state of children
  • Priority areas must include ‘care & support’ and ‘human & legal rights’
  • Mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS on individuals, families and communities by strengthening the implementation of social safety network programmes for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children.

Is the Lonely Road a registered Charity?

The Lonely Road Foundation is a registered Section 21 (Not for Profit) Company. It is also registered as a Public Benefit Organisation.

The Foundation is tax exempt in South Africa and is able to issue Section 18A Certificates (tax invoices) which will ensure that all corporate donations are given tax exemption.

Any donor may request certification to take advantage of the tax exmption on donations.

Who benefits from the fundraising?

The Foundation’s beneficiaries are Orphaned and Vulnerable Children from rural communities in South Africa. At present, the beneficiaries are over 95% black and approximately 51% female.

Any funds received by the Foundation are used for a combination of purposes. There are administrative costs and salaries to full-time employees which must be paid, but the vast majority of the funding received is for specific projects.

If funding is received for a specific project, then they will be used accordingly. However, there is a cost incurred for most projects for items such as travel or communication, which is built into the budget. This is standard practice.

Who chooses which communities to support?

The Foundation will apply agreed criteria to select a rural community that has not responded to or been able to respond adequately to its OVC problem and is not in a position to initiate such a response. We will then follow a specific project implementation framework in which we bring together experienced NGO’s to help us initiate the community’s response.

A Board of Directors, selected for their credibility and experience, will be monitoring the governance and operation of the Foundation at all times.

How are funds used?

The proceeds of our fundraising are invested and, once enough funds are raised, we will be able to provide for the projects out of the returns from these investments (an investment committee will oversee this). This would ensure the longevity of the Foundation and its purpose.

In addition, we link up with government, donor agencies, corporate social responsibility initiatives and other NGO’s to reduce the financial burden on the Foundation alone, or on any one sector or partner.

The purpose of The Lonely Road is to raise funds as much as to raise awareness, and it is hoped that South Africans, along with the global community, will open their eyes to the fast growing problem of HIV/AIDS and OVC in Southern Africa.

How does the foundation work?

The targets/measures of success will be that the foundation will provide the community with access to food & water, shelter, care and education for all children identified as orphaned or vulnerable by the end of the project, which takes 3 years to implement and become self-sustaining.

The model used to implement activities focuses on the creation of vital partnerships and a notion of shared responsibility so that the community itself plays a role in managing their own response to the needs of OVC’s in a sustainable way.

LRF links with governments, tribal leaders, non-government organisations, donor agencies, corporate social investment initiatives, and community members to maximise impact and reduce the financial burden on any one sector.

The Lonely Road Foundation and its partners implement – and build the capacity of others on the ground in selected communities to implement – the following activities:

  1. Setting up a local organisation
  2. Accessing recognised donor agencies for specific project funding
  3. Assessing the needs of both the community and the children in the community
  4. Identifying OVC’s and registering them with the local organisation and The Lonely Road Foundation
  5. Identifying, training, managing and remunerating caregivers from the community
  6. Registering children with the Department of Home Affairs
  7. Registering children with the Departments of Health, Social Development and Education
  8. Accessing various Lonely Road Foundation administered feeding schemes
  9. Ensuring children’s access to relevant social welfare grants (e.g. child support grant)
  10. Protecting children’s right and access to free education
  11. Ensuring children receive psychosocial care and counselling for trauma
  12. Monitoring and evaluating the overall programme, numbers of children reached and their needs met, community capacity for sustainability and extent of impact.