Greetings for the new year
the new year has already started. In fact, we wanted to have written to you at the end of last year but we were just too tired and exhausted.
The new year started with mild rain. That is according to Setswana culture the best what can happen to you. This mild rain is soft and falls continuously. It waters the earth and makes the crops grow. You can see with your own eyes how everything starts to blossom and becomes green. For us this rain was a sign of hope and joy. Even though the past year has in many ways been a very tough year we can say that we are grateful to God that He has protected us in the midst of the Corona Pandemic and helps us to endure the lockdown. Six of our members were infected with SARS COV 2. They all recovered fully but the husband of one of our child care workers died from COVID 19.
At the beginning of December we could hold our traditional closing function where we looked back to this extraordinary year. Some of the workshops we had planned could indeed be held. Among them was the blessed Tlamelang workshop that was held at the end of February and the Tshepanang workshop that was held at the end of October with 39 participants that even included six new peer educators who will start to teach in schools this year.
Despite the fact that most people just talked about COVID 19 last year we did not forget the ongoing problem of HIV/AIDS in our country. In fact more people in South Africa died from HIV/AIDS than from the Corona Virus. From March to December 2020 in total 28,4699 died from COVID 19. This means that on average 95 people died from COVID 19 per day whereas 195 people died daily from HIV related causes in South Africa in 2020.
Our 44 peer educators have taught a total of 3798 students in 22 schools in 2020. 2680 of the students (those attending Grade 6 and 7) wrote an assessment in November to test their HIV related knowledge. The overall average results was 73.6%. Even in our nine After School Projects lessons on HIV were taught. 152 of the attending children (all those who are 10 years old and above) also wrote a test on HIV related knowledge. Their average result was even 78.9%.
13 of our home care givers have tested a total of 2339 clients for HIV in 2020. Those who were found to be HIV positive were referred to the nearest clinic where they were initiated on the life saving Antiretroviral Treatment (ART). In addition through home visits our home care givers traced 193 patients who had defaulted from their Antiretroviral Treatment. 184 of them could be convinced to re-start the treatment.
Despite COVID 19 and the lockdown regulations we have received more donations than expected in 2020 and can at the beginning of 2021 gratefully state that our bank accounts are not empty. Just before the December holidays we were informed that our oldest Early Learning Center was for the first time considered for funding by the Department of Social Development. I (Christel) have been fighting for this for eight years.
Wishing you God’s rich blessings for the new year
Christel & Wolfgang Hermann