I am now back in Denmark after some very busy and fruitful 35 days in South Africa. The last few days have been spend with my family celebrating Christmas in Denmark, but now it is time to update the blog again.
I am actually very happy to be able to tell you all that the trip to South Africa has been all worth it for Nordic Design against AIDS. Within the last two weeks of my trip, I was able to begin the planning of a future collaboration and partnership with one of South Africa’s largest HIV and AIDS organisations focusing on youth: LoveLife. Another future partner to be is Women on Farms Project (WFP), based in Stellenbosch.
But before I tell you more about LoveLife and WFP, I also have to update you on the final narrowing down of NDA’s target group.
As you know, one of the purposes of my trip was to find a partner organisation, but also to do research in the Western Cape to find out where the need for our work is biggest. Through meetings and talks with many NGOs, schools and people living in the local communities I believe that I now have a better understanding of where and how NDA can make a significant difference.
As a result of my research, I find it relevant to start out our work in the rural areas outside of Cape Town city and the Cape Flats. This is not because the need is not great in the Cape Flats – but simply because it is even bigger in the rural areas in the Cape Winelands. While most NGO’s focus on the urban areas of the Cape Flats, there is a lack of initiative and financial aid in the rural areas. Teenage pregnancy, lack of education, HIV and AIDS and poverty are huge issues here as well – and it tends to be followed by a generation of children and youth who lack hopes for the future and who have stopped dreaming about a better alternative to life as they have come to know it. As WFP told me, the worst is to see the pessimism and the lack of fighting spirit amongst the youth.
I believe that LoveLife and WFP in Stellenbosch will be the right organisations to address these issues with. Also I am very proud that they have agreed to look into the possibilities of a future collaboration with NDA in the Cape Winelands region in the Western Cape.
LoveLife has been working with youth in South Africa since 1999 and they are, as they describe it themselves, South Africa’s largest national HIV prevention initiative for young people. NDA plan to start a collaboration very soon with the regional branch in the Western Cape, Worcester.
WFP has been a registered South African NGO since 1996. They work with women in commercial agriculture, mainly in the Western Cape Province. They have a deep local knowledge and the support of many of the local communities.
LoveLife and Women on Farms focus respectively on teenagers and young women, but they are interested in expanding this to include children from a younger age in the Cape Winelands (from the age of 6 years and up). This focus will hopefully bind NDA, LoveLife and Women on Farms together in a future collaboration. Another main focus of the collaboration will be gender inequality, which is a big issue in many of the communities in the Cape Winelands. We need to address this issue and focus on the empowerment of rural women and girl children to be able to make a positive change. Both in regard to the rapid spread of HIV, the problems surrounding teenage pregnancy and the lack of girls finishing primary school. Especially girls in childheaded households are particularly vulnerable and need guidance, support and financial aid.
There is plenty of work lying ahead of NDA. Our next step will be to be registered in Denmark as an official NGO and then we will work on the co-operative agreement between NDA, LoveLife and Women on Farms.
Another part of the research in South Africa has been focused on the start up of our shop in Cape Town – and this is another part of NDA which will be developed in the year to come. At the moment we are working on different ideas of how and where to sell the clothes in Cape Town – and as soon as we have something more concrete we will update you via the blog.
Happy new year and a big thank you for all the support to the many people who made the research trip to South Africa possible. It is greatly appreciated!