KwaHilda’s (St Hilda) Orphanage was begun perhaps ten
years ago now by the then parish priest Father Thami
Shange OGS with the support of the Oratory of the Good
Shepherd, an international Anglican Religious Community
Its beginnings were small but it was a significant response to
the terrible blight of HIV and AIDS on this very large
township near Newcastle in South Africa. Originally the
orphanage housed children whose parents had died of AIDS
or who were themselves infected through the womb. More
recently, and now with some government funding it has
become a day centre that welcomes children in the mornings in particular. It offers
educational programmes about health and social care for the children, as well as activities
and food. Many of the older children (aged 12+) are caring for siblings because the parents
are dead or away, and the ‘go go’s’ (Zulu for grandmothers) are also central to their care,
though the pension in scant.
Over 400 children now look to KwaHilda for help. In particular there is a real need for these
children to have food. It has always been the aspiration to provide a decent meal at
lunchtime for any children who turn up. The government provides some funds but
KwaHilda is also dependent on voluntary contributions. One of the downsides of
government funding is that others tend to think that they are now providing it all. In reality
there is enough money to pay the not overgenerous wages of the helpers and to feed around
60 of the children. This means that some children look on while the others eat.
KwaHilda is well managed and proper
accounts are kept. The great advantage of this
local charity is that it is local and all money
raised will be well used, and be greatly