Description: The National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW) has initiated a social service delivery model called "Isibindi -Creating Circles of Care," that responds to the needs of children and families made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS. Partnerships between the Durban Children's Home, the Umbumbulu District Department of Social Development, and the community has resulted in the rollout of the project. Funding was sourced from First Rand Foundation, the Momemtum Fund, and the Integrated Provincial Support Programme. The project operates in the Imsimbi, Illovo and Bhekawandle communities of Umbumbulu, where the unemployment rate is 72% and the area has an estimated HIV/AIDS rate of 41.2%. The project has a steering committee and includes 14 representatives from the community, including the local magistrate, paster, teacher, clinic nurse, South African Police Service, and traditional leaders.
Under the supervision of a social worker from the Durban's Children's Home and the steering committee, seventeen community members received accredited training to provide child care services in the affected communities that are normally rendered in a residential children's home. These child and youth care workers work daily with families in their homes and are the "glue that holds families together" in their time of crisis. They access state and other resources to assist families to cope and work to strengthen families through providing services such as meal preparation, homework supervision, grief work, health care, life skills training, growing food gardens, accessing grants, and admitting children to schools.
Innovation: The innovative nature of the project lies less in a single innovation than in the clustering of a number of factors into a unique response to the problems experienced by children in the context of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Effectiveness: The project provides cost-effective child and youth care services to children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS and provides support services to child-headed households, and grandparents who have to care for grandchildren who have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. During the past 9 months, 55 families representing 197 children and youth were provided with services and 31 grants and pensions applications were processed. All school-going children (146) were admitted to schools -- school uniforms and school fees have been provided. Eighteen children have participated in income-generating projects. Sixty-two young people have benefited from skills training such as welding, carpentry, catering, and home-based care. Thirty-eight youth and their siblings have received life skills training. The workers can access ARVs to families who need them.
Poverty Impact: The project has been able to provide social assistance, food security, skills development and job creation to a section of the community that needs them desperately.
Sustainability: Annual operational costs are R240 000 and the level of service makes it more cost effective than admitting these vulnerable children to state institutions, where they tend to lose contact with whatever family they had left and makes reintegration back into the community difficult at a later stage. A potential challenge is that the majority of the funding accessed by the project is received from donors.
Replication: The Isibindi model has structure and form and includes a mentoring component, which makes it easy to replicate. The model has been replicated in five provinces with government and donor support. There are plans in Durban to replicate the model in Ndedwe and Inanda. It has being replicated in Giyani in Limpopo, Cala in the Eastern Cape, Donkerhoek, Galeshewe in the Northern Cape and Hout Bay in the Western Cape.