The following services are provided:
- School assistance : Many children face numerous financial problems after losing their parents or even when the parents are sick. This affects the possibility of continuing their education. The OVC department maintains these children in school, by paying for school fees and school supplies. School visits are made to follow up the child’s progress.
- Family assistance: The department offers support to extended family units taking care of orphans. Case-workers evaluate individual situations to identify those really in need. This assistance goes mainly to child-headed households and to the elderly caregivers (mainly grandmothers) so that they can purchase some essential household items like kerosene, charcoal, mattresses etc., depending on the identified needs.
- Vocational Training Program: Vocational training courses are aimed at providing knowledge and skills that enable students to obtain employment and a productive status in society. The employment may be either formal or informal. Children successfully completing their courses are then trained in small business management and are given small grants to assist them in starting their own businesses.
- Food support: Child-headed households and families headed by the elderly are particularly in need of this assistance. However, limited storage space and funds mean that not all those in need can be assisted.
- Housing and shelter: When their parents die, many children are left in rented accommodation without the means for paying for it and risk being thrown out by landlords. Others live in homes left to them by their parents, but can rarely afford to pay for maintenance or emergency repairs. The programme assists them in both aspects.
- Office interviews: Children in need visit the programme’s offices. Social workers carry out interviews, which help to build up relationships, identify and analyse problems and seek solutions.
- Home visits: Home visits allow evaluation of the real needs and informed decision-making on accessing services. They also contribute to the mediation of family conflicts.
- Youth awareness seminars: these are specific seminars on targeted problem areas e.g. drug and alcohol abuse and they specifically target teenage OVC who are on the borderline of risky behaviour.
- Residential Grieving Groups: In these one-week sessions, children are helped to release the anger and grief caused by the traumatic death of their parents. They learn to see themselves more positively and to find a way forward for their lives.
- Memory Work: Stigma and discrimination around HIV and AIDS prevents many PLWHA from disclosing their status to their children and many die before being able to do so. Grief and bereavement become much harder to overcome when children discover that a parent’s death was due to AIDS. Memory work is a child-centred process that encourages families to communicate openly about HIV and AIDS. It is best done while the parents are still alive, but can also be extremely useful for orphans even after their parents’ death. It empowers children to cope with the impact of HIV and AIDS on the family as a whole and on their own capacity to continue positively with their lives.
- Life skills groups: The aim is to empower OVC and to lead them to be self-reliant through life skills training using the Stepping Stones Curriculum.
- Support groups: Two support groups meet monthly to deepen the skills provided through the Stepping Stones Courses. This forum allows the department staff to stay in touch with the most vulnerable OVC, gaining insight into their problems and building up strong relationships.
- Community training on psychosocial support: one-day parish seminars aim at raising awareness about the problems of OVC and promoting community responses to the same.