How they began...

Nsangeni Support Group formed four years ago, when men and women in the community who were living with HIV came together to talk about what they were going through and offer each other advice and words of support. After meeting for a few months they found themselves wanting more than to just support each other but decided to help the whole community

What they do...

Nsangeni Support Group attend all of our HIV/AIDS awareness events where they share their stories and give talks about the importance of taking medication and knowing your status. They also promote being open about your status and living responsibly. The Support Group stand as role models for the community - showing that having HIV does not mean that you cannot live a full and happy life.

At these awareness events we provide free and confidential testing, bringing the hospital staff to them to improve the amount of people getting tested and ensure everyone has the opportunity to know their status. We often arrange entertainment like traditional dancing and performances from local drama groups as this not only brings in larger crowds but the latter also help to promote our messages, through the medium of entertainment and humour.

As well as attending awareness events the group reguarly support orphans and elderly members of the community by helping them with small tasks such as fetching water and cleaning.

How we support them...

As a way of rewarding the group for all their hard work within the community we provide them with fertilizer to help them have better harvests of maize from their fields. Maize is only grown once in rainy season, this is from Dec- April; this maize must last them the whole year so it is vital that their maize grows well.

We also provide the group with land and seeds. The rest is left to them. They split the work schedule amongst themselves and any harvest is spilt amongst the group. What they harvest can be used as food or sold so they can buy other items they need.

We also provide cooking lessons in things such as bread and jam giving them new skills and helping them to preserve fruit such as mango that can often be left to rot on the ground. Following a discussion with the group at the end of 2016 we also launched a tailoring school for the women in the support group. They showed a keen interest in learning this trade and once they complete all their classes we will provide them with business by using them to make our sponsored students' uniform.