Katrine Anker-Nilssen chats to Helen Lee of KidZAid.
KidZAid – started by Helen Lee in response to the national outcry to assist and raise funds for AIDS orphans, vulnerable children and their caregivers – was registered as a trust in 2004 and as a Public Benefit Organisation in 2006.
“We believe that every child whose life has been touched by AIDS deserves to be brought up with a sense of self-worth. This can only be achieved with proper feeding, shelter, education and nurture. We are committed to channelling resources through reputable initiatives to assist as many of these children as possible to become worthwhile members of society,” says Helen.
“All my life I have had a special love for babies and young children, and I have been richly blessed as a mother and more recently a granny,” she says. “Over the years I have been particularly saddened by reports of young children fending for themselves as a result of the AIDS scourge that is sweeping our land.” Speaking to people intimately involved in AIDS relief, such as Dr Daryl Hackland and the AIDS Foundation in Durban, Helen realised that there were many projects and initiatives in operation. “But their major need was funding, and although much money is sent to SA for AIDS, most of this goes into research and very little reaches those who are suffering at present.
“There is so much kindness in this country and many folk are anxious to help in some way, but simply haven’t the time to get involved personally. I truly believe that the man in the street can be motivated to give a small donation each month to a reputable trust that will ensure that the money reaches those in need,” says Helen. “So KidZAid was born to provide that vehicle.”
Drop-in centres were started in the Mariannhill area by the Community Outreach Centre at the height of the AIDS pandemic to cater for child-headed households. “The drop-in centre we support is in an area called Luganda. As a result of the death of parents of AIDS, many children were left without an adult to care for them. These older children can leave their younger siblings at the centre on the way to school each morning, where the little ones are fed and cared for. On returning in the afternoon, the older children receive a meal before they leave with their younger siblings. This enables the older children to attend school and ensures that they receive one nutritious meal each day,” says Helen.
Apart from Luganda, KidZAid supports 1000 Hills Community Helpers at Inchanga with a sizeable donation for infant formula each month. They also assist the Embizeni Creche at Shongweni and Candyfloss pre-primary school, which operates from Mariann Ridge Methodist Church. *
FOR MORE INFO: Mary-Ann on email@example.com; 083 289 4520.