History of Country
South Africa is one of the most culturally diverse places in the world. But celebrating the huge number of languages and cultures within the country was unheard of less than fifteen years ago. Apartheid, the system of separating white people from black people, was in place in South Africa until 1994.
The poorest black South Africans were forced to resettle in townships, underdeveloped urban settlements located outside ‘white-only’ areas. Despite the abolition of apartheid, many people still live in townships or squatter camps, which now have high crime and unemployment rates.
There are no schools, proper roads or drainage facilities in these settlements and disease spreads fast.
Many informal settlements have been earmarked for development by the government. Although families have been allocated land, people are living in temporary shacks, still waiting for houses to be built. Some families have been living in these shacks for 15 years.
More than 900 people die every day from AIDS and around 1,700 new cases of HIV are reported daily. At the end of 2005 over 5.5 million people in South Africa were diagnosed HIV positive.
More children are being born with HIV every day. Over 240,000 South African children are HIV positive and there are around 1.2 million AIDS orphans in the country.
Islamic Relief's History
in South Africa
Crime and unemployment are rife within townships and squatter camps
IR’s South Africa office opened in Johannesburg in August 2003. The local fundraising office raises funds for IR’s work worldwide, but also runs projects such as orphan sponsorship and seasonal Ramadan and Qurbani programmes.
IR works south of Johannesburg, in Vlakfontein and in the informal settlements around Ennersdale, in Mountain View, Fine town, and Kapok and Hopefield squatter camps.
The South African government provides social security for orphans but there are delays of up to three years in processing these grants. During the waiting period, IR’s Orphan Sponsorship and Welfare Programme supports orphans and their families. Priority for sponsorship is given to orphans who are HIV positive or who have a parent in the last stages of the disease.