The Kidzpositive Family Fund(KFF) was founded in 2001 by Dr Paul Roux with a group of healthcare professionals at Groote Schuur Hospital, when they decided to establish a service dedicated solely to the care of children with HIV/AIDS. Medical care alone would not be enough to support HIV-affected families, and so the Kidzpositive Family Fund was born, as an NGO dedicated to the objective of raising support for the daily needs of families affected by HIV/AIDS. Sadly, in October 2016 the Board of Kidzpositive Family Fund was forced to discontinue all support programmes and retrench all staff, because it was no longer possible to raise funds necessary to sustain operations. Beatrice Delpierre, a long-term client of the Positive Beadwork Project heard that the project was about to be terminated and decided to take the project under her wing.
The mothers and caregivers are trained in the skills of loom beading and traditional beading techniques. They enjoy a weekly income that they can depend on. Working from home means they can care for their dependents while earning. We welcome new ‘recruits’ and beadwork skills are taught by our most skilled teacher.
From humble beginnings, making simple AIDS pins and flags, we can now produce complex, customised designs by the thousands of our quality tested items. Our largest order to date was for the Levi Strauss Foundation for 13 000 beaded aids pins.
We currently support +/-45 mothers, each of whom supports, on average, 7 family members. Three of them support as many as 13 dependents. Members of the project meet twice a week.
Kidz Positive impacts peoples’ lives in four areas.
Health – we make sure that the ladies attend their hospital and clinic appointments regularly. Our short-term goal is to make life more bearable for all who attend the project. Our long-term ideal is to provide an adult education in service training, early childhood development instruction and advice, as well as whatever ad hoc projects we can fund, to help achieve adolescent resilience.
Empowering women and putting food on the table through income-generation not only results in a greater financial stability, but also leads to improved development of healthy children. Peer group support is another great benefit. Women meet weekly to share their burdens with one another.
Family preservation - Our ultimate goal is to optimise opportunities for children affected by HIV/Aids in South Africa. The most important challenge is to stabilise and sustain the family as a platform to provide financial security, and an opportunity to promote optimal early childhood development.
Early childhood development (ECD) – As part of our adult education initiative we raise awareness of the importance of ECD. We enable mothers to support this vitally important aspect of their children’s education and development at home. Implementing ECD for the children as a Kidz Positive project will give us the opportunity to train the mothers as part of an ongoing programme they can continue at home.
Training - We have worked closely with the Grow Education centre trainers to design courses and workshops on time management, early childhood development, positive behaviour, as well as how to manage finances. After completion, every mother gets a certificate of completion of the specific course. In 2019 our first mother involved in the project started attending college and subsequently completed her tertiary education.
These programmes and projects overlap on many levels, but have the common goal of facilitating improved physical and psychological health and development of the HIV-infected child toward a healthy, resilient adolescence and adulthood.
None of this would have been achieved without the support of wonderful partners. We don’t want a hand-out from our clients but would rather work shoulder to shoulder with them. During the off season, when orders can be scarce, we work with organisations that share a similar vision to make visual merchandise for companies, such as Woolworths. We have so far recycled more than 10 000 plastic items to produce visually beautiful window displays.
In 2005, the Positive Beadwork project received an Impumelelo Innovation Award in recognition of its successful efforts to reduce poverty. At the end of 2019, Kidz Positive won the Social Enterprise category of The Western Cape Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards Competition. This competition recognises the achievements and potential of entrepreneurs in the Western Cape and supports the creation of opportunities by small and medium businesses.
The Positive Beadwork project has since been rejuvenated into Kidz Positive, a platform from which we hope to continue to be a true force of social entrepreneurship and invest in the lives of vulnerable people in a very tangible way.