HOW YOU HELP

Your contributions support the Philani Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition Project in South Africa; 95% of all the donations received by the Philani Fund USA are spent directly on the Project’s programs. Below are some examples of how recent contributions have helped mothers and children in South Africa.

In addition to the programs described here, your contributions also have been used to purchase nutrition supplements for malnourished children; to support the Philani Family Fund, which builds simple houses for vulnerable families and supports students with college and university fees; and for the Desmond Tutu Scholarship Fund, which makes small monthly contributions to HIV positive women to supplement their diet with fruit and vegetables, helps others with transport money when they look for employment, and helps mothers buy school uniforms and books for their children.

Mentor Mothers, Eastern Cape

A generous gift to the Philani Fund USA from a family foundation helped establish the Mentor Mothers Program in the rural, extremely poor Eastern Cape Province. The Eastern Cape area then had the highest level of infant mortality in South Africa and the lowest rate of births in health facilities. The Mentor Mothers Program, first implemented by Philani in the urban townships near Cape Town, was adapted to this rural setting where villages are far apart, transportation is difficult and health facilities may not be accessible. Philani recruits and trains mothers to go door to door in their own and nearby communities, identifying malnourished children, assisting mothers through their pregnancies and beyond, assisting family members to obtain government grants for which they are eligible, and providing maternal, child health, nutrition and early childhood development interventions.

The rural program was begun in 2010 in the villages surrounding Zithulele Hospital in the O.R. Tambo area of the Eastern Cape with 20 Mentor Mothers, and was later extended to the nearby Coffee Bay area at the request of that community. By 2014 there were 47 Mentor Mothers plus 12 Mentor Mothers specially trained in early childhood development, a part-time doctor and a full-time nurse. During 2014 the Mentor Mothers in the Eastern Cape had over 3,000 active cases, visited over 53,000 households and weighed more than 46,000 children.

Mothers Art Project

Thanks to a series of grants from Johnson & Johnson, and to two American artists and an art curator who volunteered their time and expertise, the Philani Fund USA initiated a Philani Mothers Art and Income Project to teach Philani mothers to make collages, linoleum prints and fresco paintings. The American artists taught workshops in these art techniques, traveling to Cape Town from the U.S. several times at their own expense. The grant funds paid for arts supplies, the mothers’ travel expenses, support for a part-time South African artist who continued to train the workshop participants, and for the placement of artworks in hospitals and health clinics. More than 30 large frescoes plus additional artworks made by Philani mothers now hang in more than twenty community health clinics and hospitals in low-income areas of Cape Town, where they are greatly appreciated by patients, their families, staff and visitors.

The Philani Mothers Art and Income Project is part of Philani’s Income Generation Program for mothers, which teaches mothers skills they can use to make products for sale. The mothers use the income they receive to provide nutritious food that allows them to raise well-nourished, healthy children, and to pay for others necessities such as school fees and uniforms. In addition, the women who participate in the Income Generation Program develop independence and confidence in themselves and in their abilities that goes beyond producing art, and empowers them in other areas of their lives as well.

Preschool classes

Philani runs eleven “Educare” preschool classes in the townships adjacent to Cape Town. These classes enroll almost 300 children from three to six years old, in a safe environment where they can learn and play. There is evidence that children who play enjoy developmental benefits and also recover faster from illness and malnutrition. Every year since 2010, a portion of your contributions to the Philani Fund USA has gone to support the preschool program and to hire classroom assistants for the preschool teachers, whose classes may have as many as twenty-five to thirty children. It makes a huge difference for both teachers and children to have an extra person in the classroom. Philani’s preschool teachers and teachers’ assistants are women from the community who have gone to school and received certification to qualify them for these positions. Philani also encourages the preschool teachers to further their education and improve their qualifications.

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