On Wednesday 30 November, the Hlokomela Project held an AIDS awareness day at the new Phelwana Clinic in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve.
The event, held in recognition of World Aids Day which took place on 01 December, was primarily focused at offering HIV testing and counselling, but also highlighted woman and child abuse in the local community.
Established in 2005, the Hlokomela Project coordinates various health and educational development initiatives for 69 local agricultural and tourism businesses associated with the Hoedspruit Training Trust, a non-profit organisation.
Comments Christine du Preez, director and founder of the Hlokomela Project, “It was an incredibly important day for us as it was an opportunity to bring the local community together for testing and counselling, whilst having a little fun at the same time. In addition to counselling and testing, our drama team gave an emotional interpretation of the effect of woman and child abuse in local communities. 2011 has been a challenging year and we hope that such events will assist in raising funds and creating awareness.”
The event was attended by Mr Whip Mongwe from the Department of Health Mopani District, who gave a moving speech on both domestic abuse and HIV awareness. The Department of Health has been working closely with Hlokomela and there is currently a Memorandum of Agreement in place whereby the department assists with ARV’S and blood testing.
A debate was also held where social and family issues within the community were discussed. Adds du Preez, “The debate was of particular significance as we shared various views from different communities and the problems faced within each. Our goal is to tackle such issues and much was taken away from the debate. We are confident that we will begin to see changes in our local community.”
Hlokomela seeks to contribute to the reduction of HIV prevalence and the impact of AIDS among commercial farm workers and their families through an integrated programme of prevention, treatment and care. Visit www.htt.org.za for more information or if you are interested in offering your support.