What can you do to give something back?
Responsible Tourism is defined as follows:
- generating economic benefits for local people and enhancing the well-being of host communities
- improving working conditions and access to industry involving local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances
- making positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage to the maintenance of the world's diversity,
- providing more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues minimising negative economic, environmental and social impacts while being culturally sensitive engendering respect between tourists and hosts, and building local pride and confidence
The hospitality and tourism industry has noticed over recent years that consumer expectations of their holidays have changed as they embrace the principles of 'Responsible Tourism'. It seems that people are now looking for experiences which enable them to get closer to the 'real' living culture of countries and to experience their diverse natural and cultural heritage. This is called ‘immersive travel’.
At umSisi House, we are privileged to offer a destination that truly embraces the essence of Africa - its people, its wild places and its wild life. Yet the indigenous people of South Africa are often still overlooked by international visitors who arrive in search of the 'Big Five' or the opportunity to worship the sun and unwind on the endless, white sand beaches that our coastline has to offer.
Guests at umSisi House will have the opportunity to address this imbalance by taking an active interest in what is happening in our neighboring community thereby promoting the principles of 'responsible tourism'. We hope you might decide to support some of these local projects, hosted by both domestic and international non-profit organisations, as you find out more about what is going on.
The number of people known to be living with HIV / AIDS today is in the region of 42 million. Whilst there is only one strain of the HIV virus the ways in which it affects people's lives varies with geographical and economic circumstances. In developed countries, people with HIV can live long and productive lives with the help of anti-retroviral drugs, good diet and support.
However, in developing countries, rural communities remain terribly under-developed, often lacking clean water and even basic health care. In South Africa, HIV / AIDS remains a major issue with the largest population (3.5 million) of HIV-positive people in the world and a growing number of AIDS orphans. The complicated nature of anti-retroviral drugs together with their requirement to be taken regularly with meals make it difficult to see how, even if made available, they could be effectively distributed and used in the vast and largely unstructured rural areas. As a result, many thousands of people in South Africa are living with and dying from HIV / AIDS in quite appalling conditions.
THE MASOYI COMMUNITY
The Masoyi Community is a small tribal area consisting of six villages located within the Nsikazi District in Mpumalanga province. Masoyi is approximately 30 minutes from White River, a small town that is in close proximity to the Kruger National Park. The area has a population of approximately 220 000 people, of which 28% of the sexually active population are believed to be HIV positive. There are sometimes as many as forty funerals each week most of which are AIDS related deaths. Prior to the advent of democracy Masoyi was within a former homeland area created by the Apartheid regime. Homelands were largely rural, under-resourced areas and were isolated from economic opportunity. For this reason, the area is characterized by low levels of infrastructure and high levels of unemployment (currently standing at 75%). Members of the community often travel far to find work in surrounding towns. Others live away from their homes and send wages to their families. The area is not far from Mozambique and Swaziland and experiences movement of people between these two neighbouring countries.
As the incident of disease increases, there is a growing number of granny and child-headed households emerging. Increasing numbers of households are afflicted by poverty due to loss of breadwinners to diseases like HIV / AIDS and others, and families are absorbing the costs of caring for the sick
MASOYI HOME BASED CARE
Masoyi Home Based Care (MHBC) began offering their services in 1997 in response to the increasing number of people who were HIV infected and families who were affected by the illness and death of loved ones. Soon after the emergence of MHBC, it became clear that children were experiencing many problems as a result of illness and death within their families. This led to the birth of Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Programme. Today, MHBC also reaches out to OVC and provides spiritual, emotional and physical support to children. Some such services includes assistance with obtaining birth documents, daily feeding, food parcels, early childhood development (ECD) program run from multi-care centres, assistance with homework for older children and the running of leadership and peer support programmes for youth.
With 72 volunteers, plus regularly visiting international groups, MHBC currently reaches over 1085 orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and cares for more than 200 patients.
MHBC works in all 6 villages in the region: Mganduzweni, Jerusalema, Swalala, Phola, Mahushu and Mthimba.
In addition to the services offered by MHBC, the organisation has built an additional two care centres in Masoyi called Lula and Khayalethu 2 (K2). These are places for OVC's from pre-school to high school graduation to come and receive hot meals, teaching, activities, help with their homework as well as learn various life skills. One of the primary benefits is that the children receive love, affirmation, and encouragement! A youth resource centre, called K3, has also been built and assists with vital life and other skills (computer, sewing, carpentry etc) for older children.
As the organization has expanded, it has developed into a holistic program offering comprehensive services to OVC and caregivers. Staff within the organisation began to see potential to implement the program across the continent. The desire to replicate the model in other parts of Africa saw the emergence of Hands at Work as an independent movement that is implementing the Masoyi model in other parts of Africa.
MASOYI HOME BASED CARE VISION
To build a strong, resilient, productive and healthy population in the Masoyi tribal region. We want to serve as an effective Christian Home Based Care model that can be duplicated throughout Africa.
MASOYI HOME BASED CARE MISSION
We are a Christian organisation dedicated to improving the lives of the most vulnerable and destitute in our community especially those infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS. We are committed to improving the lives of those in our community by addressing their physical, spiritual and emotional needs.
MASOYI HOME BASED CARE GOAL
To help our people to be self-sustainable.
Please visit masoyi.wordpress.com for more information.
For donations for use in Masoyi only
Bank: Standard Bank
Branch: White River
Branch Code: 053052
Account Number: 030373468
Account Name: Masoyi Home Based Care Project
Iso Labantwana Community Tour
The 'Iso Labantwana' Community Tour invites you to experience and participate in an established community project dedicated to improving the lives of orphans, vulnerable children and young adults in our neighbouring Masoyi community. The project is run by Masoyi Home Based Care who are a registered non-profit organisation and the tour has been developed by umSisi House in support of the practices of 'Responsible Tourism'.
This tour in only available during school terms.
So join Masoyi Home based Care (MHBC) at their Youth Resource Centre where you will start your tour. Visit the Life Skills Centre and meet their young adults. Walk with them to the Lula Care Centre and play with the children. Work with them in their gardens or turn your hand to building a home.
This is a grass roots experience allowing you to meet the caregivers and beneficiaries of this visionary community project and glimpse life in a rural African community. These children and young adults are our future. It is our responsibility to understand and care for them. Iso Labantwana means 'the eyes of the children' in siSwati and was the name chosen for this community tour as it is a commonly held belief across many cultures that the 'eyes' are the windows to the soul because they reflect the emotion (pain, anger, fear, happiness, joy) that a person is feeling. We felt this was a very appropriate name for the community tour as Masoyi Home Based Care is proudly synonymous with caring, helping and improving the lives of orphans, vulnerable children and young adults in their community.
During the tours you will visit the hub of their activities at the K2 and K3 care centres where they run daily feeding programmes for orphans and vulnerable children; a crèche for the early development of infants; a life skills training programme (with a focus on young mothers and other unemployed young adults); develop and tend to community gardens and organise essential building projects for those most in need of shelter.
This programme has been created as a fund raising project and all money raised goes directly towards MHBC's wish list. Additional donations are gratefully received. Gifts for the children and purchases from the Life Skills Centre on the day are welcome.
Tours run weekdays only starting at 9.30am (school term only). The tours range in duration from 3 to 4 hours. Tours are arranged through Mfafa Safaris at a cost of R900 per person and include transfers (White River, Hazyview, Nelspruit areas) and bottled water. 40% of the proceeds go directly towards supporting the orphans, vulnerable children and young adults.
Contact: Mfafa Safaris on + 27 (0) 13 750 1782 to make a booking or email them on firstname.lastname@example.org
MASOYI HOME BASED CARE WISH LIST
For MHBC to be able to improve its services to the people of the community and ensure that they can communicate properly with their stakeholders, they are in need of the following infrastructure:
- Overhead projector
- Video camera
For their programs to continue delivering services to such a high standard they are in need of funds to cover the following operational costs:
- Medication for our HBC team
- Food / food parcels for the OVC's at a cost of R110 per OVC per week
- Toys and things to play with for our ECD children to encourage and improve their learning skills
Additional funding to create a stipend allowance for volunteer staff
THE ACTS CLINIC
The AIDS Care, Training, and Support Initiative (ACTS) Clinic was established in 2001. The clinic services the Masoyi area from its headquarters in the Peebles Valley.
The clinic is dedicated to the treatment of HIV/AIDS. Clinic director, Dr Margie Hardman, and her team provide quality continuum of care and support to their patients and have become known in the area as the 'Fountain of Life'. Besides anti-retroviral treatment, ACTS offers home-based care, treatment of opportunistic infections, pathology monitoring, and voluntary counselling and testing.
The clinic has over 3,224 patients in care of whom 2,168 are receiving treatment. The clinic is now a TB focal point and in the last financial year screened 2,580 patients for the disease.
ACTS has a 20-bed hospice facility for patients who need care and treatment in a step-down hospital environment. An associated training centre for palliative care is continuing to train both healthcare workers and community members. The centre offers training in outreach to smaller NGO's and community-based organisations in the area that assist ACTS with its counselling programme. The palliative care courses have been augmented with courses in basic HIV management and care and nurses training on TB and HIV management. ACTS has around 16 support groups focusing on clusters of patients that meet on a monthly basis.
Please visit www.actsclinic.co.za for further information.
THE JOCK OF THE BUSHVELD CONSERVANCY
Even closer to home our own conservancy is also doing what it can. The conservancy as a whole have taken an active interest in the high rate of HIV infection in the community and have introduced an abstinence and AIDS awareness programme within the nine rural schools which adjoin the community. The conservancy is also introducing local children to all aspects of farming with a view to encouraging them to seek career opportunities within the agricultural area.
Back to what you can do ...
For anybody who wants to do more than just give, we are happy to arrange an interactive experience for you with any of the hard-working, non-profit organisations mentioned above.