Ratang Bana means “Love the Children”.

No one can argue that HIV/AIDS has had a devastating impact on the lives of South African children – according to the UNAIDS Report on the global AIDS epidemic 2010 – in 2009 there were 330,000 children under 15 living with HIV in South Africa and 1.9 million AIDS orphans. It is against this background that Ingrid Moloi, a social worker and resident of Alexandra Township started to offer support to several child-headed households and other disadvantaged young people growing up in Alexandra.

Ratang Bana offers care, counselling and financial support for basics such as food and clothing. The project has also helped several children to access education and hope. In addition, Ingrid whose energy is tireless despite not always being in the best of health herself, gets young people involved in sport, leisure and creative activities. She is assisted by a number of local volunteers who provide support to 120 families with 350 individuals between them.

Progress and development at this project has been considerable, with a number of new initiatives getting of the ground each year:

– In 2011, Gwen’s feeding scheme was set up and continues to provide some 65 meals cooked by individuals, which are delivered twice a week to the project manager’s office, where they are then distributed to the most vulnerable children.

– In 2012, the project moved from it’s cramped and dingy premise to a new location on a hill top overlooking the township. The new site houses an office, storeroom, meeting room and work area for a doctor and health worker to visit the children. Outside a thriving food garden and shaded outdoor areas have been established as well as a children’s play area.

– A Recycling Program where, in return for receiving food parcels, the community has been asked to collect bottles, cans and plastic.

– In 2013, a learning centre was established which provides the local children with both the space and the peace and quiet they need to do homework and extra studies. Computers have also been provided for the children to learn and practice their computer skills.

– A beautiful landscaped playground was created for the children in Sept 2013 thanks to our sister organisation Kidlink World in the USA.

Ratang Bana continues its work to support a growing number of families and individuals in the process of obtaining the necessary documents to qualify for state financial support, an incredibly lengthy and bureaucratic process which they would simply not be able to manage without some additional help.

See The BEAT Newsletter to read what’s happening now on the project.