Karabo Asara Orphan Centre
The Karabo Asara HIV & Orphan Center started due to an increasing number of orphaned children and HIV effected and affected people living in poverty with minimum or no access to information about the pandemic. As a result, the community of New Eesterus, located in the heart of Soshanguve - Pretoria's largest township, decided to do something about the situation.
Karabo Asara formed in 2008 with the help of one woman (Heidi O'Bra) and has been informally operating ever since. Granted, the HIV & Orphan Center is in desperate need of funds in order to continue their operations.
The main objectives of the organization are to:
1) Give support to child-headed homes
2) Give shelter and comfort to vulnerable children
3) Take care of children effected and affected by HIV/AIDS
4) To encourage young people on issues of moral degradation and constructive behavior through sports and motivation
5) To help keep children off the streets
6) To save children from abusive environments, and to provide a safe space for children to play and interact
It's secondary objectives are to:
1) Help weak and elderly people in the community who are left alone to care for young children;
2) To form a support group for HIV+ people in the community
3) To start a community garden to help feed the people of Soshanguve
4) To introduce projects that are sustainable that can add value and empower people of the community (i.e., small business, skills development, computer literacy, arts & crafts, etc.)
Karabo Asara has already achieved remarkable results:
* Feeding scheme for children and for HIV+ persons who are on antiretroviral therapy who need to maintain a good diet
* Donate clothing to children in need, and provide laundry services to promote good hygiene
*The center takes interest in the children's academic success, and helps provide school uniforms and assists with their homework
*Started an HIV support group with members of the community, including workshops, moral support, and encourages others to know their HIV status
*Door-to-door home based care for the sick and elderly that stay alone during the day - volunteers go and help with cleaning, taking a bath, and providing food
Up until now, all workers and caregivers have been volunteers from the community. As we move forward, we would like to begin paying these critical members of society a small stipend for their help.
The Karabo Asara Orphan and HIV Center also provides meals for children and community members, which is a major expense.
We need your help to ensure long-term sustainability of this amazing organization. We are in the process of exploring ways for the South African Government to recognize Karabo Asara as a Non-Profit Organization and to receive support locally, but this will take time.
Karabo Asara's monthly expenses are approximately $1000 (including food, a very small stipend, water, electricty, transportation fees, etc).
We would like to generate enough money to sustain Karabo Asara over the next year while we build the organization's capacity and get them to the level where they will qualify for national support.
Please do what you can to help.
And if you're in South Africa, we are always looking for donations of food, clothing, books and blankets. And let me know if you'd like to volunteer and help at Karabo Asara Orphan and HIV Center!
All the best,
I wanted to provide a very quick update as to what's happening at Karabo Asara. The dedicated caregivers continue to support approximately one hundred vulnerable children each and every day! They prepare two hot meals per day and provide a safe, supportive environment for children to do homework, to play, or to simply hang out.
Over the years, we've formed a special relationship with the dancers at Karabo Asara (many of the dancers have grown up in Karabo Asara, as the center has been operational for more than ten years).
We wanted to do something extra special for this talented group of performers, who are trying to position themselves as a professional dance troupe as a means of earning money.
So with this last round of donations, we set aside money to purchase drums for the group! Maria and I just picked up these beautiful drums this afternoon (pictured below).
We are holding our next big event on Saturday, May 12th, where we will deliver the drums to the dancers and host a community braai.
Thanks again for all your support over the years. You have kept this tiny center operational! Through your kindness and generosity, this community continues to shine.
Please do what you can to help us continue this path.
All the best,
For this particular gathering, we're hoping to raise money to strengthen security around the perimeter of the building. We won't be able to pass inspection to become government sponsored without ensuring the safety and security of the facility.
Pick-n-Pay still hasn't started to deliver food, but we're hoping it will begin next month, if all goes well! In the meantime, we are still looking for donations for food.
And if you're in Pretoria or the surrounding vicinity, please mark your calendars for Saturday, May 12th for our next Braai in conjunction with amazing performances by the local dancers!
Hope you can support us! It's always nice to show the children and caregivers that we still care...
Please help me spread the word!
Much love to all,
Amy & Darren
As part of the process, we need to pass inspection. Right now, our latrine is in bad shape (remember, we had to move to a new site)...and we need to put up security around the premises. These are two blights against us...and we won't be able to gain government support until these are fixed.
There may be some additional repairs that will need to occur, but the latrine and security system are our top priorities.
We are also working with a local grocery store, Pick-n-Pay, to see how they can assist with our monthly food requirements. Still nothing set in stone, but there's finally movement in the right direction!
On another note, Heidi and Bryan O'Bra returned to South Africa last week to plant a tree in loving memory of Madeline Ehrlich. We held a small ceremony at Karabo Asara and spread some of her ashes at the site. Heidi and her mom were instrumental in starting Karabo Asara...so much love and dedication went into the facility! And now a part of Madeline will continue to live on at the orphan center that she helped create.
Please continue to help us make this organization sustainable. With your support, we are truly making progress...
All the best,
Hundreds of people from the community attended the opening of Karabo Asara. We had representatives from a local Women's Group, demonstrations from a youth club that focused on martial arts and performances from the cultural dancers.
With your on-going support, we are able to continue our work at Karabo Asara, which includes meals for more than 100 children in the community, stipends for the caregivers, and various projects that assist those in need in Shoshanguve.
But the needs continue...it costs, on average, $1000 per month to keep Karabo Asara afloat. We still need to make more upgrades to the facility. We were able to paint the outside of the building, but the inside needs a fresh coat of paint. The latrines need to be rebuilt (since we moved to a new location) and ultimately, we would love to get running water to the site.
We are also trying to hold our annual Christmas event, which is just a few weeks away. We'd like to provide small gifts to the children, primarily school supplies and new school uniforms.
Please do what you can to continue your support...and to help us spread the word.
All the best,
Amy & Darren