By: Renee Meyer, Ndlovu CRS, Elandsdoorn, South Africa
18 October 2017 was a milestone in the history of Ndlovu Care Group. There were a great many reasons to celebrate the inauguration of the new research facility in Elandsdoorn. One of them is that we can proudly say that we have helped illuminate the research and priority needs for scientists from all over the world to see what is happening here, in Elandsdoorn, in Limpopo, in South Africa.
Our community has thrown its back into supporting Ndlovu Care Group to liaise, to work together, and to shape a strong and reinforced partnership to put an end to HIV and AIDS. The community has experienced, for the past 22 years since Ndlovu was established, what it is like to have their backs covered by someone who cares about what is happening at the grass roots level. When no one else seemed to even notice the suffering and anguish people were experiencing, Ndlovu Care Group was always there. And… they never dropped the ball.
Ndlovu is the care group who has convinced thousands of people in the local and surrounding communities to get tested for HIV, and Ndlovu supplied the medication and care necessary to help keep people alive and well. People who were dying have seen their health return and those who faced their final days of life were nursed with compassion and care during their last days when other groups were not willing. This community trusts Ndlovu Care Group, and Ndlovu loves the community.
Ndlovu has compassion for children left as orphans – for them Ndlovu Care Group has:
- Built houses that have become homes;
- Ensured access to care and support, medically and socioeconomically;
- Assisted some to become registered with identification to assist with access to other grants;
- Established nutritional units where children are nurtured back to health and care givers are taught how to care for their kids, pre-schools where children can feel safe and cherished, after school centers – the Ndlovu Chill Hubs – where young people can attend after school classes, attend computer school, read and be safe;
- There also are countless opportunities to excel at sports, with soccer fields, netball, tennis and volleyball courts and even a very classy gym.
This event was important and different because it also demonstrated how a community and a NGO can work together to create positive change in communities. Working together is one clear way to support finally eradicating HIV/AIDS. We were honored today to have many guests whose support in the field of HIV/AIDS has been remarkable and many who pledged their support, thank you very much! Thank you for the Ndlovu Youth Choir and Ralf and the people who made the enormous effort to build a beautiful stage in less than a week, thank you to the people who dug deep into their pockets to make this research facility possible.
Thank you to the community of Dennilton, and thank you to Dr. Hugo Tempelman, all of the researchers everywhere and all the staff members of Ndlovu Care Group.
*Renee Meyer is the Marketing Manager of the Ndlovu CRS in Elandsdoorn, South Africa.
*Note from Editor: The HVTN welcomes the Ndlovu CRS and looks forward to their participation in HVTN 705!