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AIDS patients need food

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Vivian Zilo, a research assistant at Stellenbosch University, and founder of Iliso NGO is steadily restoring hope among AIDS patients in Khayelitsha Township which has one of the highest incidences of HIV/Aids infection in South Africa.

Hassan Isilow
HIV/Aids patients excitedly wait for free soup distribution at Iliso care society in Khayelitsha,near Cape Town. Iliso is a non-governmental organization based in Site C Khayelitsha, one of South Africa’s most marginalised and poverty-stricken Townships. Many residents here live in self-constructed wooden or corrugated tin shacks, without access to clean water, electricity, or sanitation.
Most children attend school on empty stomachs. The unemployment rate in Khayelitsha officially stands at a staggering 50%. In reality, the figure is much higher. But there is a silver lining to the dark cloud.
M/S Vivian Zilo, a research assistant at Stellenbosch University, and four other women are steadily restoring hope in this Township through their organisation Iliso- which means ‘eye’ in Xhosa language.
“I knew about the suffering of people in this area, while working as a research assistant for Stellenbosch University. I used to frequent site c where I counselled HIV/AIDS patient. But they were often too weak to take medicine that I administered, because they were hungry,” Vivian told African witness in an interview.

The Suffering of HIV/AIDS patients prompted Vivian to start the work of Iliso in the area where need was greatest, with a soup kitchen. But soon she broadened the scope to include helping the elderly, underprivileged and schoolchildren.

Vivian’s organisation also provides safety and care for orphans and vulnerable children. She also organizes workshops for youth to help them cope with problems they face in the community. Iliso also offers psychosocial and community empowerment to families and children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Khayelitsha has one of the highest incidences of HIV/Aids infection in South Africa, which the United Nations Aids Foundation recognizes as having the second highest HIV/Aids rate world wide. Reliable estimates suggest there are as many as 14,000 orphans in Khayelitsha, the majority being a result of the Aids pandemic. Whilst some 27% of adults are HIV positive, amongst expectant mothers this figure may be as high as 40%.

Vivian says with these shocking HIV/AIDS statistics, unemployment and the orphan crisis, is stretching her organisations small budget. In case you want to help Iliso, to continue with its good work, then contact Vivian on +2783 548 9268 or +2721 387 7423


Written by africawitness

November 12, 2010 at 4:17 am

Posted in Xenophobia

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