Dear Topsy Supporters,
Thank you for taking the time to find out more about the organisation that you choose to support. We are glad to have the chance to show you the results of your amazing support. Today I would like to share a story of one of our beneficiary families.
“Mofokeng Children” told by Heleen Venter, Topsy Social Worker
The Mofokeng family stays in Extension 1, Phumelong. No Number. There are 8 family members in this household. The father of three of the children (now orphans) died about 2 years ago. They now live with their father’s partner.
The family stays in a small shack with no running water, toilet facilities or electricity. They are a very poor family and the mother does not look after the children very well.
Topsy intervened with the children’s welfare after doing an assessment of their situation. They met the criteria of Topsy’s Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Programme and were included in the emergency food and essentials parcel program.
In addition, Topsy assists the children with medical and psycho-social care. Topsy staff assists with bathing and feeding the children. Topsy has supplied the children with new warm clothes and school clothes.
Topsy Community Health Care Workers give assistance and support to the mother to help her to take better care of the children. They visit the family home daily to see that the mother has cooked food for the children. Weekly reports are given to our Social worker about this family.
This family is a huge challenge but Topsy is making progress. Slowly but surely…. Heleen
The Topsy programmes are child-centred and the overall aims of the organisation are to strengthen the family and community and result in the involvement of more community members by creating a sense of ownership and long-term sustainability through;
At Topsy, we have a future vision of flourishing rural communities, where a generation of young people, who in spite of the impact of HIV/AIDS, are productive participants in society.
Sharon PrussDonor Relationship Manager
Thank you for taking the time to find out more about the organisation that you choose to support. We are glad to have the chance to show you the results of your amazing support. Today I would like to share with you a story of the love and strength of one of the “Gogos” (Grandmothers) in our Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Programme.
This is about Gogo Patience (not her true name) in the words of her Social Worker, Heleen Venter:
“Patience is a grandmother of two children of which the youngest one is a patient at Topsy. The children’s mother passed away some time ago. They are extremely poor and it is so cold in their house.
I wanted to share something very remarkable which I have never seen before. Patience is 70 years old and as you can see in the photo, she is disabled. She walks with great difficulty and the only way she can move around is with two old crutches. It looked as if she may have had Polio when she was little. Yet with all of this - you must see this lady taking care of her two orphans. When she does their washing she fills a bucket of water, puts it on her head and starts walking with this very heavy load and disabled legs with two wooden crutches, to the outside of her house to work outside on the grass. It seems effortless, and she did it perfectly, but can you imagine the weight and burden for this old Gogo to just do a normal daily task.
She is always so thankful and an example for so many people. She loves these two grandchildren so much, and taking care of them in such a simple but special way.
Today we gave the little girl some warm clothing on her visit to the clinic (not the hat and scarf in the picture) and to the family 3 double bed blankets. They were very, very happy. Life is not always fair but full of lessons for those who are experiencing a situation, and sometimes even more for those who observe the situation.
These are the lessons that I see. I choose two learn and try to be someone better than I was the day before. Topsy changes me every day. I thank God for it.”
The provision of food security to communities threatened by malnutrition;
Sharon PrussDonor Relationship Manager
Dear Topsy Supporters,
I am happy to bring to you this latest report from the field. I would like to tell you about one of the important projects that we run through our free Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care Clinic. It is the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) project.
The transmission of HIV from mother to child is a facet of this epidemic that has received a lot of international attention – both because the prevalence of mother to child transmission has been worryingly high in some regions (particularly Southern Africa) and secondly because there are highly effective medicines and treatment protocols available to ensure the HIV negative status of the child.
At the Topsy Foundation Clinic we employ the best practice in prevention of transmission by using an end-to-end process to take the mother and child through all stages from conception, through pregnancy and the birth to feeding. When this protocol is followed, with the assistance of the medical and social work professionals at our Clinic, then success is made possible. Throughout the time that we have had this project in place, we have had great successes, and in each case where the mother complied with the process, the child was born free of HIV.
Before the introduction of treatment and methods to prevent mother to child transmission there was a very high incidence rate of infection from mother to child internationally – up to 40%. Over time, with treatment this has dropped to as low as 2.8%. (South African Medical Journal, Vol 102, 2012.)
The national rate of infant exposure to HIV in South Africa is 32%. However, with the availability of treatment at clinics like Topsy, the national weighted prevalence of HIV infection amongst infants in South Africa is 1.5% - with the 2 highest rates of infection being in 2 provinces: Mpumalanga (3%) and Free State (2.4%). It is precisely because these 2 provinces are deeply affected by the impact of HIV and AIDS that Topsy has chosen to focus our efforts here. (South African Department of Health).
It is our policy to offer treatment and support to all of our patients who may be pregnant and to induct them into our PMTCT programme (which like our other services is free of charge). This is highly important, given that in our provinces only +- 56% of known HIV positive mothers are able to access this treatment.
We continue to offer this treatment and guidance to HIV positive mothers on preventing transmission to their child, throughout the pregnancy and thereafter.
We deeply value your support in helping us to do this.
Thank you for all that you have given that has made this possible.
Thank you for taking the time to enjoy finding out more about the organisation that you choose to support. We are glad to have the chance to show you the results of your amazing support.
Today I would like to share with you a perspective on healing, as it comes from family, friends and caring fieldworkers. I have a real life story for you from one of our patients, (followed by some words from her Topsy fieldworker who continues to help her through these challenging times)
Enjoy this story:
“I would like to thank Topsy Clinic for their help and support:
I became sick some time ago and as time went by I was getting worse and weak.
A neighbour friend who was working at Topsy advised me to go to Topsy Clinic because many people have gotten better and well there. I came to Topsy Clinic early this year, I was very weak, Topsy Health Workers came to visit me to assist and counsel me I just looked at them and it was difficult to talk back.
My aunt who stays two houses from mine took me to stay with her and they came to motivate us and advise her when she needed. I was weak, losing weight and had no appetite, they gave me nutritional juice and porridge powder to feed at home, thank God I could tolerate that.
My aunt was so patient and did not allow me to stay sleeping during the day. My neighbour friend would come to look after me at my aunt’s house while she was at work, and Topsy Health Workers would come in the day and encourage us saying I will be better/well.
I am now very much better can stand for a longer time preparing food, I have moved back to my home slowly but surely - trying to do for myself, as my brother who stays with me is at work, only coming home on weekends.
These words are so true and real, and I am sure you can feel her heartfelt gratitude to everyone who makes this possible – that includes you, our wonderful supporter.
And now a few thoughts from her Topsy fieldworker:
“I met this lady when her neighbour friend brought her to Topsy. We have been going to visit her for motivation and counselling. Sometimes when talking to her she was not responding but just stared at us. Last week when I came to the house and after my greeting she responded, oohh I was so emotional and even cried. I was so thankful.”
Isn’t it a wonderful difference that these healing hands can make.
Thank you for listening.
Thank you for supporting.
Dear Topsy Supporters, The other day I was asked to define what Topsy's purpose is. Not our goal or mission statement - but our purpose. This is the answer that I gave, "The main purpose of the Topsy Foundation is to empower impoverished rural communities in South Africa who are impacted by HIV and AIDS, so that future generations, and young people in particular can flourish and be productive participants in society." This seemed to sum things up perfectly. But perhaps for an even better explanation, here is a directly translated letter from one of our beneficiaries. "I, started feeling sick on the 29 January 2008. I got helped at Topsy. I did not have an appetite, could not walk and was feeling very weak - having no strength, no hope. I tested HIV positive and was also diagnosed with TB which was news to me. My CD4 count result was very low counting at 10 cells then. I started attending at the Topsy Foundation Clinic, Grootvlei, and took treatment for Tuberculosis until it was cured. I also have to take ARVs. It was tough /difficult / a challenge but I accepted my conditions and I am taking antiretroviral therapy everyday for the rest of my life. To accept my condition, I told myself I am not the only one who has this disease HIV. I am getting well and I am fine. I am staying happily with my family. What I can say is "THANK YOU" to the Topsy team for your care in assisting me and others. I would like to motivate people who are still in denial that "LIFE COMES ONCE TO PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD, THEY MUST SEEK HELP, COME TO TOPSY AND THEY WILL BE HELPED". Thank you, I hope that you found this letter as inspiring and motivating as we did. It gives us great encouragement to see the results of the work that you support and fund. So thank you deeply and sincerely for your support and funding. It is genuinely life-saving. Warm Regards Helen MacKenzie Communications Manager
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