A brief history of Izandla Zethemba
Izandla Zethemba was birthed in 2000 through Khanyisa Community Church, Guguletu, as a response to the massive impact of HIV/AIDS on the lives of people in the surrounding informal communities. Khanyisa Community Church had been visiting a handful of infected people and their families. With this number increasing the need for a structured home-visiting programme was recognised, and thus the birth of IZAP. Four community workers were fully trained at the Cape Town ATICC (AIDS Training Information and Counselling Centre) to provide support and care to these affected families. Izandla Zethemba registered as a Section 21 company in 2002 and an NPO in 2008.
Izandla Zethemba pioneered a home visiting approach that formed a link between health services and the community. The key to the approach was the empowering of the local community to take ownership of the project and care for people with HIV/AIDS. In February 2002, with the help of a professional dietician, Izandla Zethemba put together a food list for an affected family in order to develop monthly food parcels which have been refined over the years and are being provided by partner churches in the greater Cape Town area. 2002 also saw the start of a pilot support group for grief work with orphans and adults facing the loss of a parent. Over the years this area of ministry has grown into the “heart” of the work of the Izandla Zethemba Support Care Project, which includes running support groups for adults affected by HIV and AIDS as well as orphans and vulnerable children.
In 2002 Izandla Zethemba started providing youth community workshops and ran workshops for community mothers infected by HIV and AIDS in response to the need for HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention. Although the vision for reaching youth was always in place, it was formalised in 2009 when Izandla Zethemba became a GOLD Peer Education Development Agency partner. For four years we implemented a HIV-prevention peer education programme with over 250 young people from the surrounding communities. Unfortunately in 2013 this programme was stopped due to funding constraints.
The work with OVC and HIV positive adults has continued despite funding challenges. During 2014 the organisation went through a strategic planning process which resulted in the broadening of our focus beyond HIV/AIDS to include all chronic illnesses, and we also felt lead to add an "equipping" emphasis to our supportive work. This resulted in the birth of a homework club, computer club, and the goal of economic empowerment was included in our existing activities.