In 1999, the Department of Social Development commissioned Khanya Family Centre to conduct a situational assessment of the nature and extent of the phenomenon of children left orphaned by the deaths of their parents as a result of HIV/AIDS. This study resulted in the  development of the Thusano Orphan Care project which focussed on the care and support of Orphans and vulnerable children.

The children and families cared for have special challenges that the centre attends to. Families served are Granny headed families where grandparents care for their orphaned grandchildren, child/youth headed families where parents are deceased and children are on their own and families headed by people living with HIV/AIDS. Services provided include bereavement counselling, provision of monthly food parcels, home visits by dedicated caregivers who assist in budgeting, homework, school visits, applying for relevant social service documents and applying for grants .In addition, especially in youth headed families, the caregivers help in resolving sibling rivalry conflicts and provide guidance for teenagers in sex education issues.

 

There are an increasing number of beneficiaries who seek counselling which indicates community awareness of such services. Depression is an underlying condition emanating from emerging common themes like relationship difficulties, bereavement, substance abuse, domestic violence, trauma and loss, suicide, poverty and neglect.

Counselling methods used are individual counselling including play therapy for children under the age of twelve years, group counselling, couple counselling and family counselling .Counselling is provided by psychologists and social workers. In addition auxiliary social workers support social workers and do educational counselling under social worker’s supervision.

 

Although all schools are able to access these services, a comprehensive school based service is provided for four schools in Katlehong. Services provided are counselling, psycho educational assessments tests, talks and workshops for learners, parenting skills workshops and workshops for educators .Khanya is one of the few NPO’s that provide educational psychology services to disadvantaged communities. We work with educators to help them cope with children whose educational progress  has been affected by traumatic experiences or have other learning difficulties.

Staff involved are psychologists whose focus is on engaging children under the ages of 12 years in play therapy, conduct psycho educational assessments tests, social workers who counsel adolescents , facilitate parenting counselling and workshops for educators and parents ;auxiliary social workers who conduct educational talks , seminars and campaigns, and caregivers who conduct home visits