What We Do

Our mission is to support local community-based programs that provide care and assistance to children and families in HIV-affected areas in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The programs we support are based in communities that face some of the highest HIV rates anywhere in the world, as well as the long-term effects of decades of systematic inequality and poverty. In this context, we believe that effective interventions must be structural, and must start with young people.

Children in KwaZulu NatalDespite the many challenges they face, families in these localities work hard to surmount incredible odds to give their children opportunities for a bright future. Our projects focus on strengthening family and community structures of support for children. In these areas, where more than one in four adults is HIV-positive, nearly all children are impacted by the effects of HIV/AIDS. Rather than targeting so-called ‘AIDS orphans’–an approach that can isolate and stigmatize these young people, we focus on supporting educational programs and community development initiatives that benefit all young people in affected communities.

Community ownership and involvement is essential for the success and sustainability of the projects we fund. Through community ownership, children and families benefit not only from the services provided, but also from the creation of jobs in the community, the community support and solidarity engendered by the project, and the sense of hope and possibility the projects foster.

Because we at Thembanathi all volunteer our time and support and donate any administrative expenses, we are able to operate with no overhead costs—100% of your donations and of the proceeds from your purchases go directly to programming for children in rural South Africa.