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How to find resources

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HealthWiki > Helping Children Live with HIV > Chapter 15: Community support for children > How to find resources

When you decide to work on a problem, try to find out if other groups or services already exist to help with the problem. For example, if you and a neighbor worry about women with HIV raising children alone, you could ask at the clinic and other HIV counseling sites about support groups for HIV-positive mothers. Also ask about AIDS support organizations or child welfare committees. If these exist, then you might decide to work with them to help meet more of the women’s needs. This is easier than starting a new project, and the group should welcome your new energy and enthusiasm.

Community mapping

Mapping is a way to organize information about your community and help you decide next steps for action. Gather a group. Draw a large map of your village, town, or neighborhood on a blackboard, on the ground, or on a big piece of paper. A simple map of roads, paths, and main buildings is fine.

Ask people to mark on the map all of the services they know of that are related to your problem, for example, the clinic that helps people with HIV, or childcare programs for HIV-positive children. You will be amazed at how much your group already knows! You can probably add to your map by asking workers at a hospital, clinic, or community organization about other resources.

You can also use this map to identify problems — where services are lacking and who is well-located to help provide them. Knowing where different kinds of help are needed and what is most urgent can help you figure out how to work on making it available.

a group of people talking
Look how far these homes are from any childcare!
This building is empty.
Maybe someone would like to open a home daycare.
How could we find out?

Here are some other ideas for how to raise support:

  • Ask people to contribute time and skills.
a group of women talking
If we each give a little bit, we can help some of these children with their school fees.
I cannot give money, but I can sew uniforms.
  • Get local businesses and government officials to donate food or a place to meet.
a child speaking to a man in a shop;
We will tell everyone you donated food for our event
a couple speaking to a man in an office
Our mothers group needs a meeting space. May we use an empty office on the weekend?
  • Sell goods.
  • Organize community members to work together on a project.
2 women speaking
Every sweet you buy helps build the new childcare center.
2 men speaking
Digging a new well is a good idea. There will be less sickness for everyone, especially children.
Making families stronger

Communities in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, have worked for better jobs, safe water, enough food, and access to electricity for a long time. But when HIV and AIDS came, many people died. A great many children were left without parents to care for them. Community members knew something needed to be done to help these children.

In response, a group named Thandanani (which means “love one another”) began organizing community-based, volunteer, childcare committees. Members went to local hospitals and communities to find children who had been abandoned or whose parents had died. They provided resources these children needed, such as food and clothes, and looked for foster families for the children. They found families who were willing to provide orphaned children with the love and care they needed.

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As they did this, Thandanani discovered how many families needed ongoing support to be able to care for the children they took in. The poorest families often needed emergency help just to have any food. Others needed emotional support, help getting services or identity documents for children, or better access to health care. Thandanani helped in all these ways and more. The people working most closely with families were from the community, so they understood the challenges families faced and also how capable and resourceful they could be. Thandanani strives to empower families, to provide support while also helping people think about how to solve their problems themselves.

a man speaking
As a fieldworker with Thandanani, I learned a lot of new skills. But no one had to teach me to love the children in my community!

Many years later, Thandanani has grown bigger and stronger. Now, instead of forming volunteer committees, they hire and train people from the local community to be Thandanani fieldworkers. These fieldworkers still provide a wide range of support to foster families caring for orphaned and abandoned children. They work with families for 3 years, with the goals that:

  • caregivers will be able to provide loving care and protection for children.
  • children will have enough food and clothing.
  • children will go to school and learn and grow well.
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For more about Zvandiri:
For more about Plan Uganda:
For the Zambia weaning foods cookbook:
For more about the Fatherhood Support Project, a program of the ACEV Mother Child Education Foundation:

also described in: "And How Will You Remember Me, My Child? Redefining Fatherhood in Turkey", in the journal Quality/Calidad/Qualite
For more about the CHABHA model:
Hope Amidst Despair,
HIV/AIDS-Affected Children in Sub-Saharan Africa,
Susanna W. Grannis,
Pluto Press, 2011.
For more about mothers2mothers:

This page was updated:27 Nov 2019