providing upliftment and opportunities for upskilling
Siphila Sonke runs 3 Support Groups for our Food Parcel Beneficiaries who are chronically ill with HIV AIDS or TB, but who are well enough to participate. Currently, the 3 Support Groups are Vegetable Gardening, Beading and Crafting as well as Sewing.
The Support Groups provide the opportunity for the Beneficiaries to come together, share their experiences, learn new skills, be industrious, receive counselling and just generally support and enjoy fellowship with one another.
All Food Parcel Beneficiaries are invited to join our Support Groups when they are well enough. Beneficiaries are encouraged to remain members even after they no longer receive a food parcel. All groups enjoy a light meal at the end of their Support Group session, at which time socialising and support is further enjoyed before going home in the early afternoon.
Support Group members are taking on group outings three or four times a year – in summer to the beach or a picnic, and in winter to a shopping mall, or a movie or a restaurant and there is always a Christmas party!
Vegetable Gardening Support Group
The vegetable garden is maintained daily (weather permitting) by both men and women who fall into the criteria above and provides a rewarding and small income generating experience. Currently there are 3 regular members of this Support Group (2014).
Soil preparation materials (compost, horse or chicken manure) is supplied by local enterprises and seedlings are cultivated by a generous donor. The yields from the garden are available to the group themselves, either for their own consumption or onward sale. Any surplus is either sold back to Siphila Sonke for inclusion in the food parcels or sold to any willing buyer with the proceeds going back to the group. In addition this group is supervised in the maintenance and upkeep of the Imizamo United Church Grounds.
Beading and Crafting Support Group
The beading and crafting group for women is primarily about supporting one another through good times and bad. The group meets on a Tuesday morning and fluctuates between 5 and 15 members and participants enjoy a cup of coffee and social interaction and a ‘Thought for the Day’.
All sorts of crafting is offered in cycles, from creating lampshades out of plastic spoons and decoupage for their own use, to beading of pens, jug covers and necklaces, knitting, as well as re-cycling of Christmas cards all of which are available for sale. Proceeds are returned to the individual whose work is sold.
Sewing Support Group
This group meets on a Thursday morning and is generally made up of the same participants as the Tuesday group. Under the guidance of a talented volunteer this group is taught basic sewing skills such as hemming, buttonholes, replacing zips (all by hand). Members can then progress to cutting out, pinning and tacking before moving onto machine sewing. Members make items for their own use such as cushion covers, and also items for re-sale such as oven gloves, aprons and even bunting for festive occasions.