In South Africa, 50% of new HIV-AIDS infections are amongst teenagers. So as a part of the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the country, Namenyi Project Hope hold AIDS awareness seminars for the students of many rural area schools around Durban.
In addition to this type of education, one of the best ways to fight the scourge is providing a healthy, nutritious diet. Namenyi Project Hope undertakes food programs in schools and orphanages, where a high percentage of the children are impacted by AIDS, to enhance the children’s nutritional needs by delivering healthy food on a regular basis (fruit, vegetables, meat, and bread). In order to take anti-retro viral drugs to maintain their health, these need to be taken with food in their stomachs.
Namenyi Project Hope also assists rural area schools in becoming self-sufficient as far as food is concerned, by training them to grow and harvest vegetables. The food is grown in vegetable tunnels so there is a 6 to 7 months growing season, and the vegetables grown in these tunnels are largely protected against climatic extremes, as well as free from insect attack and other destructive blight. Lastly, the yield can be 8 times more than it would be in an open plot.
In one typical school we visited in a township, out of 320 students only 30 were being raised by both parents. So more than 90% of the students have lost one or both of their parents to AIDS, and are being brought up by grandmothers or relatives! Due to their extreme poverty, many of these children arrive at school on empty stomachs, so even providing a balanced meal of a banana, cereal and milk can do wonders, both physically and academically. Namenyi Project Hope’s research indicates that after only 3 months of this sort of enhanced diet, well over 80% of the children’s grades improve dramatically, not to speak of school attendance.