Every day Annette Newell, Princess Shezi and Alanda Osborne, of the Wentworth Aids Action Group (WAAG), take their medical tool kits and go around Wentworth and surrounding areas south of Durban to help orphans and patients with HIV/Aids and TB.
The three women provide homecare and have an ambulance in case of emergency, all free of charge. “It costs [us] nothing to help as we do everything for our hearts, as long as you’re sick and in need we are here for you,” said Newell.
The women help child-headed families who have lost parents through Aids-related diseases. Every morning they visit the families to make sure children go to school (with a packed lunch) and have enough food. They also plan to do an after school programme. WAAG project manager Mamma Irene Stainbank has managed to get some children into short internships in KwaZulu-Natal.
The caregivers also help patients with chronic illnesses such as cancer and diabetes and make sure elderly people bath, eat, exercise and take their medication. WAAG is a non-profit organistation located in the poverty stricken area of Wentworth, and was founded in by a group of passionate women who were heartbroken by seeing so many people suffering from HIV/Aids and TB in the community.
“Churches were burying seven people a day,” said Stainbank, adding that WAAG’s vision is to alleviate the suffering of people with TB or HIV/Aids and by helping to give them a healthy lifestyle.
The women have time for their patients. “I don’t mind working the long hours, and having to sit with the patients in the long queues to receive their medicine, or anything. I love helping people,” said Osborne. Although educating people and children about HIV/Aids has been a challenge for WAAG, who work from a small container, and have to deal with patients who don’t take their medication and the stigma of HIV, their efforts have resulted in more people disclosing their HIV status.
The group hopes to expand their work by opening a centre to empower patients by teaching them to sew, bake, garden and do beading. “It’s therapeutic for the patients and will also generate income for them to assist their households,” said Stainbank,
If anyone would like to contribute to the Wentworth Aids Action Group please call 031 461 2799 or email [email protected]
Name of Bank: FNB
Branch Code: 250135
Name of Account: Wentworth Aids Action Group
Account Number: 62025257339