While we were preparing to leave Australia and were raising our support, we were asked many questions about iKhethelo and Lily of the Valley, South Africa, fundraising, HIV/AIDS, and more. We compiled a short list of our frequently asked questions to help you learn more about our ministry. If you have additional questions, do not hesitate to contact us.
How has HIV/AIDS affected the children at iKhethelo and Lily of the Valley?
Many of the children at iKhethelo and Lily of the Valley are HIV infected and most of them have been orphaned because of AIDS or abandoned as a result of their illness. Through the use of ARV (anti-retroviral) medication the majority of our HIV infected children are able to live relatively normal lives, although some of the children do suffer with side effects from their medication and tragically a small minority do succumb to illness as a result of HIV/AIDS.
What is the process for a child coming to live at iKhethelo or Lily of the Valley?
All of the children are placed at iKhethelo and Lily of the Valley by social workers with a court order in place, which is renewed periodically. All of our children’s parents are suffering from or have died of AIDS. Some of the children are HIV positive, some have been abandoned or raped, others physically and/or mentally abused. Children are placed at iKhethelo or Lily of the Valley when their families and the community in which they live are no longer able to support and nurture them.
Are the kids at iKhethelo and Lily of the Valley eligible for adoption?
Some of the children are eligible for adoption, while some still have parents or extended family that are alive but unable to properly care for them. The social workers at iKhethelo and Lily are always working to reunite children with their families or find adoptive families for a child if they are eligible for adoption.
Who runs iKhethelo and Lily of the Valley?
iKhethelo and Lily of the Valley Children’s Villages are operated by the Abethenjwa Trust. The Abethenjwa Trust is a Non-Profit Organisation in its own right. Graeme Wright is the Village Manager at iKhethelo, with about 20 paid staff. There are also many volunteers, ranging from a short term (several months) to long term (several years) serving at iKhethelo and Lily of the Valley.
Will you have to take precautions to protect yourselves from contracting HIV/AIDS?
The main ways that HIV is spread is through blood transfusions, sharing of needles, mother to child (in utero, at birth, breastfeeding) and intimate relations with an infected person. HIV is not spread through casual contact. You can’t get HIV from mosquitoes, toilet seats, breathing the same air or other common myths. Unfortunately, myths and fear has only added to the rejection and loneliness many who have HIV/AIDS experience. We will take part in basic HIV/AIDS training upon our arrival and take necessary precautions, but it’s important to recognise that those infected with HIV/AIDS need the same love and relationships as every other human being.
Is South Africa safe?
Unfortunately crime in South Africa is a problem and Lily has been affected by this, despite having security fences and guards. It is important for us to always be vigilant and practice common sense safety, and of course pray for God’s protection.
Once on the field, what can I expect from you in the way of communication?
We are passionate about staying connected with our prayer and financial partners. We want to share how your support is making a difference in these children’s lives. We have been so encouraged by the support we have received as we have been preparing for our ministry in South Africa and are excited to continue on this journey with you. We will be using regular email newsletters, as well as Facebook as our main channels for updates from iKhethelo. We also want to know what is going on in your life and how we can be praying for you; so don’t be shy about sending us an email or Facebook message!
We would like to support you, when should we begin? How much do you need?
You can find detailed information about our financial needs by visiting the Partner with Us page. One-time and monthly gifts can be made at any time. Monthly gifts can be made electronically, or can be sent in by mail each month. Prior to departing for South Africa, monthly gifts will be applied towards our one-time needs. The sooner you can begin giving, the sooner our one-time needs will be met.
SIM requires that we have 100% of our one-time needs raised, and 100% pledged for our monthly needs before we can leave for South Africa. They do this so that while on the field we can focus on our ministry, and not our funding.
Wow, you have to raise a lot of money! Are your support figures higher than other missionary organisations?
They are not. There are numerous components that make up the support requirement of a missionary. In general, 60-70% of which relates to salary, housing, a vehicle and taxes. The balance includes medical insurance, retirement, passage to and from the field, and service costs. As far as service costs go, SIM falls into the 50th percentile when compared to other missions organisations, and from our perspective seem relatively low compared to the benefits we receive. We are so thankful to be a part of an organisation like SIM. They handle most of our finances and logistics so we can truly focus on our ministry!