For Mandela Day, AHF South Africa Highlights the Significance of Food For Health!

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With 2023 being the 10th anniversary of the passing of world freedom Icon Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), will be supporting vulnerable individuals in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal. The events will be under the Nelson Mandela Foundation 2023 commemorative theme, “The Legacy Lives on Through You”.

Nelson Mandela International Day is celebrated on July 18 every year in honour of the first democratically elected President of South Africa; the United Nations officially declared the late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Day in November 2009 and was first officially celebrated in 2010. Since the HIV/AIDS pandemic first broke out, the two provinces have consistently recorded the highest infection statistics in South Africa. Additionally, AHF, working closely with the government, began supporting HIV/AIDS response efforts in South Africa in 2001 – starting with KwaZulu Natal province, and has since expanded to Eastern Cape and Gauteng.

In Gauteng, AHF will team up with Shalom Faith Ministries, an orphanage based in Heidelberg, to support food and gardening as part of activities to launch the Food Garden project. The beneficiaries and workers from the orphanage will be trained by AHF’s patients from EXT 7 clinic, who also have a garden project under the AHF’s global “Food For Health” initiative to alleviate hunger. The event will start from 9 am to 13h00, focusing on preparing the soil, planting the seeds from scratch, and sharing gardening skills that have helped the AHF’s Food For Health initiative to thrive.

Considering that the beneficiaries are also in need of health services and the orphanage does not have the resources to take them to the clinics regularly, AHF, in partnership with the Department of Health, will provide a range of health services, including HIV Testing. AHF will also donate hygiene packs to the boys and sanitary towels to the girls.
In KZN, AHF will collaborate with Besters Clinic with the aim of complimenting the support rendered by the eThekwini Municipality-run Soup Kitchen, as this would have a greater reach and impact on the community, especially for those who attend Besters Clinic and are on chronic medication. AHF staff members will prepare and serve patients, PLWHIV and TB clients and their households, with a meal.

The Soup Kitchen operates five days a week, provides fresh meals to the Besters community across nine sections, and reaches at least 300 people daily. Each site feeds about 25-30 people per day. Recipients of the daily fresh meals from the Soup Kitchen include PLWHIV/TB clients who receive healthcare services from AHF-supported clinics and their households. The daily meals received by the community Soup Kitchen add value from a humanitarian standpoint. From a health perspective, these meals support the patients when taking their daily medication.

“On Mandela Day, people are called upon to devote at least 67 minutes of their time to positively impact their communities and other people’s lives with the belief that people have the power to transform each other’s lives for the better,” said Dr Kate Ssamula, AHF South Africa Country Program Director. “The call to action for Nelson Mandela International Day 2023 is “Climate, Food & Solidarity” and reflects some of the most urgent challenges facing people worldwide, and this year focuses on dismantling poverty and inequality, and creating resilient food environments, which ties in well with AHF’s Food for Health program.”

Going forward, AHF will support the long term sustainability of the food garden concept at the soup kitchen, providing opportunity for collaboration and upskilling the community through gardening techniques focused on “reduce, recycle and reuse” principles.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is a global non-profit organization providing cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to over 1.7 million people in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region, and Europe. We are currently the largest non-profit provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the world. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.
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