A powerful message of hope
Our international programs began in South Africa as a response to the devastation of the AIDS pandemic. At the time, our commitment was to provide food and technical assistance to people who were living with HIV/AIDS in Guguletu, a township located outside of Cape Town.
Since then, our partnerships have continued to grow — thanks to the tremendous generosity and dedication of our volunteers and donors — and now include the following organizations and projects:
The J.L. Zwane Community Centre is located in Guguletu. Open Arms sponsors a daily hot meal for members of the center’s HIV/AIDS support group and their families and caregivers. It also provides a meal for students participating in the Rainbow After School Program. Through private donations, Open Arms covers food and transportation costs, as well as a portion of the cook’s salary.
Ikamva Labantu (IL) has over 1,000 projects serving children, families and seniors with emergency food relief. IL’s home-based care program serves hundreds of homebound patients living with TB and HIV/AIDS. In addition, Ikamva Labantu’s Food Garden Project helps provide community training in gardening, as well as fresh vegetables and good nutrition for hundreds of township residents.
Open Arms supports the community garden project through technical assistance and funding support, which Ikamva Labantu uses to employ five gardeners. Gardeners oversee 10 food gardens throughout the townships, producing fresh vegetables for senior centers, daycare centers and foster families.
The Social Justice Coalition is located in Khayelitsha, a township outside Cape Town with a population of more than 700,000 people. It was founded in 2010 to bring awareness to and foster change around issues of safety and sanitation in the townships surrounding Cape Town. One of those issues is access to clean drinking water, which is essential to good health, especially for those living with HIV/AIDS.
Open Arms contributions help fund a staff position at the Social Justice Coalition. This position helps coordinate all of the branches that provide education and a community organizing structure for the township. More than 2000 people had joined the efforts by the end of 2012.
Monkeybiz is a nonprofit bead project that focuses on empowering women in the most economically under-resourced areas of South Africa through sustainable employment and health services. This inspirational project provides more than 450 disadvantaged people with materials, which they then use to create bead art and generate income.
All Monkeybiz profits are reinvested back into community services. Open Arms purchases the hand-beaded artwork and sells the pieces in the United States; 100% of the profits are invested in our international programs.