Philakahle was founded in 2003 after an existing programme the World Vision Child Survival Project, came to the end of its funding cycle. A collection of local community leaders joined together to continue this locally valued work. Since that time, the organisation through the contributions of a variety of international and South African funders has furthered and expanded the initial programme to offer a variety of needed programmes in rural KwaZulu-Natal. Philakahle focuses efforts on women, children and those facing extreme poverty to improve their living standards and unlock their individual and collective potential.
Philakahle’s vision is to promote abundant life for all the people of Okhahlamba, by building relationships of hope, love and holistic support. Philakahle seeks to support all individuals in need and partner with other organisations in the community to lift people up, so that the need for their work is no longer necessary.
Philakahle’s work extends into three primary projects each organising action and events based on the project goals.
The Masisukume Sakhe Project (MSP) incorporates the principles of Asset Based Community Driven (ABCD) development to support the initiation and growth of businesses and improve the lives of the local community. ABCD assesses what assets are available in the local area, and seeks solutions from these available resources. Realising what strengths are in the community to create opportunities from these resources. MSP does not provide direct funds to any project, however it supports, facilitates training and connects funders and knowledge to each project as needs arise. Specific work involves tourism accommodation, woodworking, craft, and agricultural business support as well as organising a community built library. Masisukume Sakhe staff work with cooperatives, non-profits, individuals and families all across Okhahlamba following the Philakahle vision of promoting abundant life for all people.
The Value-Based Life Skills Project (VBLS) is a major focus of Philakahle, promoting informed decision-making and strong morals within classrooms across the area. The programme follows national policy recommendations regarding participation in school, awareness and prevention of HIV / AIDS and the self worth of each and every child. Through these classroom lessons youth leaders are identified and mentored to empower and ensure change can continue into the future. VBLS reaches out to fifteen local schools with recent mobilisation likely resulting in additional youth, schools and communities being incorporated into their programme. Participants in the VBLS programme are more likely to attend tertiary school than the local average and carry this knowledge of self-worth with them through their lives. Philakahle believes every child deserves the opportunity to reach their potential through a childhood, which includes love, support and hope for a better future.
The Community Support Project (CSP) is the foundation for much of Philakahle’s work managing and training a network of 150 volunteer home-based care and community caregivers. These Referral Network (RN) volunteers are located within communities throughout Okhahlamba where they are organised and trained to encourage positive living, gender equality, childhood illness reduction, and provide integrated access to care and treatment for individuals affected by HIV/AIDS and TB. CSP also holds HIV anti-stigma campaigns and hosts support groups throughout the municipality. These campaigns reach out to marginalised populations as well as promote general anti-stigma messages.
The Community Support Project also conducts outreach directly, by offering workshops on nutrition and gardening while also providing gardening materials. When evaluating the effectiveness of treatment it is commonly noted that for health to improve action must occur from the ground up. For CSP this means educating around producing nutritious foods and effectively using these resources to improve health of families and those on medications. For participants on medication a healthy diet aids and improves the overall effectiveness of the government funded medication. The work of CSP supports a holistic response to health problems facing the people of our community, filling a social gap to ensure abundant life for all.
Many organisations in South Africa face similar challenges of entitlement and reliance on government grants and assistance. Limited information on health issues for many years caused devastating results in families across our community. Diseases continue to greatly affect the people that Philakahle serves, creating child and grandparent headed households and limiting peoples employment potential. The rural nature of the region creates limitations on employment and restricts many people’s ability to access higher education and desired employment. As an organisation, funding is consistently an issue restricting the reach of our work, and consuming time which would be better served in our communities. While facing all of these challenges, the desire and passion for our work that Philakahle staff carry, is energised by the people who we help. Even when facing such adversity participants can be eagerly seen giving thanks for the assistance and help provided, picking themselves up and moving toward a better future.
Philakahle works with countless individuals and local organisations impacting the lives of thousands in Okhahlamba. Through the various projects in a given week over 250 students will receive mentoring and guidance, 30 individuals in need will receive training in garden preparation and nutrition, three garden material packages will be delivered, five businesses and the greater cooperatives and communities they serve will receive training and support and 150 organised community healthcare volunteers will use the training they receive to direct neighbours to health services and provide grassroots support for HIV / AIDS, gender equality, childcare and positive living. Philakahle serves and unites the broader area acting as a representative and voice for the people we serve.
To view Philakahle Well-Being Centre in the Prodder NGO Directory, click here.