South Africa has one of the biggest and most developed economies in Africa, yet deep socio-economic inequalities remain. With 3.7 million orphans across South Africa, the largest concentration of HIV worldwide and more than half the population living below the national poverty line, South Africa faces a series of monumental challenges.
Over seven million people in South Africa are living with HIV/AIDS and with 270,000 new infections a year, South Africa has the largest concentration of HIV worldwide. Despite a drop in transmission rates, HIV/AIDS continues to remain the single leading cause of death across South Africa.
The high prevalence of this disease has multiple complex effects on society, including decreased earning power and rising numbers of child orphans with grandparents with parental responsibility for an increasing number of dependents. For those affected by the disease, impoverished living conditions place an even greater burden on their health and their families. The sicker the individuals, the less likely income can be generated to support themselves and their families.
With 55.5% of South Africans living below the national poverty line, many people do not have access to daily essentials and the necessary funds for healthcare.
For large segments of the population in South Africa, life is a struggle:
- 19% of people living with HIV/AIDS are based in South Africa (UN AIDS, 2016)
- A third of people do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities (World Bank, 2016)
- Over a quarter of the population are unemployed (ILO, 2017)
- 1 in 25 children die before they reach their 5th birthday (World Bank, 2016)
Islamic Relief in South Africa
Islamic Relief South Africa opened its office in 2003 to implement education and health programs to alleviate the suffering caused by poverty and help children affected by HIV/AIDS.
We introduced Positive Living, a project aimed at preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS, and offering care and support for people with the virus. Through the project, we encouraged people to go for HIV testing, so treatment and moral support can be given. In 2014, the Islamic Relief family officially pledged USD $10 million to fund the oncology unit of the ground-breaking Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, in Johannesburg with the Oncology Centre of Excellence opening in 2016.
To support children in the region we offer 1:1 orphan sponsorship and on a seasonal basis, we continue to offer Ramadan and Qurbani food aid to address the widespread poverty across the region.