The majority of Afrika Tikkun’s programmes are run through Afrika Tikkun Centres of Excellence. These facilities act as the hubs which positively affect the lives of underprivileged children between the ages of 2-35 years and their families. There are six centres of excellence spread across the poorest areas of Gauteng and the Western Cape.
Known to be one of the poorest and the oldest townships in Gauteng, Alexandra is home to some 500,000 people. In addition to its original, reasonably well-built houses, it also has a large number (estimated at more than 20,000) of informal dwellings or “shacks”. Officially opened in March 2011, the Afrika Tikkun Phutaditjaba centre is designed to accommodate 200 children aged between two and six in a formal Early Childhood Development programme; and over 1 000 primary and high school participants in the formal after-school Child and Youth Development programme that complements their formal schooling. It is our target to reach 200 post matric youth per annum in this community and place at least 50% of youth reached in jobs or further learning opportunities.
Diepsloot: Wings of Life
Established in 1994, Diepsloot is a densely populated settlement in the north of Johannesburg. It was originally established as a transit camp for people who had been removed from Zevenfontein. But for many, this became their permanent home. The township is now estimated to be one of the largest informal settlements in the country with over 800 000 residents. It has also become home to a large number of political and economic refugees from other African countries. Although there is some formal housing, most of Diepsloot’s residents live in 3m-by-2m structures assembled from scrap metal, wood, plastic and cardboard. Many families lack access to basic services such as running water, sewage and rubbish removal. Residents use paraffin stoves and coal for cooking, and candles for light. City officials estimate that half the population in the settlement is unemployed and 70 % of the residents live below the poverty line. In these overcrowded, desperately poor circumstances, access to regular food, health services and educational opportunities remains a challenge for many families. Since identifying this community, Afrika Tikkun, has helped to establish the Wings of Life Community Centre, in 2003. The centre initially operated a crèche from a container before the first permanent structure, a feeding kitchen, was constructed. In 2008 the Centre of Excellence was fully equipped to enable the effective implementation of our Cradle to Career holistic development model. The Centre provides services to approximately 2100 beneficiaries per annum across all ages.
Orange Farm: Arekopaneng
Located about 45km south of Johannesburg, Orange Farm is the largest informal settlement in South Africa, with an estimated population of over 1 million people. Many people live in shacks assembled from scrap metal, wood, plastic and cardboard. Families lack access to basic services such as clean drinking water, sewage and rubbish removal. An estimated 60% of the residents are unemployed and this statistic rises every year as matriculants and school drop-outs join them. The extremely high levels of unemployment and poverty in the township are accompanied by high levels of social stress and crime. Drug and alcohol abuse, along with domestic violence, is endemic. The community also experiences serious health problems, HIV/Aids and TB in particular. The dire situation in Orange Farm is largely blamed on poverty and un-employment, lack of health facilities and access to resources. Afrika Tikkun started delivering services in Orange Farm from 2002 through the Tjhebele Pele partnership, which comprised seven community-based organisations. In 2007 Afrika Tikkun formed a partnership with Arekopaneng, an NGO that offered the community a crèche and a skills development centre. . The comprehensive Centre of Excellence including an Early Childhood and Child and Youth and Skills Development centre was completed in 2010. The Centre provides services to approximately 2200 beneficiaries per annum across all ages.
Braampark: Afrika Tikkun Uthando Centre
Our Uthando Centre is located in close proximity to the vibrant inner city areas of Hillbrow, Berea and Yeoville. With high population density unemployment and poverty, the inner-city is also a haven to gangsters, drug lords, illegal immigrants and prostitutes. Formerly operating from Temple Israel Synagogue within Hillbrow, in late 2011, Afrika Tikkun concluded an agreement with the Department of Health and the Department of Infrastructure Development which would enable the organisation to lease part of the old Transvaal Memorial Children’s Hospital building at 10 Joubert Street Extension on Constitution Hill. Afrika Tikkun’s Hillbrow Centre of Excellence relocated to new and larger premises in Braampark in July 2012. The new location enabled us to offer the inner city Johannesburg communities and surrounding schools our comprehensive cradle to career and holistic development model. This is the only centre does not offer a centre based primary health care programme due to surrounding clinics and hospitals. The Centre provides services to approximately 800 beneficiaries per annum across all ages.
Mfuleni: Zolile Malindi Community Centre
Mfuleni is a severely under resourced area bordering Khayelitsha on the Cape Flats. With a population of over 52 300 people the township is faced with a mixed high unemployment, HIV/AIDS prevalence and increasing crime rates. According to the City of Cape Town census, more than a third of families in Mfuleni live in informal shacks without water and electricity. With an unemployment rate of over 70 percent, many families struggle each day to meet their most basic needs. Mfuleni suffers a myriad of negative impacts due to the breakdown of family structures. Domestic violence, women and child abuse, and substance abuse in the home are rife. There are high incidences of teenage pregnancy and prostitution; and rising gangsterism amongst primary school children. Mfuleni was recently accorded the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of HIV-infected children in South Africa, an indication of a hopelessly under-resourced children’s environment. The situation continues to become more difficult as community numbers swell without corresponding economic growth. In 2005, Afrika Tikkun entered into a partnership with the City of Cape Town, the Department of Sports and Recreation and the Mfuleni Community for the development a 350m2 training and resource centre – Mfuleni Community Park. This Centre was completed and launched in 2012. The new Centre provides services to approximately 2220 beneficiaries across all ages per annum.
Delft: Nelson Mandela Peace Park
Delft is one of those townships established in 1989 as one of Cape Town’s first mixed race townships (including ‘Coloured’ and Black African residents), Delft is known for its high crime rate, gangs, high incidence of substance abuse and family violence, substandard schools and high school drop-out rate and lack of jobs. The majority of residents have not finished their matric. A high incidence of teenage pregnancy results in many girls leaving school at an early age. Officially, around 43% of the population is unemployed. Unofficially, this figure is probably considerably higher. Described fairly accurately as the ‘dumping ground of apartheid’ it was here that thousands of ‘non-white’ households were forced to move as a result of the Group Areas Act. The vice grip of poverty with its associated social ills on Delft is so powerful that the transformation to a safe, robust and thriving community will not be possible without strong, well-resourced, community-based programmes. In 1997, the City of Cape Town, Afrika Tikkun and Department of Water Affairs & Forestry (DWAF) formed a partnership and developed the Nelson Mandela Peace Park in Delft. This was a pilot project aimed at uplifting communities through four avenues, namely: job creation, poverty alleviation, education and recreation. The Centre is the least developed of all Afrika Tikkun centres and hosts the provision of child and youth development, family support and primary health care services. The Centre provides services to approximately 979 beneficiaries across all ages per annum excluding 5362 beneficiaries reached through a service driven contract with the Western Cape Department of Health.