The plight of orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) in remote villages, throughout South Africa, and particularly in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), is appalling.

Child headed households are surviving without adequate shelter and food. In Ndumo, based in Northern KwaZulu Natal Province ERP continues to support over 400 orphans and vulnerable children, through the provision of e’Pap (a highly nutritional porridge). We feed these orphans, who would otherwise go throughout the day without having a decent meal.

With the effects of the pandemic still being felt in most of South Africa’s communities, especially in deep rural areas, there is an urgent need for the provision of e’Pap amongst the Ndumo orphans.

Utilizing the P.E.A.C.E. methodology, ERP’s poverty alleviation arm has supported the Ndumo Schools Orphan Project for over a decade. This has been mainly through the provision of e’Pap, a fortified and highly nutritional food known to address hidden hunger as it contains over 24 nutrients that are easily absorbed by the human body. Without this support over the years, many orphans would have been left without food. With the impacts of the pandemic already affecting the most vulnerable in South Africa, there now is a real threat that these orphans may suffer from hunger in the very near future.

Thanks to ongoing generous donations from EPI-USE (America) we have been able to fund the more than 400 OVCs who do not have access to welfare grants and are totally dependent on donations for access to food. The Ndumo Orphans committee, headed by Mr. Don Mthembu (retired school Principal), and Mr. Bheki Mthembu (school principal) manages and supports these children with the assistance of field workers and caregivers. These children continue to be provided with an ongoing supply of e’Pap (food and nutritional supplement) as well as support from the caregivers who provide the care that they so desperately need.

The photo below is of Nokwanda Forgiveness Hlophe She is 12 years old of age and doing grade 5 at St Philips H P School. She was identified as the most vulnerable child when she was being fitted with her uniform at Pep Stores. One of the staff members noticed that her underwear was old and badly tattered. This was pointed out to Mr. Donald Khumalo and Mr. Don Mthembu from the Ndumo Orphans Committee and they realized that she needed more help than the others. They decided that two sets of uniform and two sets of underwear would be provided. It was clear that this child did not feel free to play with other kids at school knowing that her clothing was in such poor condition. The family of Nokwanda was visited and they were very happy that their child now had two sets of new school uniforms. The family have 5 children and they are all at school. The fifth boy was adopted since he had no place to stay as both of his parents had died. They are not related to this boy but in spite of their personal struggles they felt that they should help him. The boy is doing grade eleven in Ndumu High School.

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