Thembalethu Care Organisation was established by Mrs Patience “Xoli” Msimanga and Mrs Betsy Meyer. Thembalethu was established to respond to effects of HIV/AIDS and poverty by sharing God’s love through holistically caring for sick, support orphaned and vulnerable children and youth, community with information and resources. We are a strong small organisation that has been operating for 13 years in a deep rural area with a population of nearly 50 000 people in KwaZulu Natal Drakensberg Mountains.
Over the years we have increasingly seen the link between gendered power relationship and HIV/AIDS, and being in the traditional community where powers are predominantly with men and with elders, women and youth have little or no say in important aspect of their lives. Gender power relations especially in sexual context are key aggravating factors contributing to the rampant spread of HIV/AIDS, many women and girls are struggling to negotiate terms of sex with their intimate partner and there is high rate of rape and young girl marriages hence we seek to deepen our engagement with the community in these gender violence issues.
The WVL project aims to sensitize the gender imbalance to the community by talking to the traditional leader men (induna and amagosa). We want to open a platform of information and knowledge, also hearing men’s life experiences and challenges in particular in leadership.