Isibindi, South Africa

Focus 4: Protection and support for child-headed households

An example of work with child-headed households is part of the overall Isibindi programme. Isibindi was launched by the National Association of Childcare Workers and is a recruitment and training programme of child and youth care workers using innovative distance learning techniques. Care workers visit identified orphans and vulnerable children in their homes and provide comprehensive services. They work with some of South Africa’s most vulnerable children, including those affected by HIV/AIDS where children are orphaned and live in child-headed households. Liyema Ikhaya , an adolescent development programme for child-headed households, was launched in February 2010, with 25 young people attending weekly life skills training courses designed to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to care for their siblings and for themselves, and to make responsible life choices.

A range of services are provided including advocacy work, accompanying and representing children at schools, health services and government offices, psychological support through memory box activities, grief work, building of relationships, identifying needs and feelings, providing developmental care, behaviour management, activity programming, risk assessment and life space counselling, material assistance to access government grants and provide food parcels, ensuring that children attend school (and receive the material and educational support to continue attending and succeeding in the classroom); drawing up a developmental plan for each family (based on the values of independence, mastery, belonging and generosity); and offering life skills training (covering areas such as health, hygiene, children’s rights, budgeting and nutrition).

Isibindi is financed using a ‘social franchising’ model, which enables its replication both within South Africa and elsewhere without major resource implications.

For more information visit:

International Social Service, Oak Foundation, SOS Children's Villages International, unicef, ATD Fourth World, Better Care Network, Family for every child, ngo group for the crc, PEPFAR, RELAF, Save the Children, USAID