Estimated duration
1 year
Estimated total value
Ubuntu Education Fund; Ntombizethu Ngceza

Support Group for Orphaned Girls


As my commitment, I will meet with 10 orphaned girls who are younger than me, creating a safe space for them to share their experiences, and helping them cope with the challenges that they face. The support group will meet with one of the Ubuntu Education Fund’s counselors after each support group meeting.


After losing both her father and mother to HIV/AIDS related diseases in 2004 and 2005 respectively, Zethu became the primary care provider for her two younger siblings, Andisiwe and Lungiswa. Zethu and her family spent 2005 bouncing around between family members and finally settled in a Kwandokwenza Hostel in Kwazakhele. The hostel, known for its lack of security, and high rape and sexual abuse rates provides a tenuous living situation for Zethu and her family. Fortunately, Zethu’s hardships and those of many others are being addressed through the Ubuntu Education Fund, a Port Elizabeth-based, South African organization that administers a range of services.
Zethu starting receiving support services from the Ubuntu Education Fund after her parents died in 2004 and 2005. In 2006, Ubuntu was able to develop an intensive OVC case management program as the result of Vincent Mai’s CGI commitment, and expand the services Zethu was receiving. Mr. Mai’s commitment allowed Ubuntu to develop BJ Myanda Primary School into a ‘node of Support’ school. They placed a full time OVC specialist in the school and created a position for a full time OVC case manager, Fezeka Mzalazala. Since the launch of this program in September, Ubuntu has provided assistance to Zethu’s family, helping them to greatly improve their situation. The case management program includes grief counseling, HIV risk reduction counseling, subsidized education, school materials, a monthly food parcel, and enrollment in camps and school tutoring.
Zethu was not only a recipient of Ubuntu’s services, but she also contributed to the organization’s programs as a primary school ‘camp leader’. Her role as an Ubuntu representative brought her to the CGI Mid-Year Meeting in April 2007. Inspired by Vincent Mai’s commitment to Ubuntu Eduaction Fund and in gratitude of the support she received, Zethu decided to make a CGI commitment to extend her own support to younger orphaned girls.
In addition to the trauma of losing loved ones orphans are often faced with stigmatization, isolation and increased vulnerability. This has a negative impact on their development as children and affects their ability to survive as adults. Zethu’s commitment to guide orphans through this difficult time provides them with the strength they need to empower themselves and others in similar situations. Zethu meets with the girls once per week and also meets with Ubuntu Education counselors providing them with insight and information needed to better support the girls.

Progress Update

April 2009
– Since the last Annual Report to CGI in July 2008, Ubuntu has continued to facilitate weekly support groups for children affected by HIV/AIDS, which offer safe spaces for orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) and their families to connect with each other, share their experiences and receive emotional, psychosocial and nutritional support.
– Zethu Ngceza has been running a bi-weekly peer support group for seven girls and three boys at her High School for the last few years. Facilitated by an Ubuntu Care Worker, this support group enabled Zethu and 10 vulnerable children to discuss topics such as abuse and rape, HIV/AIDS, dealing with the loss of loved ones, coping with the responsibilities of raising younger siblings, while attempting to complete schooling, overcoming HIV-related stigma, living positively and staying healthy. This support group has been crucial to Zethu’s development – she has thrived in this mentoring and supportive role and gained valuable leadership skills, which have prepared her well to study Media and Communications at Rhodes University on a full Ubuntu scholarship. This is an enormous achievement for a girl faced with such difficult challenges in her life. All support group members have graduated, and those still enrolled in school have been integrated into our other existing support groups.
Ubuntu’ Support Group Milestones Reached: July 2008 – March 2009
– Eight orphaned and/or vulnerable girls and three vulnerable boys, provided with ongoing emotional and psychosocial support, an empowering social network and a nutritious meal.
– Zethu empowered with social responsibility, which has helped her to prepare for university.
– 10 children graduated from the group.
– Zethu placed at Rhodes University.
– A total of six support groups held throughout the year for 60 children and individuals.
June 2007
– Seven girls have been attending Zethu’s support group consistently, and they’ve met six times now. Two of them were already in Ubuntu’s case management program, but the others hadn’t yet been included in the Ubuntu programs, other than the lifeskills classes offered through the school. Ubuntu’s lifeskills facilitator joins the group and is present to help counsel after the meetings.
– Ubuntu’s case managers have observed a growing activist consciousness in Zethu. Caseworkers report that she’s beginning to understand her power as a leader and as an example to the girls she is helping. She is growing less shy about her own circumstance and the ways that South Africa can begin to combat stigma against children orphaned by AIDS.

Partnership Opportunities

SEEKING: financial resources, media and marketing assistance. N/A
OFFERING: best practices information. N/A

NOTE: This Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action is made, implemented, and tracked by the partners listed. CGI is a program dedicated forging new partnerships, providing technical support, and elevating compelling models with potential to scale. CGI does not directly fund or implement these projects.