Driven by her experience in a community that shuns children because of their Orphan or HIV status and seeing children suffering, Carol Dyanti (Mum Carol) felt compelled to help the many children that came to her for help. In 2003 Carol set up Ikageng Itireleng, then rallied the community and urged companies and anyone who would listen, for assistance in caring for the orphaned children she had become a mother to.
Currently, Ikageng Itireleng operates as a community outreach project, which over the years has served more than 1700 Orphaned and Vulnerable Children in child headed households throughout Soweto. The number of orphans cared for has increased rapidly since the start of the project and the urgent need for care love and support is growing.
On average there is one child to up six children per household and that older child is forced by circumstances to assume the role of a parent. They have seen first hand the true devastation of AIDS. Ikageng provides mentoring; life skills, and counselling to help children in these households grow into well-developed adults who can contribute to their community. Siblings continue to live together in their homes, creating strong sibling solidarity and promoting the family structure. Through the provision of basic needs such as food, clothing, transportation, water, electricity, school fees, healthcare and transport, AATC helps Ikageng relieve some of the pressure and despair faced by these young children, who, having lost their parents, must take on adult roles way too early in life.
Others have either a terminally ill parent while some survive with their grandparents who are themselves struggling to meet their own needs.
According to current estimates, AIDS has orphaned more than 2.1 million South African children.