Visionary Carol Dyanti (known as Mum Carol to thousands of young Sowetans) was driven to her calling by compassion for the many children orphaned by AIDS. Even though she had a good job as a Hotel Manager, Carol couldn’t sit by and let these children fend for themselves. She rallied her community and anyone who would listen to find supporters who would help her care for children who had effectively become heads of the family after their parents deaths (child headed households). There were so many children that she was forced to set up Ikageng Ministries to care for them all and have an organization people could donate to. Our founder, Leigh Blake first met Carol in 2007 and was the first to provide financial support for Carol and her work.
Carol knew that children living in these households were very vulnerable. How would they fend for their younger siblings when they were just children themselves? She created Ikageng to operate as a community outreach project providing food, education, school uniforms, mental health support, and life skills thereby relieving them of the worry and fear that they they could be separated by the Government. Over the years Ikageng has served thousands of Orphaned and Vulnerable Children 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 grows daily.
On average there are up to six children per household. They have seen first-hand the true devastation of AIDS.
Ikageng is a place for children to feel safe, for women to know their worth, for a young man to understand their role in the community, where a girl can come to talk to someone when feeling vulnerable.
Carol is a legendary figure for us here at Arms Around the Child as well as across Johannesburg. Her own story is that of an apartheid warrior and she is the strongest woman we know. But she needs our support. Kids should be our first and most important focus. They really are the future. And they need to feel loved and protected. Carol provides that.
3.7 million orphans live in South Africa and an estimated 150k are living in child headed households.