FAMSA (Families South Africa) is a non-profit organization that has been operating for the last 14 years and has 9 service extensions throughout the Northern Cape Province with the regional office situated in Upington. The goal of FAMSA is to build and strengthen communities, families, individuals, woman and children.

The fundamental belief that all sustainable change can be effective is the driving Ethos behind FAMSA. Individuals and groups in the communities must take responsibility for the transformation to be sustainable.

Situational Analyses South Africa is a country of relative prosperity, with vast resources and modern infrastructure.  In contrast to this, it is plagued by persistent and wide- spread poverty and deep inequalities – the legacy of apartheid still casting a long shadow on the fairly new democracy, after almost 5 decades of legitimized racial discrimination where the majority of communities were deprived of services and opportunities. Although some progress has been made since 1994, the extent of poverty and the inequality is still overwhelming- the worst affects are seen in communities in rural areas and informal settlements amongst women and children. According to the South African constitution, all people have the right to have access to health and welfare services.  When we evaluate government policies and programs to alleviate the plight of women within the context of the constitution, it is a fact that this ideology is far from met,  specifically with the aim on women and children and more so for them living in remote areas. Only a few women were fortunate enough to receive money from husbands working on the mines and towns.  This has left a legacy of devastating poverty on women of the country today, where the poorest of the poor are still living under extremely trying conditions.  Despite the fact that very few job opportunities are available in these poor and remote areas, women have to take on the role of caregiver, making employment more difficult. Apart from being under huge financial strain, poor women are more at risk of physical abuse proved by alarmingly high statistics in South Africa. In many domestic violence cases in South Africa women and girls are often battered and even killed by their partners/family members. Many of them are suffering physical abuse at the hands of their husbands.  These women are often not economically independent and fear abandonment and therefore do not leave the abusive situation. Victims of assault and rape in South Africa are faced with a police system that is not bringing any hope into their lives.  Apart from limited training, police officers are unable to create a friendly environment for victims to express their domestic suffering and rape ordeals. It has been established that 26% of girls in grade 12 in rural areas leave school because of marriage, teen pregnancy and other family commitments. The so-called  “brain drain”  has an increasingly negative impact on services in this country.  Care givers who remain in this country are experiencing an increase in workloads.  This has an negative impact on the quality as well as the availability of services. HIV : Extent Several studies prove that the highest percentage of HIV infection is found amongst women.  This lead to a growing concern regarding the increasing amount of aids orphans in this country with a growing concern about the increasing amount of child headed households. It is not uncommon to find a girl child dropping out of school to take care of younger brothers and sisters. The culture that forbids girls to speak about abuse at the hands of teachers and elders in rural areas has seen a tremendous growth in teen pregnancy and a resulting increase in drop –out rates.  In rural areas, girls in the poorest of the poor families use child grants as a means of supporting extended families. Teen Pregnancies Teenage pregnancy is a major factor when looking at school drop-out rates amongst girls.  Many girls give birth during their teenage years, girls who are neither economically nor emotionally ready to deal with parental responsibilities. RAPE– In many cases, young rape victims are left with unwanted pregnancies.  As long as the rape statistics remain as high as they are and as long as the myths like, sleeping with a virgin will cure the HIV/AIDS persist, the number of young rape victims will continue to increase.  The failure to help young girls deal with their sexuality, leads to a high incidence of pregnancies, abortions, STD’s, HIV/AIDS, as well as high maternal and infant mortality. Abortion Before abortion was legalized in South Africa many women died as a direct result of illegal abortion complications.  Since it was legalized in 1996, the abortion related deaths among South African women dropped by 90%.  Problem is that legalized services is more readily available in previously advantaged areas, leaving women in remote areas extremely vulnerable. Fetal alcohol syndrome FAS is caused by maternal alcohol abuse during pregnancy.  It is one of the leading causes of preventable birth defects and developmental disabilities.   It is a well-known fact that the Northern Cape Province presents amongst the highest amount of FAS cases in the World. Conclusion Famsa developed a PROGRAM OF HOPE. 

The HOPE PROGRAM is a holistic multi-disciplinary community upgrade project seeks to improve the quality of life of rural women, children and families by positively impacting on their lives.  By this program we become an integral part of the community, recognized by the community in which we operate as a dependable and caring organization.


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