Ndawana, South Africa

Edzimkulu’s work began in Ndawana, a remote rural village in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Population was estimated to be 3,900.  In early 2004 we wrote the following about the village where much of our time was concentrated in the early and middle years of our more than ten years volunteering in South Africa.

Ndawana was seen to be:

  • A community devastated by HIV/AIDS, struggling with widespread poverty and 80% unemployment,
  • No electricity, residential running water or telephone service
  • Virtually no healthcare except for a mobile clinic that came at most once a month
  • Inaccessible social services due to cost of transportation and, for many, lack of vital documents (e.g. IDs, analogous to Social Insurance Number, birth certificates, death certificates, etc.)
  • Estimated HIV prevalence of 50%
  • Estimated 200-300 HIV/AIDS orphans with some child-headed households
  • Extreme stigma of HIV/AIDS
  • Inaccessible HIV treatment because of cost of transportation
  • From 4 to 8 deaths each week, most often due to HIV/AIDS
  • A very low standard of education with a near 0% pass rate of the governmental exams in some years
  • Poor school attendance due to cost of fees and uniforms

Please see the Three Year Plan under News on this site for many outcomes in healthcare as a result of the work and presence of Edzimkulu.  In addition to those mentioned in the Plan, because we built a four building community centre which included a clinic, all of which burned in 2009 and which we re-built with five larger and better buildings, because all work was done by community members, because we worked to obtain government grants for orphans and others, because we worked with regional leaders and the Departments of Health, Education and Social Development, and because all of these efforts brought attention to Ndawana, most of the issues noted above no longer exist.

  • Stigma of HIV is virtually nonexistent
  • Electricity and telephone service are now in the village
  • There is a fully functioning government-run clinic
  • Pass rates on the national exams are comparable to national statistics
  • Ndawana is cited as a leader in many areas and people come to observe what Ndawana has become
  • Edzimkulu has been recognized nationally for its work