South Africa is sitting on an AIDS orphan time bomb that could unleash a tidal wave of crime and civil unrest. The burgeoning orphan population, which will grow up under extreme levels of poverty, will be sorely tempted - or even obliged for its physical survival - to turn to crime, drugs, gangs, and the sex trade.
— South African Institute for Strategic Studies

There are an estimated 3.7 million orphans in South Africa, about half of whom have lost one or both parents to AIDS.  The average adult HIV infection rate is almost 20%; in poorer regions, the rate is nearly 50%. It is estimated that, by 2015, South Africa will have 5.7 million children – a third of all children in the country – who have lost one or both parents (MRC, 2007).

Additionally, the country has inherited a legacy of violence, extreme inequality and social dislocation from the former Apartheid regime. This has created high levels of domestic violence, substance abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. The South African Police Services reports that 50,000 children are victims of crime every year, with sexual offenses constituting about 40% of these cases. Research reveals that the vast majority of such cases happen in families (UNICEF, 2010).  On top of all this, in the township of Khayelitsha where we work, the unemployment rate is roughly 40%, with 55% of the population living in informal shack housing (2011 Census Report).

Close to 50% of the South African population live in rural areas. The Eastern Cape has a substantial rural component and a high HIV prevalence rate. Communities living in rural areas are the most neglected in respect of resource allocation to tackle HIV / AIDS. The informal settlement of Langbos represents the poorest of the poor among rural communities in the Eastern Cape and greater South Africa. The informal settlement has been neglected by the government and does not have access to basic amenities such as electricity, running water, or paved roads. HIV rates are estimated to be upward of 50% and potentially as high as 70%. 

We believe that the best way to help these communities is by empowering local, community-driven initiatives.  In doing so, we hope to connect these local efforts to a global community, and together create a better future for South Africa.

We recognize that, in addition to our separate responsibilities to our individual societies, we have a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality, and equity at the global level. As leaders we have a duty therefore to all the world’s people, especially the most vulnerable and, in particular, the children of the world, to whom the future belongs.
— United Nations Millennium Declaration