South Africa has more than 5 million people currently living with HIV and has some of the highest rates of HIV prevalence in the world. In KwaZulu Natal province, more than one in four adults is living with HIV. With the lowest life expectancy at birth in South Africa – 42 years old for men and 45 for women – many vulnerable children here grow up without parents and rely heavily on community projects set up by The Red Cross and partly funded by The Wellington Appeal.
On the 14th November 2011, Charlie took off for the plains of South Africa to visit the Integrated HIV and TB programme set up by the Red Cross in KwaZulu Natal. Accompanied by representatives from The Wellington Appeal and his handy Flip Video camcorder, Charlie spent time with Red Cross volunteers on their daily home visits to see how they provide care, treatment and support to clients living with HIV. As well as visiting Income Generation Activities that had been set up by the Red Cross to reduce malnutrition and encourage entrepreneurial farming, Charlie visited a Red Cross Kids Club, where volunteers educate children about HIV and AIDS, provide access to medical care, and counselling sessions to help orphans cope better with the loss of their parents.