Holistic Support

Over thirty years of the epidemic, the fabric of communities, families and individuals unravelled, as AIDS struck household after household, and stigma, discrimination and suffering abounded. In response, grassroots organizations have, for decades, been helping these communities regroup and rebuild their lives. With the Foundation’s support, community-based organizations have been working to provide education and counseling about HIV prevention; deliver medical care and treatment; distribute food, medication and other necessities; reach into the homes of the sick and vulnerable with home-based care; help children orphaned by AIDS gain access to education and cope with their grief; and support grandmothers, who are overwhelmingly the caregivers for their orphaned children.

The path our partners have been on has been a path towards fostering growth and resilience in people’s lives, and the provision of holistic support is absolutely key to fostering this change. Community-based organizations are not simply delivering discrete packages of services to respond to isolated problems, such as inadequate healthcare, or lack of access to education. Their work is not focused on individual ‘issues’ or ‘sectors’. Instead, community-based organizations are responding to the whole person, and are aiming to restore the long-term well-being and dignity of the people in their communities. This means that emotional and psychological needs are addressed side-by-side with the material needs. It also means that these organizations place great emphasis on fostering connectedness and relationships, between children and caregivers and among community members, and on supporting the development of the local institutions and networks that enable communities to tackle their own challenges. A typical orphan care project supported by the Foundation would not only be concerned with increasing their access to healthcare and education, it would also include interventions designed to strengthen grandmothers’ ability to provide for the children’s emotional and material needs, heal the psychological damage caused by so much mourning and loss, connect the children and their caregivers together in mutual support groups, increase the community’s sense of responsibility for the well-being of the orphans, and help build more responsive local institutions.

A review the Foundation recently conducted of its more than ten years of support helps to unpack what taking a 'holistic approach' looks like. The SLF has tracked the specific outcomes set out in each of the agency agreements for the more than one thousand initiatives that have been supported through community-based organizations. While the scale of SLF funding has certainly increased — in 2003 we were partnering with 12 CBOs, and in 2015 we are partnering with 120 — the comprehensiveness of their interventions has remained a constant.

News

Grandmas get down in Guildford December 7, 2016

Gord Goble, The Now

Grannies are doing it for themselves December 1, 2016

Kathy Michaels, Kelowna Capital News

Upcoming Events

Hands and Hearts for Africa 50s-60s Sock Hop February 25, 2017

Richmond Hill, Ontario

Marjorie Ward Lecture February 28, 2017

Winnipeg, Manitoba