Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

The social context of our Care Centre

The social context of our work

Until 40 years ago this area was dense bush. Then a big paper factory was built here and had to employ many workers. These workers were recruited in the surrounding areas and settled in the vicinity of the factory.

According to the former apartheid system, which was still in power in those days, there was a large township, a ghetto for black people and a settlement for white people, a settlement for Indians and a settlement for coloured people.

In this black ghetto the people are housed in partly very poor circumstances, which is a breeding ground of sickness, of course.

But that is not all. There is very severe poverty  in our area.

 The official unemployment rate for the country is 52% of the employable population. This causes people to take desperate measures, just to survive.

 If one does not know how to pay for ones rent, if one does not know what to put on the table to eat,

 if one does not know how to clothe oneself and the children,

 then one might often choose methods and ways out, which they normally would not consider.

This is why, unfortunately, prostitution has become very common here. Young women and girls sell themselves, so that at least they can earn a living and care for their children.

That, of course, is a breeding ground for HIV / AIDS and therefore the disaster is pre-programmed.


One single incident of intercourse with an HIV / AIDS carrier can be a death sentence.

 Therefore it is extremely difficult in our AIDS education to make it clear to people how they should behave. 88% of people tested for AIDS in our area of Sundumbili and Isithebe are HIV-positive.

This is the overwhelming truth. One asks: “Can that be at all possible?” But we see the very sad reality here day by day.

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