The Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust
The Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust (HACT) was opened in 1991 in response to the AIDS pandemic in South Africa. Initially, the focus of the Centre was mainly on education and counselling for people infected and families affected by the disease as well as talks in schools and businesses.
In 1999 the Centre was restructured as a Trust with eleven trustees, who are professionals from religious, medical, financial and legal fraternities. In the last few years, our focus on care has increased rapidly in a response to the needs of the pandemic, which is now full blown.
Most significantly is the growth in both the home-based care project and the income generation project, which we see as the most fundamental part of care. The income-generating project includes activities such as sales of second hand clothing, making energy saving fuel-efficient stoves and handcraft. The craft project incorporates beadwork, papermaking, ceramics, wirework, sewing, crochet and fabric painting.
This scheme is for those affected by the epidemic, including the volunteer caregivers, people who are infected and unemployed and caregivers of children. In addition HACT provides feeding schemes for families in need, runs a home-based care for people who are ill at home, holds educational AIDS prevention workshops to various groups such as schools, businesses, church groups and factory workers, and assists with school fees, uniform, stationery costs for children in their care.
In 2003, HACT started a horticulture project to produce food gardens to combat malnutrition and also to produce marketable plants as part of our income generation project. Families affected by HIV/AIDS are now producing fresh produce for household consumption and also earning a living from it. HACT has also started four food gardens in schools, teaching children how to produce food. The vegetables go into a daily meal. For many children this is the only meal they get.