Thandanani Stories

Cynthia (name changed) is a 45 year old woman living in the Snathing district.  Despite her obvious frailty the small house is spotless and children can be heard playing happily in the next room.  Cynthia has been caring for her deceased sister’s teenager for about 9 months.  Her older sister took on the bereaved girl after the funeral, but her niece was unhappy staying there and asked Cynthia if she could come and stay with her.  Cynthia is widowed, has 3 children of her own, despite being unemployed, she has made her niece welcome.  Cynthia heard about the Thandanani volunteer working in the area and approached her for advice.  Her main problems were her frail health and her inability to make ends meet financially.  The volunteer found that Cynthia did not know she could access a foster grant for her niece and she had not been tested for HIV or TB. The volunteer had to assist Cynthia to get the full birth certificate from her older sister, who was reluctant to release the document, however after this was facilitated Cynthia was assisted by the Thandanani social worker to apply for a foster grant.  Cynthia has a court date for this to be processed and the social auxiliary worker will accompany her to the hearing.  The Thandanani nurse tested Cynthia  for HIV in her home, she was found to be positive and to have symptoms of TB.  Cynthia is still very thin but she has been taking her TB treatment for several weeks and understands she will be put onto ARV’s during her next visit to the clinic. Cynthia’s house is on a small flat piece of land and the garden volunteers have agreed to develop a vegetable garden with her once the weather warms.


One of TCF’s caregivers was identified with elevated blood glucose levels and poor eyesight during a health assessment and education visit. When referred to hospital her poor sight was determined to be the result of cataracts related to her diabetes. The caregiver was then admitted for the removal of cataract and has since regained her sight and is managing her diabetes. Our observation is that TCF’s home based health services enables us to identify health difficulties which otherwise may have gone unaddressed as a result of a lack of health awareness and knowledge on the part of some caregivers and children who often only visit clinics when their ailments are at an advanced stage