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Regional FAS initiative

IN JANUARY 2015, Les Osler, the HCET project co-ordinator, gave a presentation on the HCET’s Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) programme to a major FASD meeting in Kimberley. She was accompanied by Estelle Jacobs, the HCET’s project manager, who is playing a leading role in FASD initiatives in the region.

The meeting was hosted by Hope in South Africa (HISA), a US-South Africa youth development initiative operating in Richmond, Colesberg and De Aar. It was attended by more than 100 people, including representatives of the departments of Health, Social Welfare and Education, as well as representatives of NGOs and youth groups active in the region.

A FASD awareness programme for girls was launched at the meeting. Developed by Grassroots Soccer, it operates via a netball programme. The programme will be piloted in the Northern Cape, but the planners intend to roll it out in the rest of South Africa as well as internationally. The Trust’s school, Umthombo Wolwazi, is one of the schools selected for the pilot programme.

Programme funds have been raised by the Rotary Clubs of Bloemfontein, Colesberg and Kimberley, in conjunction with Rotary Clubs in Maryland in the US. Through a Rotary International Matching Grant, programme funding has been increased to $2 million.

Hope in South Africa (HISA) is a US-South African partnership aimed at helping young people in the Karoo to become healthy, productive and responsible adults capable of playing leading roles in their various communities.

HISA began in 2005 when the St Peter’s Episcopal Church in Poolesville, Maryland, formed a developmental partnership with local organisations in the town of Richmond in the Karoo. Since then the partnership has expanded to include various churches in the US and South Africa, Rotary International, Rotary Clubs in the US and South Africa, and various local organisations. Its activities have expanded to neighbouring communities, including the towns of Colesberg and De Aar.

Hope in South Africa