The Peterrose Park in Parktown was transformed into a hub of creativity for some children from the inner city to commemorate World Aids Day.
Lefika La Phodiso, a non-governmental organisation, along with volunteers, joined forces to create a day of HIV/Aids awareness for the children using art therapy.
“We wanted to do something public to honour the day. We decided to take the children to a place that is not safe for them to go to alone, and create a place that is safe by having volunteers and adults there and create a place of creativity of art,” said Hayley Berman founder of Lefika La Phodiso.
Lefika La Phodiso is the Setswana word for ‘the rock of holding’, and it is Africa’s first psychoanalytically informed community art counselling training centre. They are based at the Children’s Memorial Institute in Johannesburg and started in 1994 with the main objective of supporting and training community members to offer art psychotherapy/community art counselling in under-resourced areas.
Recognising the universal need and nature of psychosocial health, they have grown from their initial centre based in Gauteng and now reach inter-provincial communities across South Africa and abroad.
“It is really nice to do art in a different place and give the children their own space today. The children can use their space to remember or talk about the people they know who have been affected by Aids,” explained Jordan Salzman training co-ordinator at Lefika La Phodiso.
Each of the children painted a brick-shaped board with the Aids ribbon on it that will be used later to be put up on a wall in the Lefika La Phodiso building.
Director Luke Lampercht added that the commemoration was held in line with the 16 days of Activism. “What we do for the children is free of charge, we feed them, promote life skills and promote physicality every afternoon at our building in Parktown.”
He explained that the children who come to them all come of their own free will.