The needs in Umvoti

A reliance on traditional agricultural methods limits families ability to grow enough nutritious food for their children. More than one-third of children in Umvoti suffer from chronic malnutrition. For many families, there is only enough food for one meal per day.

Crop yields are limited by poor storage facilities, a lack of access to agricultural tools, and prolonged drought. The area also experiences environmental degradation, caused by fires and harmful sprays, garbage dumping, and the spread of non-indigenous plants.

The estimated HIV prevalence rate in Umvoti is as high as 40%, which is more than double South Africa's national rate. It is estimated that 42% of Umvoti's children have been orphaned, and that number is expected to rise.

There are community and faith-based organizations dedicated to helping people whose lives have been affected by HIV, but most of these organizations have too few resources to care for the large numbers of orphaned children. Many of these children are forced to fend for themselves, but they lack the practical skills they need to do so and have limited access to income-generating activities that would improve their living conditions.

Water and Sanitation
The main water source for drinking, bathing, and cooking is a river that people must share with livestock. In winter, there is even less water for the community because there is no rain, and so the river dries up. Women and girls are responsible for collecting water, and they must wake up very early and walk long distances to do so. Being out on their own, often in the dark, makes them vulnerable to sexual predators.

Economic Development
There are limited opportunities for sustainable employment in Umvoti. Poor literacy and a lack of education among the population have limited the opportunities available. The unemployment rate is very high. Of the nearly 25,000 people of working age, fewer than 15,000 have jobs.
Read More

Umvoti's Community News

Thanks to the generous support of donors, we’re making great progress toward the well-being of children and their families. These are a few of the areas we focused on in the past year: 

The rural Umvoti (pronounced Oom-vote-ee) community is quite remote, with a population of about 120,000. Umvoti's landscape is breathtakingly beautiful, ranging from massive sandstone cliffs and valleys, to deep gorges carved out by the Umvoti River. The climate is arid, but some roads are impassable and dangerous in the rainy season. Most people live in traditional thatched dwellings.

Many families rely on subsistence agriculture, cultivating beans from January to March and then maize each September. Unfortunately, food production is low and employment opportunities are scarce. Chronic poverty makes daily life in Umvoti very challenging, and social problems include child abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, and high rates of crime. The lack of jobs means many men are forced to leave to find work in urban centres.
  • 120 individuals learned about child rights and protection issues to help ensure children's safety and participation
  • 21 young people are leading or attending child parliaments to advocate for their rights and influence local decisions
  • 1 child parliament is empowering young people to advocate for their rights and participate in community decisions
  • 8 survivors of violence received support to help them cope with the trauma and recover
  • 4 spiritual leaders partnered with World Vision Canada to bring positive changes in the lives of children and families
  • 60 children received the resources they need to learn including school fees, supplies, books and uniforms
  • 131 children and youth were trained in essential life skills such as critical thinking, self-esteem and communication
  • 44 parents and caregivers learned about the importance of education and how to support their child’s learning
  • 27 teachers and volunteers learned child-friendly teaching methods to improve the quality of education for children
  • 2 schools were renovated or furnished with educational materials to provide a better learning environment for students
  • 60 people received daily essentials like shelter, cooking sets and hygiene kits, protecting families during emergencies
  • 144 individuals including children have safe water for drinking and cooking thanks to new or repaired water sources
  • 12 water sources are providing access to safe water and protecting children and families against waterborne diseases
  • 200 children and adults learned about the importance of water safety, proper sanitation and hygiene to stay healthy

Explore Umvoti

current conditions

To protect the privacy of children, this map shows only the general area of the community, not the exact location.

Life cycle of a sponsorship community

Umvoti, South Africa is in Phase 2

PHASE 2: Evaluate and grow

We monitor progress and make adjustments to meet goals. More community members become involved, lead projects and gain ownership of their success.