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The Raphael Centre


The Raphael Centre is an AIDS centre in Grahamstown, in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The rate of HIV infection in the area is extremely high, and many people are dying of AIDS.

The Centre is a community initiative, providing care and support to people with AIDS, supporting and developing community action, and fighting the stigma and discrimination surrounding the disease. It was started by local volunteers in 1999, and is based in a house in the centre of Grahamstown.

Raphael provides a number of services for an increasing number of people with AIDS who visit the Centre on a daily basis. The services provided include daily meals for clients, individual counselling and support from a lay counsellor, childcare, life skills education including personal hygiene and nutrition, basic medicines, education and access to drugs and formula milk for pregnant women, to prevent their child from becoming infected.

Support Services

The Raphael Centre was founded in 1999 as a community-based organisation. Initially the Centre provided only support services for a small number of people living with HIV/AIDS. Since February 2002, it has run the first free HIV Testing and Counselling (VCT) service in Grahamstown, and has refocused its services around the provision of VCT. Anyone concerned to know their HIV status can visit the Raphael Centre where a nurse qualified to administer testing is available. Alongside testing, the Centre also runs an education and support programme to help those who have AIDS. Nutrition, Home-Based Care, Food Gardening and Sexual Hygeine are included in the programme, as are courses on HIV coping skills.

The Raphael Centre is at 11 Donkin St, Grahamstown. It is a rambling building set in tranquill grounds, with meeting areas, food serving area, garden space with vegetable patches and a playground build by student volunteers.

Soweto Connection has been providing funding to the Raphael Centre since early in 2004.

See some photographs from the Raphael Centre work in 2012.

Soweto Connection raises funds in Ireland for South African community-based groups that are working with people affected by HIV/AIDS. The money collected makes urgent treatment available to HIV/AIDS patients, provides home-based care to sufferers, and assists in HIV/AIDS prevention services.

All donations are gratefully accepted, and all money goes directly to helping AIDs victims and their families.