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Tsholofelo Community Empowerment Evaluation Work
Tsholofelo Community in South
Africa.The community is guided by
Bishop Kevin Dowling, Brother Joe, and Sister Georgina. The front of their building is posted above and to the left of this discussion.
Bishop Kevin Dowling, Dr. Ray Basson, and Sister Georgina on the Left
Brother Joe on the Right - Our Evening Chat about Politics
(Dr. Fetterman is taking the picture)
They are members of St. Joseph’s
Mission, part of the Diocese of Rustenburg.St. John Baptist de La Salle founded the Institute
of the Brothers, also called the Christian Brothers. They
are engaged in educational, health, and employment outreach activities in
squatter settlements primarily outside of Johannesburg. Professor Ray Basson, formerly from the
University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, has been facilitating their
One part of their work is focused
in Freedom Park, in the heart of a squatter settlement.
Typical Home in a Squatter Settlement
Scope of Situation: 20,000 Homes in this Community Alone
Outside of Community Member's Home
Inside of Community Member's Home
(new born baby inside - life goes on)
They have helped to introduce a crèche
or pre-school, a primary school, a primary health care clinic, and an HIV/AIDS outreach
program, as well as other community support
services. This work is, in part,
supported by Impala Platinum (a platinum mining company in South Africa).
Freedom Park Sign
the past seven years, Bishop Kevin Dowling has developed his initial makeshift
clinic into a program that provides comprehensive treatment and counseling to
hundreds of people a year. "He is the aids bishop," says Father James
Keenan, a professor of theological ethics at Boston College, Massachusetts.
Bishop Dowling on Left
The clinics are effective in part because they rely on State licensed Traditional Healers in the community. They are culturally credible health
care providers in the community and represent a pipeline for the community
clinic. In addition they are
responsive to the highly sensitive nature of an AIDS diagnosis in squatter
settlements, which can result in isolation, ostracism, ridicule, and physical
Traditional Healer with Certificate from the State
Margret Btlhaping is one of the liaisons between the local health care providers and the clinics.
Margret (clinic liaison), Anna Mawelena (Traditional Healer),
Tapologo means "place of rest and peace". They provide systematic anti-retrovial therapy for HIV
It is a place where “terminally ill patients can be
brought to die in peace and dignity and others can be healed of
Stuffed animal tree is in the background to remember each child
as they pass through the hospice as their final destination.
One of the Wards (beautiful mosaic floors)
Their work has also
been recognized for it holistic approach, reaching out to families as well as patients. They also address the growing number of
orphans resulting from the AIDS epidemic.
Much of this work is funded by the US President’s emergency
plan for AIDS relief - PEPFAR.
Bishop Kevin was the first
African bishop to call on the church to reconsider its ban on condom use. He
believes condoms are a useful tool to protect millions of people against aids. This position, although radical by Roman
Catholic Church standards, is not completely unexpected, as the Lasalle Church promotes
independent distance from church authority.” In addition their theological position concerning the clergy contrasts with more traditional views. They are composed solely of lay brothers. Their philosophy
toward clergy is summarized as: “Where every member is a minister.”
Their empowerment evaluation emphasizes,
as Brother Joe says: “listening,
listening, and then listening again.
It may take years.” They
are focused on identifying what the community thinks is important and working
with them to assess and address those needs. (Contact Professor Ray Basson for more details.)