Friday, May 06, 2016
If you are considering making a donation or pledging a sponsorship, the following information may help you to make a decision -
PLWC possible projects for funding or donations
An NGO called 'People Living with Cancer' (website link www.plwc.org.za) is an umbrella organisation that facilitates volunteer service groups to offer a variety of support and care services to cancer patients. The nice thing about this is that you can look at the projects and decide to dedicate your donation to a particular project or activity. If you look on the PLWC website you will find a list of their projects and as you can see they focus on a wide range of education and support for all cancer patients but also on specific focus groups such as male cancers (which is a very neglected area in SA).
What I really like about this NGO is that it is very low cost because it is largely volunteer driven, and yet has a significant grassroots impact in many different ways over many parts of the country.
CANCERBUDDIES: This is a volunteer service whereby 'well' cancer patients are appropriately paired or 'Buddied' with other cancer patients (or family members of cancer patients). These 'Buddies' support and assist patients (and their families) who are busy navigating the cancer experience.
Buddies are trained in basic counselling and problem solving skills to help those who are going through the cancer experience. The Buddy system is supported and managed by 2 clinical social workers. One social worker is a volunteer and the other is paid a stipend for her services. This is a very low cost service with a very high grassroots impact and gives cancer patients access to free support where they would otherwise have little access to assistance. Funding that is received is used to help facilitate the training of Buddies, assistance with the basic costs of Buddying e.g. cost of public transport to accompany cancer patients to clinics or treatment hospitals or assistance with items needed for basic care.
CANCER HELP LINE: This is a national services that is offered for any person in the country when they run into problems and need help to sort out where cancer care is of a poor quality. The help line is manned by volunteers who can do a variety of things such as providing information, giving advice about early detection, following-up problems on behalf of cancer patients or their families to try to advocate for the correction of poor services, or sorting out referral delays and problems of poor service delivery. This is a very valuable and 100% free service because the cancer patients who appeal for help are extremely vulnerable, often feel powerless when they have problems with the medical system and are desperate for support, decent information and good care.
PHOTOADVOCACY RESEARCH PROJECT:
This project is essentially about creating collections of photostories from cancer patients and their families (and some medical professionals) all over the country and then using this 'firsthand feedback' to lobby to government, hospitals, health care professionals etc. for the dramatic improvement of cancer services. Again this is a very low cost project where the generous contributions of many volunteers has allowed an amazing database of photostories to be assembled. These photostories can be applied for by any agency wanting to lobby for improvements in cancer care and is meant as a resource for effective cancer advocacy in SA. These findings have exposed the grassroots reality of cancer care in our country and while many services are positive, others are very problematic. Through this study specific issues have been exposed such as human rights violations against children in some hospitals as well as devastating problems with access to care and lack of services in various parts of the country.
Any funding that comes into this project is used to make the findings of the research widely known, published and available as a public resource. Funding is also used to provide direct information to cancer patients to empower them to navigate the treatment process, to advocate against poor treatment practices, to expose human rights violations in the medical setting, to oppose poor services and to speak out against cancer stigma (see educational video on cancer stigma that was produced from this research… ).