The Keiskamma Trust is a community organisation, centred in Hamburg, a rural area in the Eastern Cape, which works to foster hope and offer support for the most vulnerable. The Trust strives to address the challenges of widespread poverty and disease through holistic and creative programmes and partnerships.
The Keiskamma Trust began as the Keiskamma Art Project, created by doctor and artist, Carol Hofmeyr, in response to the extreme poverty and high percentage of HIV/AIDS affected families in the area. The Keiskamma Art Project later became the Keiskamma Trust inclusive of an Art, Health and Education Programme. In 2006 Helen Vosloo, one of the country’s foremost classical musicians, founded the Keiskamma Music Academy as the fourth Trust programme.
The Art Project
This project began with a handful of women collecting plastic bags that littered the village and crocheting them into hats and bags. From those humble beginnings, the Art Project has grown to become the place where Art and Health interject to create meaning and hope to a population struggling from decades of abuse and poverty. The Art Project represents the work of the Trust on the world-stage through its monumental artworks, as in Toronto for the 2006 International AIDS conference and in Durban for the Make Art / Stop AIDS exhibition co-curated by David Gere and Carol Brown. The Art Project now has five Art Studios specialising in beading, felt-making, embroideries, ceramics and printmaking.
The Health Programme
This programme consists of the Keiskamma health team, which includes a passionate group of community health workers who provide healthcare in 47 remote villages of the Eastern Cape. The programme aims to address the social determinants of disease through its comprehensive healthcare programme with a strong focus on primary healthcare and reducing the burden of preventable diseases. The programme is a health systems strengthening initiative and activities are delivered through partnerships with the local government clinics, and a highly active team of community health workers who provide education, treatment support and health promotion services to patients in their homes. Regular community awareness campaigns addressing priority areas identified by the community are held.
The Education Programme
This programme has three projects. The orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) project reaches out to over 530 children each day in several villages, offering after-school care and remedial education to the most vulnerable, as well as daily meals. The Intlantsi Creative Development Programme implemented through the three OVC centres, brings the arts and education work the Trust does together in an effort to encourage children to develop their individual abilities and self-esteem. Young unemployed volunteers are being trained as facilitators of therapeutic arts activities (dance / movement, visual art, music, drama, creative writing and puppetry) while building these activities into the centres existing programmes for the children. The Vulindlela Centre provides information technology training, career guidance, connection with further education, training and employment opportunities, academic support and numerous life-skills clubs and activities for high school learners, dropouts and recent school leavers.
The Music Academy
This academy encourages children to be dedicated and committed students, working in teams and as individuals to develop their musical skills and knowledge. The Music Academy teaches 61 committed students aged between 8 and 17, who attend several lessons weekly, sit examinations and perform concerts nationally. Learning to play an instrument has been found to have real cognitive benefits, aside from the actual performances leading to a wider worldview. The Music students have earned high levels of achievement and have garnered acclaim across the country for their unique sound and style.
To view Keiskamma Trust in the Prodder NGO Directory, click here.