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Game for the World in Alberton, South Africa

February 16, 2013

Alan and I drove to the city of Alberton, a short drive south of Johannesburg to meet Dr. Vernon Van Wyk, HIV/AIDS Coordinator for the Highveld and Swaziland District of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.  It’s a diverse district, rich in perspectives and approaches. Education is high on its agenda, with 47 schools, mostly in Swaziland. AMCARE is one of its flagship programs. There are four other registered HIV/AIDS projects in the District.

We met Vernon and his staff on the AMCARE premises. AMCARE was established by the Alberton Methodist Church as a community outreach program, with 8 social workers and 30 home-based care-givers.   AMCARE feeds approximately 3,000 people a week.  It feeds and nurses over 350 HIV & AIDS patients, and cares for some 350 orphans and child-headed families.  The HIV Voluntary Counseling, Testing and Wellness Clinic has 2 registered nurses and 3 full-time counselors and locum doctors. Twice a week, AMCARE supplies about 400 litres of soup and 800 loaves of bread to 5 clinics and 240 children at 2 schools. Facilities also include a fully equipped training center, which accommodates up to 60 people and 3 large vegetable gardens to provide patients with fresh vegetables in food parcels. AMCARE also has a Victim Empowerment Shelter in Alberton which houses up to 20 abused women and children, and provides social work and early childhood development services.

We had the privilege of meeting and playing Game for the World with four of AMCARE’s Social Work staff, who said that they could see the Game being used by their Victim Empowerment program, their adult support groups, youth, care- givers and staff.

Vernon is also the Warden of the Methodist Order of Deacons and oversees the training of deacons throughout the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. He says that deacons are service-oriented and build bridges between churches and communities. Vernon plans to use the Game in a week-long training program for deacons in April.

Vernon and his staff are shown below, along with AMCARE’s facilities.

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