Ms Cwengi Myeni has been selected from hundreds of entries as a finalist in the Health Care-Givers Category of the 2012 Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award. At 69 years of age, Ms Myeni has played an instrumental role in the development of the Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust (HACT).
Poverty and HIV/AIDS are crucial issues facing South Africa and Ms Myeni is at the forefront of the fight against both of these.
Since joining the HACT as a home-based caregiver in 2003, Cwengi has worked hard to develope the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust from a small, limited healthcare service to a thriving department that is providing services to thousands of impoverished people infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS in KwaZulu-Natal.
She has a particular passion for women’s empowerment and, through her work as Nursing Services Manager at Hillcrest AIDS Centre, she started a Grannie Support Group project that now has 1 500 grandmothers from five areas being empowered and taught skills to be agents of change in their families and communities.
Ms Myeni founded the Grannie Support Group project in 2006 in response to the dire need she witnessed in grandmothers who lost their children to AIDS and were caring for one or more grandchildren, many of whom are living with HIV.
The grannies are engaged in income-generated initiatives with skills development including sewing and beading courses, parenting skills training, bereavement counselling skills, and sports. She also pioneered the Gogolympics which took place for the second time in March 2012, and saw over 1 000 Grannies playing soccer, netball and skipping – promoting healthy living and fitness to the community at large.
The grannie project has taken on a life of its own and is a true example of successful development work – with the grannies having taken ownership of their support groups and being active in their communities. The Gogolympics is now internationally known and it is anticipated that the 2013 event will have entrants from oversees – grannies uniting!
As Nursing Services Manager at HACT, Ms Myeni also oversees the 24-bed Respite Unit at the Centre, which accommodates terminally ill patients during the end stages of AIDS.
Also within her portfolio is the out-patients clinic at Hillcrest AIDS Centre, where a team of nurses provides primary health care to people living with HIV/AIDS. The Home-Based Care programme provides home-based care to 460 patients through a team of 20 carers.
The public are invited to vote for the women who they believe to be the most deserving of winning the Award. The winners will be awarded individual prize money, while the group will also give R100 000 towards the work of these winners to impact positively on the future of the country.
Through this Award, the Shoprite Group wants to focus the attention of South Africans on finding solutions for those critical areas affecting the future of the country.
To vote for your Shopright Checkers Woman of the Year, click here