Wola Nani, Xhosa for 'we embrace and develop one another', was established in 1994 as a non-profit organisation to help bring relief to the communities hardest hit by the HIV crisis. It is within the context of South Africa having the largest burden of HIV infection in Sub-Saharan Africa that Wola Nani works towards its vision of seeing the quality of life of persons living with HIV and Aids improved to an extent that they are living positively, with hope.
Formed against a background of economic curtailment on welfare spending and a huge increase in the number of HIV and AIDS cases, Wola Nani initiated programmes to help people living with HIV and AIDS in the local community cope with the emotional and financial strains brought about by HIV and AIDS. Wola Nani is now one of the oldest non-governmental organizations in Cape Town which consistently provides this type of service to women and children.
Wola Nani's services have traditionally been designed for unemployed women infected with HIV, for two main reasons. The first, proven by studies, is that women are most vulnerable to HIV and AIDS due to the range of social, economic, biological, cultural and legal factors. The second, is that women are often, whether by choice or not, the consistent providers for the family in terms of food and care. In the same context, children often suffer the negative effects of poverty, disease and the breakdown in family life. Children who live in poverty are all vulnerable- whether orphaned by HIV and AIDS or not, therefore, children are a focal point of the work of Wola Nani in addressing the psycho social effects of HIV and AIDS.
Wola Nani's service provision has for 17 years centered on counselling, support groups and income generation opportunities for unemployed persons living with HIV and AIDS. Wola Nani's focus on women and their children does not exclude men but has developed in response to where the need for the organisation's services is greatest. However, all persons living with HIV and AIDS regardless of gender, race, age or religious belief are all welcome.