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About Soweto Connection

Soweto Connection is an Irish registered charity (CHY16369) that works with partner groups in South Africa to support and help people affected by HIV/AIDS. It was set up in November 2003, and since then it has been raising funds in Ireland that go directly to its South African partners.

Soweto Connection works on five main programmes as follows:

  • Child education
  • Nutrition
  • Aids testing/counselling
  • Child-at-risk accommodation
  • Emergency and enterprise

The programmes are localised by one or more of our partner groups, tailored to the needs of their particular stakeholders.  They  overlap to some extent, and all serve the basic mission of improving the lives of the most vulnerable people living in communities devastated by HIV/Aids and poverty.


In South Africa there are millions of people who are HIV-positive.  Families affected by HIV/AIDS lack money not only for basic medical care, but for food and clothes. They are burdened with the high cost of funerals and medical treatment, and as a result the epidemic pushes households and whole communities deeper and deeper into poverty. There is no social welfare, and many of the households are headed up by children or aged grandparents as the parents have died. People continue to die, and the health sector is unable to cope.

South Africa has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the world, with 5,6 million people living with HIV, and 270,000 HIV related deaths recorded in 2011 according to UNAIDS.)

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is highest among those aged 15-49, with younger adults being particularly affected.

For the vast majority of HIV-infected people in South Africa, poverty is a daily reality. The government-sponsored public health sector is unable to cope with the health needs, as resources are scarce. Medical care, HIV testing and access to HIV medications are all woefully inadequate.

In 2010 the South African Government launched a major HIV counselling and testing campaign (HCT). Since its implementation, the campaign has had some impact on the availability and uptake of HIV testing and treatment.

Throughout the country there are many community groups who are doing exceptionally good work for HIV/AIDS orphans and families badly affected by HIV/AIDS. They work on the ground with little or no overhead, so all the resources they have go straight to help the people who need it. They provide basic nourishment and nutrition to sufferers, medical care and emergency relief with whatever drugs they can afford, information, and broader orphan and family support services.


Soweto Connection was founded by Sheila Killian and John Lannon, two Irish people living in South Africa. Sheila and John met with HIV/AIDS support groups in late 2003, and identified how money could best be channelled into their work.

As with so many ventures, the idea to fundraise in Ireland for South African HIV/AIDS support groups came through personal contacts. The first connections were made through friends and acquaintances in Soweto, a township just outside Johannesburg. It was here that Sheila and John first identified the grave need that existed in the townships and informal settlements of South Africa. This need was relayed across thousands of miles, to Irish friends and acquaintances in social groups and workplaces, thereby helping to turn people's kindness into other people's lifelines.

Soweto Connection continue to deliver much needed financial support to groups and organisations in many parts of South Africa. Please help us to continue this much needed work.

Soweto Connection raises funds in Ireland for South African community-based groups that are working with people affected by HIV/AIDS. The money collected makes urgent treatment available to HIV/AIDS patients, provides home-based care to sufferers, and assists in HIV/AIDS prevention services.

All donations are gratefully accepted, and all money goes directly to helping AIDs victims and their families.