In 1986, the architect Robert Grace died of AIDS and in 1987 the Robert Grace Trust was set up by his friends in his memory to provide immediate practical help to people with HIV/AIDS and their carers. Run by volunteers, the Robert Grace Trust has since then provided £700K via the RGT Hardship Fund, to those they wish to help.
Channelled initially through the HIV/AIDS counsellors at London’s Middlesex and Royal Free Hospitals, were extended in 2000 to two South African carer organisations - Nkosi’s Haven and Community Action - in Johannesburg, and in 2004 to St Paul's Children’s Rescue Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.
Nkosi’s Haven and Nkosi's Haven Vukani
Started by Gail Johnson to keep together families like that of Nkosi Johnson and his birth mother, the two Nkosi’s Havens are the home of 50 AIDS orphans and HIV positive mothers and their children, where they live, attending nursery and school and working and looking after their lives in a safe family environment.
The Trust’s giving focuses on children’s school fees and uniforms, utility and rates bills and monthly grocery expenses, all fundamental daily issues for this large family of ever-increasing size, against a background of minimal statutory support.
Nkosi's Haven Vukani - with the Soweto Gospel Choir - provides outreach support via registered organisations, caring for vulnerable and/or orphaned children with AIDS.
Community Action trains local teams to care holistically for people with HIV/AIDS, in hospital and at home. The teams encourage family awareness and activity within their own communities as a means to counteract the sense of stigma, shame and disgrace which inadvertently contribute to the continuing spread of the AIDS pandemic.
The RGT Hardship Fund currently supports the 5 person Street Committee team in Alexandra, providing monthly stipends and small one - off grants to meet their clients’ needs in their daily experience of living with HIV/AIDS, with rent payments, funeral expenses, travel costs, food parcels, and any acute emergency need.