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Stephen Lewis Foundation Supports Projects in South Africa


Grandmothers Against Poverty and AIDS (GAPA)


The University of Cape Town's Albertina and Walter Sisulu Institute of Ageing held a pilot research project into the plight of grandmothers living on the Cape Flats. Unfortunately, the project was about to end. Grandmothers who had participated in it, felt that the information and support that they had received was too valuable to just let it go. So, in October 2001 a group of grandmothers from Khayelitsha, 20 km outside Cape Town formed an NGO called Grandmothers Against Poverty and AIDS (GAPA) to help grandmothers, whose families were affected by HIV/AIDS, to better cope with their daily lives.  It is run by grandmothers and supplemented with a small staff complement.

GAPA receives funds from the South African government and donations come from organizations, including the Stephen Lewis Foundation. They run Workshops and training for grandmothers, income generation activities (vegetable gardening and making of crafts),  Peer Support groups,  Psychological Support Groups,  Advocacy and community involvement Pre-School Bursary Programme  After School Care.

This the first and longest running grandmothers group in South Africa.  There are now 19 home groups (190 grandmothers) operating in Cape Town and three co-operatives in the Eastern Cape.

lzimbali Zesizwe OVC Feeding and Outreach Project

Izimbali Zesizwe is an NGO in an under-resourced community in the Durban “townships,” (scattered communities outside of main cities that black South Africans were forced into during Apartheid).  Izimbali Zesizwe is isiZulu for “Flowers of the Nation” and refers to the children that benefit from the NGO’s activities.

Ms. Sithembile (Sthe) Ndlovu is the founder and head of Izimbali Zesizwe, which in 2003 she ran voluntarily out of her home, though she herself was unemployed and living in poverty.  Since then, Sthe has been able to tap into the resources of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

She still works out of her home, but has been able to build a small home office and a larger kitchen where volunteers prepare meals for orphans and vulnerable children three times a week.  When volunteers are unavailable, Sthe and her daughters prepare the meals themselves.  Sthe and her daughters also shop routinely for the food provided by external funding.  When the NGO has no money, the kids have to be turned away at her gate.

She also coordinates donations from local bakeries and small-scale grocers that provide food that is near its expiry date.  One day a week, vulnerable community members line up at the community centre where Sthe and her volunteers hand out parcels of these goods until they run out.


She managed to get permission from the local ward counsellor to build a community garden on a parcel of overgrown land.  She and her volunteers regularly plant and tend to the vegetables that are then used as part of the child feeding programme or sold at low cost in the community to help fund the purchase of food for meals or food parcels.

She also provides a number of other services to the community when she has the chance.  She provides informal counselling out of her home when members of the community need social or psychological support, she has coordinated art classes and Sunday school out of her garage to help educate and support orphans and vulnerable children, and each year she holds a Christmas party for the children, complete with a meal, a movie, and donated gifts.


Izimbali Zesizwe does not have a fancy website or a team of staff to send out donation mailers.  She does not even have internet or a landline in her home because the infrastructure in the township is too shoddy and the network coverage is hit and miss.  It is a very small-scale operation, but it is certainly incredible what she can do with so little.

MusicWorks is a Non-Profit Organisation that uses the power of music to unlock potential in the lives of children in Cape Town’s marginalised neighbourhoods.


Music has the ability to strengthen and heal individuals, as well as communities.  Through instrumental improvisation, singing, musical storytelling, song writing or movement to music, they create safe spaces for engagement, creativity, care and healing.  MusicWorks Interventions offer a vital service – as a means of strengthening children subject to trauma and neglect; supporting their social, cognitive and emotional development; and ultimately impacting the psychosocial fabric of their larger communities.  MusicWorks was founded in September 2002 and registered as a Non-Profit Organisation in November 2003, as the Music Therapy Community Clinic.  Two Music Therapists started on a part-time, voluntary basis, offering Music Therapy sessions to school children in Heideveld, Cape Town.  Since then they have won many awards for innovation.  Presently, approximately 490 children annually attend music therapy sessions, play in marimba bands and take part in gumboot dance training


Zoëlife – Blue Roof Life Space 
Jacobs, Durban, 4052, SA


Blue Roof Life Space is a Youth Centre focused on holistic care for young people seeking a safe place to discover more about who they are and what direction they want to go in life.

Equipped with healthcare facilities, a state of the art Career Guidance Centre, Internet Café and various skills development opportunities, Blue Roof is there to inspire South Africa’s youth into becoming positive contributors in society.

roof | ruːf | noun (plural roofs) 1 the structure forming the upper covering.   A shelter.

Blue Roof is a symbol of hope.  A structured covering of care.  The shelter under which young and old find refuge from the scorching heat of life’s burdens.

Blue Roof is an innovative hub of holistic kindness.  A haven of support to children, youth and the community at large.  Like a home set on a hill, Blue Roof shines bright, restoring hope, casting vision and opening up destiny for lives bursting with potential.


Ekupholeni Mental Health and Trauma Centre
Katlehong, (near Johannesburg)  Sarah Mendell is the program director


Ekupholeni provides holistic individual and group psychosocial counseling to 7 000 children, youths and adults each year.  The organisation’s clinics are located throughout Katorus, a severely under-resourced area about 25 kilometers south east of Johannesburg.

They  provide one to one and group counselling care via three main programs: HIV/Aids & Bereavement, Gender Violence and Youth at Risk.

Although they can’t meet in groups for counselling during the pandemic, at the moment clients are supporting each other by writing positive comments to those who reach out on Facebook or Instagram.

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