Community-based partner organizations

Where Will You Intern?

Community-based partner organizations provide opportunities to engage in community education, empowerment, mediation, training, research and more. Past students have interned with local nonprofits that address issues as diverse as HIV/AIDS and other health concerns, family violence, gender inequities, sustainable living, and the education and development of youth.

As a required part of the curriculum in South Africa, you will intern with a grassroots, community-based partner organization two days a week. These partner organizations provide services for and advocate on behalf of people whose voices are not heard — people who continue to struggle with injustice and pervasive poverty. They also encourage those they serve to build their own capacity to address needs and be voices for change.

Community Activism

South African Council of Churches (SACC)

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) is a national organization of churches and institutions that work together as one body focusing on social issues affecting South Africa. They represent over 30 Christian churches as well as other religions and speak on behalf of about 15 million South Africans. Beyond social justice issues the organization works for deeper reconciliation and the empowering of the marginalized. The SACC's Parliamentary Office was created to encourage the church's' commitment to strengthening the voices of poor and marginalized groups in the public policy process. The group monitors the development of legislation and policy, engages in advocacy around issues of concern to the church, informs church bodies about current policy debates, conducts advocacy training workshops, and offers pastoral support to members of parliament.


Elizabeth King

As a Service Learner at the SACC I have an office oriented job. I am engaged in research surrounding the Children’s Bill Amendment and corporal punishment (CP). CP was banned in schools in previous legislation, but is still widely used. What the SACC along with RAPCAN want to see is schools implementing forms of Positive Discipline, showing educators and administrators that CP is not their only option. Some are also engaged in getting CP banned in homes; as of now it is legal, but research and good sense shows that using it at home just perpetuates a cycle of violence that is not only unhealthy, but also very hard to break. The research I am doing will be a compilation of information that has already been done in schools. It will involve reading reports and interviewing those that have engaged in prior research. I will be contacting many different advocates including employees of the Children's Resource Center, Community Law Center, and Save the Children, as well as making contacts with school principals and educators. This is being done so that the many NGOs who are interested in the topic and children’s rights can make informed submissions to parliament, making sure that children and those that care for their well being are heard.

Education and Youth

Imbasa Primary School

Imbasa Primary School is a centerpiece of the Old Crossroads community in the Nyanga township. The faculty at the school aim to educate the youth, which range from grade R to 8, so that they may have better opportunities to hopefully go to secondary school, pass matric, graduate from university and eventually get a good job. These goals are what keep the teachers inspired to encourage the learners and help them realize that they can escape the cycle of poverty that is way too prevalent in Old Crossroads and that they can make a difference in not only their own lives, but in the lives of family, friends, and community.


Megan Hahn

This semester I worked at Imbasa Primary School in Crossroads. The public school focuses on empowering Crossroads youth through education and providing them with opportunities for future success. I spent my time between two different grade 6 classrooms, working to develop student proficiency in English and life skills. My duties varied from assisting with other teachers’ lessons to leading my own classes of 40 students. We covered a wide range of topics, including climate change, gangsterism, and the different forms of abuse. I formed important relationships with the teachers and students, allowing me to connect with the class and make the semester a meaningful experience. Working at Imbasa, I have likely learned more from my students than I was able to teach them. As an education major, I gained invaluable experience in classroom management, lesson planning, and student differentiation. The classes also taught me about their culture, helping me to learn Xhosa and showing me what it is like to be a kid in South Africa.

After a few weeks at Imbasa, I began spending a majority of my time working with small groups of 10 students. I pulled out the students from their regular instruction time and taught lessons that were designed around their own interests. In this environment, I had the freedom to design my own curriculum and took the opportunity to teach lessons the students had not been previously exposed to. I asked the students to present a proposal in response to the question, “If you were to change one thing about Imbasa, what would it be?” This drove us into a student-centered discussion and then later a project to paint a mural in the school lobby. At each step of the project, students were required to practice English by writing proposals, letters, and journals. They also gained important communication skills through debating and discussing the mural with one another. My lesson plans were inquiry based, developed by the groups and they were left in charge of the form and direction the project took. The students were not used to having control over their education and were extremely intrigued by the unique opportunity for authentic learning.

The work Imbasa engages in everyday is vital to the future development of South Africa and the country’s progress toward equality among all populations. The school instills important skills for the students’ academic achievement and provides constant motivation to attend higher education. Creating student-centered lessons with my small groups has helped the children explore their skills in critical thinking and problem solving. These skills are necessary to for the students to become active participants in future communities and have a stake in challenging and transforming the country’s inequities.

Lauren Neiheisel

My work at Imbasa mainly consist of teaching English and other subjects to my own class of 6th graders. There is a 6A class and a 6B class. Every Tuesday and Thursday I work for two hours with each section. So far I have covered things such as nouns, adjectives, and verbs as well as how to read a graph, how to read a map and other simple skills. Even though the kids are at a 6th grade age, the curriculum is truly at a 4th grade American level. The kids are eager to learn, and while they may test the boundaries of what they can and can't do, they are overall very respectful and easy to work with. There is no direction in terms of what you will be teaching, so you must be prepared to come up with your own lesson plans and ideas for teaching sessions. This will be easier with an education background, but it is also possible to effectively volunteer as at this site without previous classroom experience. I do not have an education background, but can remember and look back on what I was learning when I was in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. The community at the school is extremely welcoming and I have never felt as though I didn’t have someone to go to with my questions or ideas. Imbasa has overall been a very good site to volunteer at, and I have found that while I am the 'teacher' in the situation, I have learned so much more from my kids than I could ever offer them. If you want to work with children, want to teach English or other subjects to kids that are hungry for knowledge, and become part of a close-knit community of local families and people, then this is the site for you!

Patrick Lawlor

My role at Imbasa is essentially a teacher that focuses on English and life orientation modules but also helps out in other subjects whenever necessary. The learners see me more as a young, fun role model than as a teacher which is something I enjoy. The classroom environment, which usually includes 40-plus learners, can be a little daunting especially with the language barrier as English is still a work-in-progress for most of them. However, within my first few months there, I have noticed a marked improvement in the learners ability to understand me and my ability to understand their English. Most of our classroom time is focused on improving their English abilities by reading short stories, written assignments, and fun educational games. The learners have responded well and tend to actively participate and engage in the material which is always rewarding for an educator. Assisting as a teacher at Imbasa Primary School has been a wonderful experience that has helped me to understand the situation for most youth in Cape Town and hopefully will help inspire the learners to realize their potential.

Sinako After School Programme

The Sinako After School Programme was established in February 2000 by Nwabisa Bonxo as a way to give back to the community in which she was raised. It is supported and operated from Nomlinganiselo Primary School.

Sinako is Xhosa for “we can.” Children who come to Sinako have access to a diverse variety of activities that give them the opportunity to develop their intellectual and social skills and become positive leaders in their communities.

Students benefit from the programme offerings, which includes a meal, free of charge. Sinako After School Care runs during the school week from Monday through Thursday. The programme begins at 15:00 and concludes at 17:00.

Sinako’s Mission: to educate and empower today’s youth so they will rise as the leaders of tomorrow who will lead us into a nation of greater efficiency, equality, and prosperity.


Tembaletu LSEN School was founded on March 1st, 1970 in the township of Gugulethu, as a school for learners with special educational needs. It is a government-funded school that specializes in educating black children who are physically disabled from grades one through nine. Tembaletu is a commuter school that has students bused in everyday from various townships throughout Cape Town. The learners themselves face both economic and physical disadvantages so the aim for Tembaletu is dually difficult. Educational and youth development are Tembaletu's main priorities in preparing students to one day become self-sufficient. The senior phase learners are equipped with practical knowledge of career paths and specific options in higher education that students can pursue after graduation.


Abbey Porzucek

My service site is Tembaletu, a school for learners who have physical and mental disabilities that are too severe for them to function in a normal school environment. Many of the children suffer from spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and early brain damage due to infections that resulted from HIV. The school strives to give the children the opportunities to learn and play just like children who do not have disabilities through specialized teaching strategies, play grounds, and extracurricular activities such as horseback riding, golfing, beading, and choir. For the children, these are especially rare opportunities since the majority of them come from poor families, many of which live in Gugulethu.

I have been working in the nursing department of the school, which has been extremely eye opening to the problems of poverty that the children are forced to face in their daily lives. As a result of poverty some of the children do not get well balanced diets, so some are underweight and some eat unhealthy and are overweight. Recently, Tembaletu has been working to implement a new nutrition program that will help manage the students’ weights. To do this, all of the height, weight, disabilities, and BMI of all of the children needed to be recorded. Between the school nurse and myself we were able to get all of their heights and weights. From there, I was able to calculate their BMIs, look at their weight trends and decide the correct food portion for each child, taking their specific disabilities into account. I have really enjoyed working on this because I have always been interested in nutrition, and working with a nutritionist and learning how to apply techniques to children with specific dietary needs has shown me how much effort goes into creating healthy lives. It has been especially rewarding because the work that I am doing now will benefit the children throughout their years at Tembaletu.

Tembaletu only works with children who have handicaps too severe for them to function in a normal school environment. In doing this, they are giving the students the skills to become productive members of society, which they would not be able to learn otherwise. In addition to teaching them the normal subjects like math and English, they also teach skills classes. These classes are designed to prepare them to work in jobs or at home. Much like home economics classes, the students are taught how to sew, bake, cook, and manage money. Due to the nature of the children’s disabilities many of them have trouble with their motor skills. So as well as teaching them practical knowledge to support themselves, they are also able to work on their motor skills which will improve their overall quality of life.

Kate Prebelski

Tembaletu is a school in the township of Guguletu for physically handicapped black children. My experience at Tembaletu over the semester has been a very rewarding one. I work with the intermediate phase (5th and 6th grade learners) teaching them in the subject of Math. I spend the day teaching and working with the students on the material we have covered as well as assisting the other teachers with their students. The community at Tembaletu is a very welcoming one and the relationships that you develop with the staff and the children are a critical part of your experience there.

Charles Birts

While at Tembaletu the majority of my time was spent with senior phase learners (7th, 8th, & 9th grade) teaching them in the subjects of Math (Algebra & Geometry) and EMS. During time in between teaching I was also involved in assisting faculty and staff members with various technological assignments concerning: computers, fax machines, scanners, printers, digital cameras, software programs, etc. I have begun to enhance Tembaletu’s technology resources throughout the school. There is a continued need to help with technology as resources are not being used effectively.

Zimasa Community School

Zimasa Community School is a public primary school located in Langa, Cape Town’s oldest black township.  They serve kindergarten through ninth grade with over 1,400 students and have been operating for over forty years.  It is one of the best schools in the township and sends graduates to some of the best high schools in Cape Town.


Crystal Au

My service site is Zimasa Primary School. It is the largest primary school in the township of Langa. The school has students ranging from Grade R to Grade 9. The school has a lot of space but sometimes does not utilize that space as well as it can. There is an afterschool program to help kids who are struggling in English but there are no other extracurricular clubs or activities offered for the children afterschool. There is always a need for more school supplies because many students do not have pens or pencils to write with. All students speak Xhosa as their mother language and are not taught English until the 4th grade. Zimasa staff and faculty are welcoming towards volunteers and accept as much help as it can get.

The faculty and teachers at Zimasa gave me so much freedom to help out in whatever way I want. The first thing the vice principle asked me when I visited the school was what did I want to get out of volunteering and what skills did I have to offer. Because the staff trusts you with as little or as much responsibility as you would like, it is best to take initiative from the beginning in how you would like to get involved and be able to take charge and lead the activity on your own. As a volunteer, you are usually expected to teach life skills. Since I am a studio art minor, I became the visual arts and performing arts life skills teacher. You can get involved in as little or as much as you would like. I started out teaching three different 5th grade classes. Now, I teach 5th grade, 4th grade, 7th grade, and assist in Grade R. Some of the greatest challenges are the language barrier, large class sizes ranging from 50-55 students, lack of resources, and lack of motivation from some students. One of the most frustrating challenges was how unreliable the other teachers were. Many teachers do not show up to class on time, some do not show at all, and most walk out of the class whenever they want. Teachers are also always willing to have me come teach their class. I do often have to bring in my own resources to teach art while some teachers have more resources than others. My favourite thing about teaching at Zimasa is the flexibility and freedom I have in planning my own lessons and being able to teach as creatively as I want.

I feel like I am contributing to the betterment of South Africa by volunteering to teach in a township where the students do not get many opportunities to interact with people from another country. Especially because my first language is English and the children are struggling with English, they would benefit from hearing me teach them and getting better acquainted with the language. Also, many of the students do not have the opportunity to learn visual arts or performing arts because the teachers usually do not prioritize that subject, so the students can experience learning from my different teaching style and have an opportunity to practice a subject where they can express themselves. I do often wonder if I am making a lasting change at Zimasa to really brighten their futures because I do eventually end up leaving the school when I go back to America. It feels like I am helping the students temporarily and then making them feel worse by leaving. Because of this, I am trying to make a more sustainable impact by helping the 7th Grade creative arts teacher plan her lessons and give her more creative and effective ways in teaching art and ideas for gathering resources. I am also helping start a hockey team for the younger students at Zimasa by getting 7th graders to be their coaches and to be involved in a leadership position for their personal growth and to make the hockey team less dependent on adults. Hopefully my initiatives have a solid base before I leave and can run effectively while I am gone.

Kevin Foley

As a service learner at Zimasa, I moved around the school quite a bit. I worked with the deputy principal to help teach Life Orientation to the 9th graders and also worked with the 6th and 7th grade English teacher. In Life Orientation, I taught classes dealing with drug and alcohol abuse, citizenship in South Africa, and personal beliefs and talents. One of my favorite activities I organized was a talent show in which the students showed off anything from their incredible singing voices to their goofy dance moves. In the 6th and 7th grade English class, I worked a lot with identifying parts of speech. One of their favorite activities that I did with them was Mad Libs, which they had never heard of before. I also became involved with sports at Zimasa and spent a few Saturdays and Wednesdays at the schools rugby matches or soccer games. This was where I really grew close with some of the teachers and the principal, and I am really grateful for the times I was able to just hang out with the students on the sidelines of the rugby field.

One of the major challenges with the South African education system is that they have overcrowded and understaffed classrooms. You may be put in front of a classroom with 35-40 students. I learned this semester to simply embrace the chaos that ensues in this type of atmosphere and enjoy that chaos. Even if things don’t go the way you planned, the students will still more than likely take valuable lessons from the lesson plan you are implementing. Zimasa is an incredible school full of hard working teachers and learners! I am so grateful for every moment I spent at the school and for every relationship I formed with the teachers and the learners! As an education major, I will take the things I learned there with me for the rest of my life.

Emily Lesko

At Zimasa Community School, I work as a teacher aid along with the deputy principal. I help out with teaching the 8th and 9th graders life orientation class. Life orientation is a class where students learn about subjects such as fitness, careers, and how to live healthy life styles. One of the projects I have been working on is bringing in different members of the community in to speak to the students about their careers. It gives the students a chance to be exposed to the different jobs around the area. Zimasa has been an amazing opportunity for me. I have grown so much from each and every person in that school. The faculty and staff are wonderful individuals who truly care about their students. I’m going to be sad to leave the school at the end of the semester.

Patrick Duffey

As a service learner, I work alongside the deputy principal and teach a ninth grade life orientation class. The subject matter covers a variety of topics including HIV prevention, South African culture, healthy living, and politics. I have been encouraged to start new projects with the students. During a unit on physical education, I worked with the staff to organize a hiking trip. Also, with it being the last year of primary school, I am working with the deputy principal on a career day with local professionals from Langa.

Working at Zimasa has been one of the best experiences of my life. Welcoming and friendly, the staff is very helpful and has assisted me the entire way. The entire staff has grown up in the townships of Cape Town, with the majority from Langa and some even attended Zimasa. It can be difficult at times because I only teach two days a week. Organizing projects or assigning tasks was tough because I would often not see the students for a week at a time. As an American, the students love to discuss the differences between the two cultures. Although I am only five or six years older than my students, the staff appreciates the opportunity to give the students a peer role model who is absent in a community filled with gang violence and unemployment.

Siyakulisa Crèche

Siyakhulisa Crèche is an Early Childhood center, over 15 years. It was started by an elderly woman who was doing a nursery school with five kids. When she passed away in a car accident, her daughter continued the center which now have 60 kids. It caters for children from mainly Cape Flats region from nursery age to 5 years old. The crèche is a feeder to Andile Msizi Primary school and St’ Mary’s Primary school.

Health Services

Shonaquip Wheelchairs

Shonaquip, in Plumstead, is a company that produces wheelchairs and other products for children with disabilities. Shona, the founder, began the company when she desired to make a new wheelchair for her daughter, Michelle, one that would fit her better and improve her development. The factory has expanded rapidly and Shona now also employs a number of occupational therapists who work with clients either in the office or in clinics and daycares throughout the Western Cape. In addition to wheelchairs, Shonaquip makes standing frames, sleeping forms, and specially designed wheelchairs all intended to improve the posture and quality of life of its patients.


Andy Marshall

I have spent my service learning time this semester at Shonaquip, a wheelchair manufacturing company based in Plumstead. Last semester, the Marquette service learners were actually engineers and so were able to actually help with the design end of things. I, unfortunately, have so such skills, so Shonaquip founder Shona McDonald and I decided at our first meeting that I would focus on doing work with her new Section 21 non-profit company, Wheelchair Users Forum South Africa, and the parent Empowerment Through Partnership Trust. I spent much of first term learning about disability issues and reading key documents such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Shona knows everything about disability issues and actually was a consultant for the World Health Organization on their guidelines for wheelchair provision in less resources settings, which were published while I was here. I also had the chance to attend WUFSA’s first annual general meeting at the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre right before spring break.

Although I was able to learn a little about web design and work with WUFSA board member Vic McKinney on finalizing some general funding documents for WUFSA’s proposed resource centre at WCRC, I started in earnest on these tasks after the break. The website is still very much a work in progress, but I have greatly enjoyed working with Mart, Shona’s computer consultant. Vic and I have applied for grants from the Shuttleworth Foundation (denied), Chevron (probably accepted), FirstRand Foundation (pending), and Community Chest (pending), with an application for lottery funding due on Friday. Shona, roaming American wheelchair engineer Matt, Shonaquip therapists Liz and Ingrid, and I are currently scrambling like mad to finish a major proposal for USAID to fund a partnership between NGO Whirlwind International and Shonaquip to create a model of wheelchair and seating service provision which can be exported to other “developing” countries.

As far as general work information, I usually arrive between 8 and 8:30 in the morning in the van and leave between 3:30 and 5:30 on the train. There is no set lunch hour. I work in the main office on my own laptop at whichever desk is open any given day.

I have really enjoyed doing my service learning at Shonaquip, especially learning more about the business model of community development instead of the NGO or government models we always learn about.

Renee Miller and Michelle Gunther

The Shonaquip company strives to better the lives of everyone with disabilities, not just those who can afford it. Many of its clients receive wheelchairs by government funding. And although they don’t receive the same amount of time with occupational therapists, Shonaquip does not deny them the quality of service or product. It is such a diverse place to work and it provides an excellent experience for us in engineering as well as a place to learn about problems associated with disabled persons in the Western Cape.

Social Services

Christine Revell Children’s Home

Christine Revell Children’s Home is a safe place for abused, neglected and orphaned children from birth to five years old. The home provides care for up to 49 children and strives to nurture and develop every child in their care and work towards their successful re-integration into a family and the community.

Individual attention alongside mental, physical, emotional and social stimulation is critical for children to grow and develop normally. And, this is where volunteers make a huge difference in the life of these children. The children are divided into three age groups: 0-2 (A), 2-3 (B), 3-5 (C). Volunteers typically work with one of these groups interacting with the children and helping staff with daily activities. Volunteers help at meal times and with play sessions, games and outings for smaller groups of children.


Leyla Salman

Christine Revell Children’s home cares for approximately 50 abused, abandoned, and neglected children from ages 0-6, regardless of their race, gender, background or HIV status. The home provides full-time care to the children and also houses their own school programs. I spend my days working in the classroom with the 4-6 year olds, help run the pre-school program in the morning, and provide general childcare in the afternoon. I play with the kids, help them in music and drawing class, and do arts and crafts with them.

The children have faced a lot of hardship in their young lives, and many have been frequently moved between different children’s homes, their parents’ care and different foster homes. The one day that has proven this whole service learning experience worthwhile for me is when one of the little girls, Kelly (4 years old), was adopted by a social worker and her family. She put on a new bright pink outfit and walked down the stairs at the home, kids lined up on either side of her who were chanting “Bye bye Kelly!” The atmosphere was completely overwhelming, as Kelly said goodbye to the place and people who had been her home since she was less than a year old. It is amazing to see how much of a home this place really is and the ties between the kids that are truly as strong as of any other “real” family.

Christine Revell Children’s Home breaks the cycle of violence for the children it takes in. Most of these children have, in one way or another, been abused or neglected by their parental figures. At the home, they are given the unconditional love and affection they deserve, while being taught right from wrong. Many of the children that the home stays in touch with go on to lead successful lives professionally and personally. Early childhood development and the ways in which the home impacts these children has long-term consequences, and the home is essential to the bettering of South Africa by improving the potential of its future generation of leaders.

Etafeni Centre

Etafeni is a community resource centre with a variety of programs aimed at supporting people affected or infected by HIV and AIDS. It is located in Nyanga East but reaches to other townships including Nyanga, Crossroads, Heideveld and Guguletu. Its programs include a preschool, after-school care program, income generation project, youth employments skills program, HIV and TB VCT (Voluntary Counseling and Testing), and mobile testing unit.


James Havey

With so many different programs at Etafeni, I am able to work on different projects throughout the day. In the mornings I usually go out into the community with one of the caregivers or the nutritionist and visit clients. With doing this I am able to be in the community and talking to a variety of people. On some mornings we go to nurseries in the area and weigh the children to see if they are healthy and if not we set them up on a supplement program that Etafeni offers. Other days we visit families that have members to sick to take care of themselves or the families of their own. We sit and visit with them, and see what they are needing. I could be taking clients to the local clinic, delivering supplements, or even building a vegetable garden for a client, it is always different from day to day. When I get back from working with the clients I usually go to the Day Care Centre and help out in the pre-school. I serve lunch and plan activities for them. I am also leading a project to have a mural painted on a wall outside of the day care building. The goal is to bring more attention to the day care centre for the community and visitors. Using bright colors we want the mural to reflect the community of Nyanga and Etafeni's involvement in the community.

Courtney Konyn

The Etafeni Daycare Centre Trust is manifested in a community center on Sihume Road in the Nyanga township. The center's mission is to provide holistic support for children affected by HIV/AIDS. Specifically, a day care center, after school care program, and young adult life skills program are located on site. The beautiful grounds also house an income generation project for parents of the children, counseling services, a dietitian's office, and a task force known as the "community caretakers," who canvass the local community and refer those in need to the resources offered at Etafeni. They also document the living conditions and needs in the local community.

At Etafeni, I work in the after school care program with 36 children aged 6-16. Together with their after care teacher and their music therapist, we have planned several art projects to allow the kids an opportunity to develop their individual points of view and expression, as they are raised and taught in groups from infancy. We plan to have a gallery night and music concert when we can invite the local community to celebrate the kids. I have also assisted the site manager with some ideas for administrative organization, such as implementing better internal record keeping and communication between staff members. We have also begun to organize a directory of community groups and resources available in the community, to compliment the resources offered at Etafeni, and to  encourage capacity building in the community to connect  resources and individuals in order to make a difference in Nyanga East.

Etafeni means "at the open space," and the opportunities  for any impassioned and compassionate individual are really unlimited in terms of working with the kids, learning about the organization, and forming relationships with the Etafeni family.

Margaret Quick

Etafeni is a community-centered initiative; it has been physically built by previously untrained and unemployed community members, who have gone on to find employment in construction work or have stayed on to help at the centre. The grounds and buildings continue to be maintained by men first trained with Etafeni. The centre also has extensive food gardens, which are used to make breakfast and lunch for the preschoolers, after-school kids, and income generating women. The centre is described by community members as a ‘one stop shop’ for those affected by AIDS, poverty, and unemployment because of its multi-faceted nature. Often, there will be a parent learning skills or working in the income generating program, while her child is in pre-school, or perhaps in the youth skills training program, and it is circumstances like these that makes the centre’s variety of programs so valuable to those utilizing them.

Fittingly, my time there was as multi-faceted as the centre. I worked in the mornings with the project manager, Luvuyo, to generate feedback from the community regarding the centre’s perception and ability to meet community needs. This project began as a very detailed and specific document, but as I began work on it, really became about a few interviews with community members and people who had been at the centre since its construction in 2002.  I also ended up working on organizational and random projects throughout the semester; if something more pressing came up I would help with that as well.

My afternoons were spent with the children in the after-school care program. I would usually work with the program coordinator, Vuyo, before the kids arrived, to get things ready or prepare projects. Then work with the kids for a few hours doing anything from homework or spelling to drawing and playing games. It is a very laid-back program, mainly focused on providing a space for kids to hang out after school and provide additional enrichment. The coordinator is also very open to ideas and new programs that could be implemented or introduced to the kids.

St. Anne's Homes

St. Anne’s Homes was established in 1904 by the Anglican Church to shelter, care, and empower pregnant, destitute, abused, and disadvantaged mothers and their children. The vision of St. Anne’s Homes is to “to see women with children living free from abuse, poverty, and discrimination by offering the world a model of care and social empowerment.” St. Anne’s offers a variety of programs for women and children including childcare, life skill classes, therapy, and skills training classes.


Liz Welch

During my time at St. Anne’s I have lead the workshops that take place twice a week. One day the workshop is a computer skills class in which the women learn basic typing skills, as well as simple Microsoft Office skills. The other workshops I help run include job training and searching, cooking, self esteem building, domestic violence therapy, and jewelry making. I have really enjoyed my time spent with the women living at St. Anne’s. Learning their stories and watching them grow through the skills programs has been extremely moving and has helped me connect with them on a deeper level. I have learned so much from the women at St. Anne’s including lessons of resiliency and the strength it takes to raise a family under disadvantage situations.

Amy Della Porta

St. Anne’s Homes is a shelter for homeless and abused mothers and their children. During the day, clients of St. Anne’s either work, or, if they’re unemployed, they attend workshops. Their children spend their days in the crèche or daycare. My primary responsibility at St. Anne’s is to teach workshops - one in the morning and one in the afternoon. In the morning, I teach a computer skills workshop. So far I have taught basic functions in Microsoft Word. In the afternoon I conduct poetry or music workshops. Sometimes St. Anne’s contracts people from outside businesses, such as beading shops or yoga studios, to conduct workshops, in which case I sit in. But usually for an afternoon workshop I will select a poem written either by an African American or South African female poet. I will prepare questions about the poem which encourage the women in the workshop to apply the themes and topics in the poem to their own lives. I use these workshops to initiate discussions about empowerment, motherhood, spirituality, and overcoming life’s challenges. I have also used music in workshops. Probably my most successful workshop was one in which I played songs with lyrics that are offensive towards women, and then songs with lyrics that empower women. I engaged the workshop participants in an interesting conversation about popular culture’s perception and treatment of women. Any workshop I conduct is crafted with the intention of making the clients at St. Anne’s aware of their potential and capabilities for overcoming obstacles. Because of the relationships I have formed with both clients and coworkers, my time at St. Anne’s has been extremely fulfilling.

Caroline Corcos

St. Anne’s is a home for destitute and abused women and their children, and is honestly a wonderful place to work while doing your service learning. Unlike some of the other sites, where students are given one task, such as looking up research or gathering information for a survey, St. Anne’s has many different facets that allow for the use of many different talents, especially those on the more creative side. There is the administrative aspect, dealing with phones, paperwork, and general Human Resources issues, which is ground level entrance work for business students. There is the crèche, with children ranging from infants to 5 year olds, as well as the after school program for older children, both which are great practice for those looking to become teachers or work in any sort of child care profession. And then there are the ladies, the women coming to St. Anne’s to make something more of themselves, as well as seeking protection from those who have hurt them in the past. During skills training sessions, you can use your talents and share them with the ladies to empower them. The workshops I have done include computer skills training, budgeting, nutrition, baking, cooking, beading, drawing, resume writing, and more, all to help the ladies gain skills that can help them once they leave the home. No matter what your talents or interests, they can be put to work here (even the less conventional, as my friend and colleague’s yoga session proved). Dorothy, the amazing director of this organization, is open to ideas from volunteers, as she believes them to be what keeps the program continuing, changing, and from getting stale or boring, so meet with her, and let her know your skills and interests. All you need for St. Anne’s to be a wonderful experience is to have a little patience and a good work ethic, and you will have no problem, and will hopefully enjoy working at St. Anne’s as much as I did.

Kalyn Gigot

At St. Anne’s, I am currently working to support the women through economic empowerment training. I work with the women in groups and on a one-on-one basis to set employment goals, find jobs, do skill inventories, and address areas for further education. Additionally, we also work on professionalism and job skills, resume writing, and interviewing. Through these means, I help the women of St. Anne’s to begin the process of independence and their new lives. Additionally, by working in groups, the women are able to forge healthy and constructive bonds and learn to support each other.

Mandi Lehnherr

At St. Anne’s Homes, I work closely with the intake worker as well as the women and children who stay there. We hold individual counseling and goal setting sessions for each of the women. I also facilitate several different workshops whose topics include computer skills, women’s rights, and mental health. I have also developed an expressive journaling project in which the women are encouraged to express their emotions through drawings and stories. Through the sessions and workshops, I have developed personal relationships with these brave women, as well as my colleagues.

Caitlin Duane

At St. Anne’s I work with the women in their life skills classes and the skills training classes. There is a gift shop at St. Anne’s that sells bags, jewelry, clothing and all sorts of things hand made by the women living at St. Anne’s. The program stopped running in December 2006 and when the store was broken into four months ago, most of the valuable pieces were taken. My goal is to re-open the store by initiating the return of skills training and finding ex-residents to work in and maintain the store.

Tracy Hrajnoha

At St. Anne’s I work in the Crèche/Children’s Project and Skills Training Program. I work in the toddler class and also teach a fine arts class to the After Care kids. I teach three classes once a week to kids ages 5-14 years old. My goal is to leave behind a file so that the program can continue once I return to the States. In the Skills Training Program I teach a sewing workshop to the adult residents. Our first project is to sew a blanket.

Restorative Justice

South African Faith and Family Institute (SAFFI)

The South African Faith and Family Institute (SAFFI) was founded in 2008 with the intention of creating a coordinated restorative justice response to domestic violence with particular focus on building capacity in the faith sector and holding perpetrators accountable for their abusive behavior. SAFFI helps  individuals live up to their full potential in intimate relationships and families in a society free from gender-based violence.

SAFFI serves as a resource to religious leaders, institutions and faith communities, and holds various events and workshops to challenge, “from a theological perspective, patriarchal traditions and other root causes of intimate partner abuse and violence that destroys the dignity of women, children and men.”

Mhani Gingi

Mhani Gingi is a non-profit organization that strives to provide innovative business solutions which are sustainable and profitable, and contribute towards alleviating poverty in South Africa.

The Mhani Gingi network was established in 2006 by founding director Lillian Masebenza. There are three main branches of this organization: Network Initiatives, Social Responsibility, and The Flagship. Mhani Gingi has over 250 children enrolled in early learning centers, 25 women working in community gardens, and over 500 network members who have successfully started their own business. Mhani Gingi does this by providing business training, skills development, and mentorship.

The skills we are interested in is around:

  1. The knowledge of website updating and "maintenance" thereof as well as updating databases of our stakeholders;
  2. Desk Research skills linked to compiling a NPO/NGO funder profiles while at the same time finding out the latest Calls for Funding Proposals;
  3. Social Justice. We are hoping to start a project that will deal with the marginalized abused women and their violated human right;
  4. Compiling Study Guides for our Flagship Project - How to establish and maintain community gardens so as to eat nutritious food and generate income out of the produce.

Embrace Dignity

Embrace Dignity is a South African NGO that sets out to challenge gendered power inequalities that continue to oppress women and girls through prostitution, sexual exploitation, and sexual abuse. We aim to address this by strengthening support systems for women who want to leave prostitution, examining men’s demand for prostitution and by creating a social consciousness about the economic and social conditions of women and girls through law reform and community advocacy programs.

Sustainable Business and Economic Development

Learn to Earn

Learn to Earn was established in 1989 in Khayelitsha, originally as the Baptist Training Center, and in 1995 it was renamed Learn to Earn. Learn to Earn is an organization that seeks to train and equip a previously unemployed person with skills so that they can become employed. The skills training includes sewing, wood work, computer, and graphic design. However, Learn to Earn seeks to provide more than potential jobs; they attempt to impart life skills and a higher sense of person on the individuals that come through their doors. Learn to Earn teaches their values with a very strong Christian outlook, and are not shy about their religious affiliation, as they have daily prayers and life orientation classes weekly.


Cristina Garcia

Learn to Earn offers classes for people who are unemployed and looking to find a skill that will enable them to look for employment. They fill out forms before they graduate so that their information can be put on a database for employers to find them. I have been working with those forms to upload them onto the website and help them create their CVs (Resumes). I am also working on a project to help make the databases more efficient and then be able to find past graduates. The purpose is that I can find graduates and interview them to measure the sustainability of the organization and whether it develops a long term change in the students’ lives. Learn to Earn is a great place that really makes an impact on the community around it. It is obvious that everyone that works there loves being there and the students are also very grateful for the education they receive. It is a very welcoming place.

Ryan Corr

I am currently working with the Business Resource side of Learn to Earn, which basically entails me being an administrative assistant. I go to Learn to Earn twice a week from 8-4 and while I am there I am attempting to assist the Business Resource Manager, Andrew Lane in any way possible. This has included but is not limited to doing costing for materials, material orders, keeping books, and also dealing with clients. I was supposed to be in charge of Learn to Earns involvement in the Khayelitsha Festival, however while I was planning I found out that Cape Town did not approve the necessary budget for the Festival, so it was put on hold indefinitely. Andrew was quick to find another project for me, and since then I have been working on stream lining the international shipping. Currently it is very expensive and not efficient to market products abroad, so I am working on changing that.  Learn to Earn is very well run organization and provides a great service, however I did not have a lot of interaction with the trainees as I was more working on the business aspects.


U-Turn is a Christian non-profit homeless ministry focused on assisting homeless citizens financially, physically, relationally and spiritually, with a goal of restoring self-esteem and helping them fully return to society. U-Turn works with more than 200 area organizations to assist with needs ranging from shelter, relief from drug addiction and alcohol, needs of street children, income opportunities, outdoor activity programs, mental health services, and more. U-Turn focuses on a first step of rehabilitation: moving people off street and into shelters.