The Story of ZWELISHA Community

Zwelisha Communtiy is a very impoverished South African community. Many children do not have identification papers so they are not able to graduate from school, and often get chased from school by their teachers. Access to food and clean water are just a few of the many problems that many families face in Zwelisha. However, local volunteers realised the extreme vulnerability of many children in their community and came together to form Zwelisha Community Based Organisation (CBO). 

Children currently supported: 50

Number of Care Workers: 7

Coordinator Name: Julia

Distance from HAZYVIEW Local Office: 70 KM

Basic Services
Started: 2013


In 2013 Hands at Work partnered with Zwelisha CBO and began to provide 3 Essential Services for the children identified as most vulnerable. In order to address the most essential needs of an orphaned or vulnerable child in Zwelisha CBO, Hands at Work aims to provide one nutritious meal to each child per day, as well as provide access to education and basic health care. 

There used to be no shelter at the CBO for children to play in or be shaded from the hot sun. Children, often had to go inside the smoke-filled dome where the food is cooked, to get away from harsh weather conditions. However, in July, the local fire department donated a small structure where the children can meet under a roof. In addition, at the end of September, construction on a permanent Life Centre structure, including toilets, a kitchen and a shelter was completed.

The Service Centre is investing into the leadership of Zwelisha by having Julia, the coordinator, join meetings with other CBO coordinators so that she can be inspired and increase her capacity to lead the Care Workers in effectively and holistically caring for the most vulnerable children in her community. The CBO has also been encouraged by international teams who come to visit them and walk the same roads they do.  

In 2019, due to a change in Government policy, children who do not have proper legal documentation to attend school will no longer be permitted. The Hands at Work local office teams in Hazyview and Oshoek are working hard to make plans for the children and families this will directly affect. Hands at Work is seeking to understand the increased vulnerability our children face, not only due to the lack of education and regular routine, but in their day-to-day living. Hands at Work sees the Life Centre in each community as an opportunity to facilitate the growth and development for each child affected. Programs to facilitate learning, skills and development will be introduced at our Life Centres over the course of the first few months of 2019, allowing each child to have a place where they feel loved and a sense of belonging.

Meet Jana

Jana* and her younger sister, Thando, stay with her grandmother. At home Jana was not helping out around the house and was often disrespectful. Since attending the Youth Leaders Camp, she has changed. She is helping at home and at the Care Point with the young children. Jana helps facilitate the Bible study that the Zwelisha youth have every Friday by sharing an encouraging word and scripture. Now, when Jana’s grandmother shares with the others in the community she gives thanks for her granddaughter Jana.

The Hands at Work office in Hazyview currently supports six Community Based Organisations, which exist to care for the most vulnerable in their communities. The office provides training, networking, and encouragement to those Community Based Organisations like Zwelisha. It also gives administrative support, including helping with funding proposals, monitoring and evaluation, bookkeeping and reporting to donors.