How does Uthando change disadvantaged lives in Cape Town?
Uthando is the most inspirational upliftment programme based in Khayelitsha which supports disadvantaged people living in the various townships around Cape Town.
We at the Explorations Company have long supported Uthando (which means ‘love’), both directly with contributions and indirectly by encouraging every client who visits Cape Town to spend at least a day visiting the projects it supports.
We have come to know James Fearnie, the Founding Director of Uthando, very well since its inception in 2006 and we are always inspired by the passion he has for improving lives in one of South Africa’s most disadvantaged townships. Uthando’s objectives are to use their unique model of travel philanthropy to assist a range of innovative and inspiring community development projects.
Uthando is a non-profit and Fair Trade in Tourism Company and they raise funds and other forms of assistance for community development projects - above all else Uthando is authentic, uplifting, fun, inspirational, interactive and meaningful.
How can you get involved?
One can spend a morning, afternoon or full day visiting or indeed volunteering at a range or projects that are of the most interest to you – this can be tailor made to one’s own interests.
You can also, should you wish, adopt a project which you would like to fund, maybe one that speaks to you personally, or arrange a special event for example to a special tea party for some senior citizens while you spend some time with them, or fund a day out for them. The Explorations Company recently funded a Christmas Party for the seniors’ project and we were delighted to receive some pictures of them enjoying their time.
What are the projects Uthando that supports?
Uthando, through a grant project, supports multiple independent and well managed community projects which take a wide spectrum of forms, but all act to uplift the local community in their own innovative ways. Some of the many projects that we would recommend visiting include:
- Farmers of the Home is a micro-farming association that trains unemployed people in organic micro-farming methods. These micro-farmers then sell their produce to the public via a business that supplies weekly veg boxes. This project helps with improving sustainable food production and environmental greening amongst the poor in Cape Town, as well as providing employment and skills.
- Various projects that support under privileged children and adults that are being given a second chance, and the opportunity to develop and look after themselves in a sustainable environment. One such project assists people as they are returning to society after imprisonment. They provide a safe place to stay and offer help with education and seeking employment. Another project provides skills, languages and vocational training to refugees and South Africans, empowering social cohesion and allowing them to become self-reliant through employment or self-employment.
- A Cooking and Catering School– located in the heart of Langa Township just 15kms from the centre of Cape Town, addresses the unemployment that strikes the township communities by providing youngsters with cooking and hospitality skills so that they might be able to find employment and create their own businesses in the future. They also place their students in employment at local partnership companies such as Sky Chef, and Cape Town Internation Convention Centre.
- The Better Choice Dance Project trains children in Gumboots dancing and Tsonga dancing and also teaches life skills. Youngsters are mentored and helped with their academic problems through homework clubs. These after-school activities encourage children and teenagers to take the ‘better choice’ to use their energies for positive outlets rather than the alternative which often includes gang violence, drugs and alcohol abuse.
- The Cart Horse Protection Association looks after the animal rights and protection,and also provides clinic, patrol, and call out response, veterinary, and rehabilitation services to all working cart horses and donkeys on the Cape Flats, as well as support, education and training to cart horse owners and drivers.
- Greater Commission United is a sports and arts club that helps the area’s youth and keeps them off the streets. After noticing that many of the community’s children dropped out of school at around 12 years old, this project aims to keep children in school and help dropouts return to school by providing mentoring and teaching various creative and life skills. The GCU tries to provide a caring family environment and maintain children’s interest in attending school, the lack of which often leads to children turning to drugs, alcohol and gang membership.
- Home from Home provides foster care for orphaned and vulnerable children. They are placed in small family homes in disadvantaged communities, and are supported and supervised by the project. The children benefit from the small-family environment and by being within their own cultures, and they are then better equipped to attend school and lead successful lives.
- A project that creates safe spaces for girls, women, and everyone, in Cape Town. This partners with artists to create symbolic safe spaces in the form of public benches and art, and also aims to provide girls with training and opportunities as well as raise awareness about gender-based violence.
- Masibathande Seniors Project– Around 120 senior citizens attend two days a week, and partake in activities such as morning exercises, health monitoring, workshops that are related to their daily challenges, handcrafts for them to generate an income, fundraising concerts and vegetable gardening.
- Various educare projects for orphaned or disadvantaged children such as the Zizimele centre which has just been completely renovated by a generous donor.
- Neighbourhood Old Age Homes (NOAH) provides housing and services for the poorest older people of the Western Cape. Each year, NOAH reaches out to over 700 older people – helping them to feel secure and happy, stay connected to their communities, retain their dignity and independence and remain healthy and active for as long as possible.
- Helping to educate abused and disadvantaged girls and offer them income streams (one such has helped a group of girls use photography to create postcards that can be sold in Cape Town). There are also projects that make various other crafts such as bags or beaded items, providing a safe space for women to work and also an income stream.
These are just a few of the many fantastic projects that make such a huge difference to people’s lives, but you can see a more detailed list on their website. Please consider spending some time with Uthando on your holiday to South Africa, or if you are not lucky enough to visit Cape Town in the near future, we would be so grateful if you might consider making a donation to them.
Please reach out for more information about this truly heart-warming charity.
Images provided courtesy of Uthando (Love) South Africa