iThemba Community Projects

Care of destitute children, preschools, job creation

iThemba Community projects: Plotting Hope Together

Mpumuza, located near to Pietermaritzburg, is very poor. Unemployment runs at about 70% and there is a shortage of skills. 5000 orphans are cared for by relatives, neighbours and child headed households.

The community
Mpumuza, set in rolling hills is intersected by muddy rivers. It is home to 50,000–60,000 people - largely youth and children. One of the biggest problems facing the people in Sweetwaters/Mpumuza is the lack of employment and many residents do not have the education or skills required for those jobs that are available.


Children in one of the preschools supported by iThemba

iTHEMBA – evolving solutions
A concerned group from neighbouring Hilton met to discuss what could be done to help uplift these disadvantaged neighbours. A group of women began to teach beading and sewing skills to equip women with a means to earning an income. Projects were added as follows:

  • 2004 - 50 children attended the first iThemba Kids Camp - a short holiday at the seaside.

  • 2005  - a feeding scheme was started, as was the Jabulani Kids club providing fun activities on a Saturday.

  • 2006  - the first iThemba staff member was employed to develop the work and to investigate the long-term goal of assisting preschools. A new preschool was set up and the first iThemba Teens Camp held.

  • 2007 - the iThemba Trust was formed. Two more full-time Zulu staff were employed.

  • Local chief, Inkosi Zondi, so impressed with iThemba’s work that he donated ground for a permanent base, zoned for a preschool.
  •  2009 - a full time director was appointed to grow the work. iTHEMBA now includes 4 crèches, 2 Grade R classes, teacher-training workshops, 5 Bible study groups, 3 holiday camps, a life skills programme, a cross country running club, a ladies support group, Saturday kids club, training workshops in English communication to children. 4 full-time and 1 part time staff member, and more than 50 volunteers. 

♦  £3 a month allows iThemba to teach a child important life skills weekly

♦  £10 monthly for 2 years will enable iThemba to develop a sustainable vegetable garden to support the feeding of more than 10 children each year.


iThemba iThemba
Preparing beds for growing vegetables under iThemba's guidance. The vegetable gardens are an essential part of helping to improve children's nutritional status.  Tonia Cope Bowley with workers preparing the ground for a new iThemba preschool.