1. Lefika La Phodiso

lefika la phodiso logo

Lefika La Phodiso is Africa’s first organisation offering community art counselling training. Aptly named, Lefika La Phodiso means the rock of holding and healing.

Lefika is based at the Children’s Memorial Institute in Gauteng. Since 1994, Lefika has responded to the impact of trauma and loss associated to apartheid, HIV and AIDS, violence and socio-economic disparities. Lefika’s primary objective has been to create accessible mental health services in under resourced communities.

This has been achieved by building capacity through training community arts practitioners, artists, educators and mental health workers in creative analytic group work, bringing together art therapy approaches, trauma work and group practice. Through specialised skills development within a HWSETA accredited training programme, Community Art Counsellors are able to facilitate community outreach projects in and around the inner city of Johannesburg, Sophiatown, Tjovitjo in Orange farm and Snake Park in Soweto. Responding to international social justice and psychosocial mental health needs, Lefika now reaches communities across South Africa and abroad.

Our vision is to provide safe spaces in which creativity and containment nourish emotional development and strengthen relationships.

Our mission is to build capacity for empathy by training groups of community art counsellors dedicated to psychosocial transformation.

We offer after-school programmes in the following modalities: Art counselling, drama therapy, art skills, literacy programmes, art therapy, music therapy and psycho-education. We also offer holiday programmes, homework support and a nutrition programme. Lefika offers a workplace learning opportunity for students and interns from the University of Witwatersrand (drama therapy and counselling psychology), University of Johannesburg (art therapy and social work), SACAP (the South African College of Applied Psychology) and UKZN (student registered counsellors). Through these partnerships we have created a low/no cost clinic that offers individual therapy and counselling to anyone in need. All our projects are clinically supervised by arts therapists who are registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.

2. Home for hope for Girls

home of hope

Berea-Hillbrow Home of Hope is a registered Non-Profit Organisation (019-857-NPO) born in 2000, Home of Hope is an autonomous, self-initiated and inclusive shelter for the rehabilitation of girls that operates at grass-roots level.

The whole purpose of Home of Hope is to offer a safe environment for vulnerable girls facing abusive situations predominantly linked to child sex trafficking and, by offering compassion, care and acceptance, facilitates their reintegration back into society and to provide conducive environment where their self-worth is developed and their dignity restored. We care for their emotional, physical and educational needs. We build the foundation for their successful adulthood by offering them real choices and a chance in life.

The home comprises two facilities in suburban Johannesburg, where some 78 girls live, supported by their caregivers.

It is impossible to know how many girls are trafficked each year; by its very nature, illegal activities like this remain a hidden problem. Statistics indicate a figure of around 1.2 million annually, and around 2 million children, mostly girls, are sexually exploited. Death through violence, suicide, addiction, or medical neglect are common for those who become enslaved by criminals. It’s a very organised sector of crime and the amount of money involved run into billions of dollars annually.

The impact of Home of Hope (HOH) may be considered small against this overall picture, but the success of our rehabilitation programme and our Outreach work is one which can be replicated and have a real impact on society. Not only do we transform the lives of thousands of children, but we also inspire other organisations and educate our communities.

3. Safe Study

safe study logoSafe Study is an after school enrichment program operating in Lorentzville Johannesburg. Through a combination of Academic support, Arts enrichment and Mental Health we have created a safe space for community youth to grow and learn.

Founded on the dusty pavements, we started from humble beginnings of a community soup kitchen during the COVID-19 lockdown. Our initiative was a direct response to the impact of the crisis in education and in the inequalities of the system that left many children with no access to remote or online learning, only serving to increase the digital and wealth divide. There was a desperate need to create a space so that education and motivation could continue for these children.

Today Safe Study is an amazing after school academic support and creative arts enrichment initiative, working with marginalised and underprivileged children in Lorentzville. Our Goal at Safe Study is to create a safe place for children to learn and grow, giving them access to full academic support, skills development, and creative arts resources.

Our program encourages skills such as art, crafts, music, mosaic, sewing, beading, chess and computers. We also offer skating, fitness and boxing twice a week and have just started a photographic club!

We aim to give each child a nutritious meal every day and mental health is something we place huge emphasis on. Safe Study also has an ECD program for children aged 6-8 years focusing on solid foundation for reading, writing and maths.

Not only does Safe Study support over 120 children, the program also offers support, skills development and employment opportunities to over 20 dedicated and passionate facilitators.

Nelson Mandela once said that ‘education is the greatest weapon that you can use to change the world” and while we may not be able to change the world, we can certainly change the lives of inner city youth!