Caption: Ghairunisa Johnstone (above), founder and director of Mustadafin Foundation, believes that ‘If every person helps his neighbour, then who would need help?’ The Foundation lives by this motto; it has been the key message and motivation behind the work of Mustadafin Foundation for the past 30 years.

Established in 1986, Mustadafin Foundation has been serving poor communities in and around the Western- and lately Eastern Cape, in five key ways, namely:

  • Education: Children and adults alike are given the opportunity to better themselves through learning.
  • Poverty eradication: Feeding schemes and winter warmth schemes are combined with skills development programmes to lift the destitute out of poverty.
  • Health: Trained community-based carers help to provide home-based care and lifestyle advice to those with little to no access to public health care.
  • Community development: Youth development is essential for a thriving community. Youth camps and skills development programs empower young adults to grow to their full potential.
  • Disaster relief: Meals and clothing are provided to those who are hardest hit by natural disasters such as floods or fires

Mustadafin Foundation feeds up to 15 000 people in need every day and has ensured the successful integration of 150 homeless children into the public school system by 2015. It has also established health programmes, adult literacy programmes, a bursary programme for students in tertiary education and 22 preschools.

“Our greatest achievements during 2015 included appointing 25 more employees in Tafelsig (with the help of the Department of Social Development) and signing an agreement to collaborate with the National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW) on their Isibindi project,” says Ghairunisa Johnstone, founder and director of the Mustadafin Foundation. The Isibindi project implements community-based care and protection programmes that help children and youth who have been left desolate by death in the family due to HIV/AIDS.

Johnstone also received the Community Builder of the Year Award at the Black Business Quarterly (BBQ) Awards in 2015 and says that the Foundation is very pleased to be recognised with such a fitting award. The Foundation was also second runner up for the BBQ Innovative Business Award.

Fahiema Kruger initially started as a volunteer cook at Mustadafin Foundation and is now the principal at the Foundation’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre. She says, “Ghairunisa lifted me up 16 years ago when I thought I was no one. She uplifted and inspired me when I thought the world is coming down on me.”

“Our work is not without its challenges; Mustadafin Foundation’s volunteers and staff often work in areas rife with violence and social apathy,” says Johnstone. The Foundation also needs a vehicle and funding to complete a building that can serve as a centre from which to operate in the Cape Town area.

Despite the difficulties, the non-profit continues to actively uplift the community. Recent initiatives included the delivering of cooked food and Christmas parcels to 1000 people, including 100 seniors, in underprivileged communities; distributing hot meals and blankets to 120 survivors of the Nomzamo fire disaster; giving 1700 bags away to patients at the Groote Schuur hospital who could not go home over the holidays; and treating children from destitute areas to a day of fun in the park.

The Foundation is looking forward to an even more successful year in 2016 and to operating from a building owned by the organisation by the end of the year. However, it is not merely the number of volunteers or the amount of funds that will create change. “In 2016, we want to see the community being committed to education and its members taking ownership of their lives by beautifying themselves and their environment,” says Johnstone.

To continue with the good work it does, the Foundation relies on funding and donations of food, toys and clothes. It also depends on volunteers to help by contributing their time and skills to uplift the community. For more information about the Foundation and how you can donate or volunteer, please visit or contact 021-633-0010 / 0060.

Mustadafin Foundation is also on Facebook


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Winet Fourie

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