Refilwe Community Project is a Christian community development initiative based in Lanseria. The organisation is a registered nonprofit organisation (NPO) and a public benefit organisation (PBO). Founded in 1991, initially as a healthcare clinic focused on caring for the physical and spiritual needs of TB and HIV positive patients, Refilwe Community Project has since developed a strong focus on childcare, community development and skills upliftment through education and mentorship.
Refilwe’s vision is to be an organisation which, through the love of Jesus Christ, seeks to provide the best possible care to children in order to break the cycle of poverty and to empower the parents and individuals to become sustainable: spiritually, socially, emotionally and materially.
- To provide a loving Christian family environment for the orphaned and vulnerable children through the God Parent Programme;
- Assist the surrounding communities in providing their children opportunities to thrive spiritually, socially, emotionally and materially;
- Promote small business development to strengthen families in our community through community programmes;
- Generate income to support the work of Refilwe;
- Model Christian lifestyle (respect, integrity, responsibility, accountability, work ethic) to the children of Refilwe; and
- Provide potential job opportunities to them through site endeavours.
Refilwe’s primary focus is childcare. The organisation’s God Parent Programme uses a family-based foster care model to provide safe and stable home environments for up to 48 orphaned and vulnerable children. These children receive a quality education, beginning at Refilwe’s on-site pre-school and continuing through reputable local primary and secondary schools. Refilwe has several bursaries available for learners who are accepted into tertiary education.
El Roi baby house, situated at the north end of Refilwe’s property, opened in October 2012 in response to the overwhelming need for place of safety care for abandoned and orphaned babies. Refilwe currently has space for six babies who are then placed in local and international forever families in conjunction with ABBA adoptions.
The Community Development Programme offers support to individuals in the surrounding informal settlements through skills training, food production and limited home-based care.
Refilwe Community Project works in partnership with the Refilwe Bophelo Clinic which provides basic healthcare services in an area far from government clinics and hospitals. Additionally, using the model of the organisation’s on-site preschool, Refilwe Community Project has come alongside 19 community-based day care centres by giving them the training and support to offer proper pre-school education. By engaging with local counsellors and community members, Refilwe seeks to identify and address needs in its area.
The third focus of Refilwe is on Skills Upliftment. People with little education and no work experience find it difficult to secure employment but, if the organisation can give them self-esteem, discipline and skills to work, they will have a better chance of being able either to run their own business or find sustainable employment elsewhere in the area. Refilwe Community Project also wishes to give the children that mature in the organisation’s care, opportunities to establish a good work ethic and be exposed to practical work experience that could benefit them in the future.
In addition to the practical ‘on-the-job’ training received by Refilwe Community Project’s site-workers in horticulture, maintenance and carpentry, the organisation encourages their involvement in training programmes from computer skills to vegetable gardens. Refilwe Community Project also gives early childhood development (ECD) workshops to pre-school leaders and parents, giving them the skills to interact and stimulate their children at home. All individuals at Refilwe are encouraged to improve themselves, ensuring a better future for themselves and their families.
Refilwe Community Project desires to expand its skills development programme inorder to take advantage of the trained horticulturalists that live on site. This programme, which is currently available only to staff members, will be opened up into the surrounding community and struggling individuals will be trained in vegetable growing, landscaping, and garden maintenance aswell as being given the training to market their vegetable and newly acquired skills. Refilwe Community Project’s hope is that each of these individuals will positively impact their community through their residential vegetable gardens, and that they will improve the lives of their families through the income generated by selling the vegetables. The ultimate goal would be that they could become self-sustaining by using their new skills to acquire steady employment, and that Refilwe will become known in the local horticultural community as a source of skilled and reliable workers, enabling the organisation to expand the programme and break the cycle of poverty.
Refilwe Community Project’s impact on the surrounding communities, especially through the community development programme, is considerable. The organisation currently has 43 children in the Refilwe preschool, and over 500 are influenced by the partner community preschools. These children are given a strong foundation in their educational journey and their chances of completing matric are significantly increased. The 19 women who run the organisation’s community preschools are given training not only in teaching, but also in business development, enabling them to increase the services they offer, and thereby to improve the economic circumstances for themselves and their families.
Refilwe Community Project’s God Parent Programme is one of the organisation’s greatest areas of impact, but also of greatest challenge. As the organisation is responsible for raising the 31 children currently in care from infancy to adulthood, Refilwe Community Project takes very seriously the need to ensure that these children leave Refilwe as competent and mature adults, with the ability to make good life choices. Looking at some of the ways this has failed to happen in the past; the organisation is doubly determined to ensure the success of the graduates in the future. This will be achieved through the ‘independent living’ programme which is being developed. This programme will ensure that every teenage child in the organisation’s care is given access to the tools they need to succeed, from budgeting and meal planning to dealing with family and work relationships. In addition, they will be given the opportunity to experience running their own home while still at Refilwe. Through this programme, Refilwe Community Project hopes to ensure that each of the graduates will be able to leave Refilwe confidently, with the life skills needed to achieve their dreams.
Corporates and individuals involvement is welcomed, both financially and through the organisation’s volunteering programmes. One of Refilwe Community Project’s major supporters, Discovery Health, utilises the organisation’s extensive grounds and horticultural operations as its new employee induction training once a month. Through this partnership, Refilwe is able to accomplish many projects on induction days, and the employees of Discovery are introduced to the vision of social responsibility which is central to their company’s ethos.
To view Refilwe Community Project in the Prodder NGO Directory, click here