Portia Msamo – Our Reprentative in Hout Bay

The Fellowship was registered by the Charities Commission in the UK in October 2012.  Our remit then was Changing lives through sustainable development, a strap line that still holds good to-day.

We operate exclusively in South Africa, believing that we can achieve more by concentrating our efforts in one place.

During the first two years we covered three levels of activity simultaneously.

National Government

Using the healthcare planning and architectural experience of the Trustees, we worked with central government in South Africa to assist with their programme of healthcare design guide lines. We, also, led the judging of an international urban design competition using an urban site in Durban to encourage the integration of primary healthcare into city settings.

Provincial Governments

We held a number of workshops in London and South Africa with provincial government health and works personnel specialising in providing healthcare infrastructure.  The objective was to share experience and knowledge both internationally and between South African provinces in strategic health planning, briefing, design and procurement of new and refurbished health buildings.

Local Projects

In 2013 we started our third strand of activity, which is to concentrate in a particular location working on the ground with established charities to achieve specific goals.  Our vision was to use the skills of the Trustees to act as catalysts to empower and co-ordinate existing charitable activities to achieve more together working to definable agreed goals.

For this local enterprise, we chose Hout Bay on the outskirts of Cape Town, as in many ways this clearly defined community embodies the strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities of South Africa as a whole. We felt that if over time we could make a measurable difference to community life in Hout Bay, we could apply the principles learnt to other communities in South Africa and elsewhere in the world.

Over the past year we have done less work at central and provincial government level and concentrated our financial resources and Trustee experience on our local enterprise in Hout Bay. Whilst we are happy to ‘keep the door open’ to opportunities to contribute to national and provincial activities, our work in Hout Bay has become our focus.

There are over 80 charities operating in Hout Bay with a wide variety of remits and objectives. The Hout Bay Partnership (HBP) is an innovative grouping of local interests loosely based on the Cape Town Partnership, which has been widely credited for the recent economic and social transformation of the CBD area of Cape Town. Central Cape Town now feels extremely safe during the day and night, and has a growing number of burgeoning businesses.

The HBP’s vision for Hout Bay is to be a prosperous, socially integrated community working together to make the most of the outstanding assets of a beautiful place easily accessible from Cape Town.  The current population is severely held back by historical cultural and racial divides. This vision matches the aspirations of the Fellowship exactly, so we have developed a twin track approach that supports the HBP objectives.

Town Planning Approach

From the top down, we have offered the HBP town planning expertise to help them develop strategies to make the most of Hout Bay’s physical assets including the impressive waterfront.  The Fellowship has funded a visit to Hout Bay from London based Marcus Wilshere of the IBI Group, who presented the HBP with alternative urban planning approaches drawn from worldwide precedents.

Social Integration Emphasis

From the bottom up, we are currently focussing on education and social support and we plan to expand this remit to also cover employment and housing, we aim to act as catalysts for social change by helping existing charities working in the black township of Imizamo Yethu (IY) and the coloured township of Hangberg.  

At Little Angels in Hangberg we support very young children while their parents get help to cure themselves of crystal meth addiction. The after school home work club provided by Ikaya le Themba in IY, is a safe haven for 120 eight to fourteen year olds and welcomes parents seeking help. The inspirational Everyday Heroes Club opens up real alternatives for fourteen to eighteen year olds from IY.

The three charities each have strengths and challenges. In June 2015 we appointed Portia Msamo as our local representative with a significant part of her remit being to promote our ideas of social integration by facilitating the sharing of expertise between the charities. For example, the very young Little Angels can benefit hugely from the organisational experience of the Everyday Heroes.

Portia, a resident of IY, is doing a business studies degree with TSIBA and her work with the Fellowship helps funds her expenses. Mike and Nigel have a regular two weekly Skype linkup with Portia which is proving extremely useful to monitor and develop her links with the charities. They also provide her with mentoring on ways to improve her communication and management skills.

The Future

We feel we are making a small but measurable difference to the out of school education of some 200 pupils in Hout Bay. The children we help from tiny tots to eighteen year olds need further education and/or employment and the opportunity to live in decent housing. We do not intend to grow in size so we are looking at ways of encouraging the charities we support to become self sufficient so we can use our finite funds to contribute to inspiring employment and sustainable housing projects relevant to the future of young people in Hout Bay.

In parallel to this charity support work, we will continue to work with the HBP to develop a comprehensive new Concept Plan for Hout Bay that fits with the long term objectives of the Cape Town Municipality.

A significant part of our activities are concentrated on raising sufficient annual funds to support our programme.  We are focussing on sustainable long term fund raising initiatives, such as our 100 Club so we are less reliant of one off events like our Gala Dinner last year.  We would be very grateful for any support you can offer by donating to the Fellowship or joining the 100 Club. (Email to join).

Article written by Mike Nightingale – Chairman