• Siyabonga


  • Siyabonga
  • Siyabonga
  • Siyabonga
  • Siyabonga


Our vision: creating a better future for orphaned and vulnerable children through education and care.


Siyabonga Helping Hands for Arica is committed to keeping the child at the centre of all we do, to make a difference to each one, giving them that helping hand up into their future. We are a SA registered NPO and PBO (2007) which has offices in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZuluNatal, South Africa. The Siyabonga Helping Hands for Africa Centres at Esigodini and Imbali are places where children can come for meals and participate in educational programmes, some of which focus specifically on upgrading English, Maths literacy and social activities that go beyond the school curriculum.

Siyabonga -Helfende Hande für Africa e.v. is a registered public benefit organisation in Germany whose primary role is fundraising. The majority of current funding comes from individuals, schools, businesses and charitable foundations in Germany. The German board is the conduit for all correspondence between German sponsors and children and has a close working relationship with the South African team.

Long Term Goals

  • For 100% of our children to remain in school and pass matric as we know that passing matric improves job prospects.
  • Increase the local funding base going forward, to win over individuals, schools, businesses and charitable foundations based in South Africa to support us.

The operational arm of Siyabonga Helping Hands for Africa has 35 paid staff spread amongst our office and the two Educational Centres in Esigodini and Imbali. The breakdown is as follows:

  • 1 General Manager
  • 1 Education Centre and Programme Manager
  • 4 Administration/accounting staff
  • 2 Field workers
  • 3 Social workers (1 qualified and 2 “almost” qualified)
  • 13 Teaching staff (qualified and unqualified)
  • 2 IT trainers
  • 5 General assistants
  • 2 Caretakers, 2 assistants
  • 2 Sewing instructors

Four young German volunteers work in South Africa each year. They play a supportive role in many aspects of our daily tasks such as shopping, home visits, correspondence with sponsors in German and fun/sporting activities at our centres. They pay to be here and are also subsidised by the German government.


“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” - Nelson Mandela

95% of South African children are attending school but outcomes are poor. Test results demonstrate problems with the quality of teaching and learning from the foundation phase onwards. In grade four (age 9), children shift from being taught in their mother tongue to English. Despite this, we have found learners in grade 10 (age 15) are not fluent in spoken and written English. As a result, their overall academic performance is negatively affected.

In South Africa, 60% of children live in households with an income of less than R575 per person per month. As a result, the communities we work in are poor and their schools are under resourced. Mr Msomi, Headmaster of one of our partner schools, Esigodini Primary School, commented on a number of key problems facing the school: overcrowding in the classroom, lack of discipline and poor results. The families of the 1303 children attending the school are affected by the high unemployment rate and can’t afford school uniforms or food, sending their children to learn on an empty stomach.


There are many orphaned and vulnerable children in the townships around Pietermaritzburg and we have refined the selection process over many years in order to identify those most in need.

Our strong relationships with the management and staff of the primary schools that are in close proximity to the centres at Esigodini and Imbali means they refer children in Gr 1 who they believe qualify for our help. These will be amongst the most needy of families. These children live in difficult social and economic circumstances, have few home comforts and live in either small RDP type houses or informal wattle and daub dwellings. In this difficult home environment assisting children is unlikely to be a high priority.

It is common for a child to have lost one or both of their parents and so he or she is now cared for by a relative such as a grandparent or an aunt. Our stringent selection process includes a home visit and the interviewing of the broader family to assess the family circumstances. Only at the end of the application process will a decision be made as to whether the child will be entered into the project. Once accepted, it is the start of a 12 year relationship.


Siyabonga Helping Hands for Africa was started in 2003 as part of Save a Child in Brazil by Rene Risch (a tour guide) in response to the request by predominantly German visitors to South Africa who wanted to help. The initial thinking was to help children who had been orphaned through the HIV/AIDS epidemic (affected not infected). The monthly sponsorship paid for school fees and a school uniform with a portion allocated to a monthly grocery shop for the family as you can’t educate hungry children.

Siyabonga Helping Hands for Africa became a South African registered NPO in 2007 with offices in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZuluNatal, South Africa and in Germany. Two Educational Centres were put in place, one in the township of Esigodini (2009) and the second in Imbali (2013). They are located close to, and each of them partners with, a primary school.

Much has changed in the last decade (including the role out of ARVs, increased access to social grants and the introduction of ‘no-fee’ schools) so we are adapting to these changes by focusing on the individual learner, reducing the welfare aspects of our programmes and implementing more formalised programmes in reading and writing in English and in Maths, working even harder to get these learners through their matric.