Winnie Mabaso Hand of Friendship Update

As we hear that “Friend” readers have raised over £19,000 for our Hand of Friendship campaign, we knew it was time for an update!

When The People’s Friend team chose their last Hand of Friendship charity, they had no idea of the wonderful friendship that would be created, let alone the generous donations that would be given.

In 2016, we reached out to the charity, The Winnie Mabaso Foundation, as part of our Hand of Friendship campaign and have been overwhelmed by the generosity shown by our community. CEO and founder, Lisa Ashton, wanted to keep readers updated with the charity and how their generous donations have been used.

Granny Club and Vegetables

As part of the campaign, readers could request exactly how their money was spent. Some readers opted to donate towards the veggie gardens, in memory of their loved ones. The gardens have been planted and are already providing the finest organic vegetables for underprivileged families.

Other readers asked to donate towards the Granny Club. A thriving support network for Grannies in South Africa, providing them with a weekly meal, entertainment, and a small gift. Some readers wanted to donate towards the sewing school, Sew Amazing, and Lisa is happy to report that is now open and inspiring new attendees.

Education is power

It was agreed that the remaining money would sponsor the Mabaso pre-school for a year. The pre-school accommodates 30 children from the settlement of Meriting, Johannesburg. The children live with parents, or grandparents, aunts and uncles in shack dwellings.

Every day, the children go to school and the new intake are currently learning the basics of education, shapes and colours! The school has running water and toilet facilities and this is proving a huge novelty for the children.

There are plans in place to provide the children with normal education opportunity with a trip to the zoo and picnics arranged for this year. Lisa will continue to update us throughout the year, and you can contact us at any time to find out how the foundation is doing.

A lasting legacy

The Winnie Mabaso Foundation is a charity started by Lisa Ashton, MBE, to protect and help children affected by AIDS/HIV in South Africa. The charity was established in 2004 by Lisa after a work trip to South Africa to make a TV programme highlighted the plight of the women and children living there. On meeting Winnie Mabaso, who was single-handedly providing love and care to orphans, Lisa started fundraising to provide a safe haven for her and her children.

To read more about the charity, head to the Winnie Mabaso Foundation page.


Karlie Simmonds

Karlie has worked in Digital Media for over 10 years, she is passionate about health and wellbeing and lives in Edinburgh with her partner, children, and Pug, Poppy.