Hand Of Friendship: A Winnie Mabaso Update


Our friends at the Winnie Mabaso Foundation are still dedicating themselves to improving the lives of disadvantaged men, women and children in South Africa. And they’re able to do that thanks to the fabulous generosity shown to them over the years by “Friend” readers who have taken this very good cause to their hearts.

I know you will all be eager to hear how the communities you support have been faring in these testing and stressful times.

Below is an update from Winnie Mabaso Foundation CEO Lisa Ashton. This was first published in “The People’s Friend” in our January 9, 2021 issue.

Hello, everyone, and a very happy 2021 to all of you. I hope that this year will hold fewer challenges than 2020 did for us.

I don’t know about you, but a new year always fills me with hope and optimism.

And I am delighted to tell you that after my last update, readers of “The People’s Friend” raised a further staggering £7,000.


Photograph courtesy of the Winnie Mabaso Foundation.

Greeted with cheering and tears of gratitude

This meant we were able to provide over 350 families in need with grocery packs to last them for one month. Along with essential food items, each pack contained soaps and handwash for laundry, too.

As Team Mabaso delivered your groceries they were greeted with cheering and tears of gratitude. Mothers shared with them how their children had been going to bed on empty tummies. Hunger has been a real problem.

The difference you made is immeasurable – so thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kindness.

To date we have delivered over 3,000 grocery packs – each one costing £20. This is something we will continue doing for the foreseeable future, as families are still desperately struggling.

If you would like to continue supporting this initiative, we would love to hear from you.

I have been unable to return to South Africa since last March, due to COVID-19 restrictions.  It has been very hard to be away from the children and community, but the team in South Africa have been doing such a wonderful job of keeping everything running smoothly.

Some of them have even left their own families to live in at the orphanage, to ensure the children are protected during the lockdown.

It has afforded me the luxury of spending time with my own family in the UK, but I hope it’s not too long until I can return to South Africa.

Regular video calls help, but they aren’t the same as being there in person. The children at Ilamula Orphanage have started returning to school, but classes alternate from week to week, so we are continuing with home schooling and private tuition, too.

We are very conscious that we do not want them to fall behind through no fault of their own.


Photograph courtesy of the Winnie Mabaso Foundation.

Still finding lots of time to play and have fun

We are still finding lots of time to play and have fun and, as always, the yard is filled with the sound of children’s laughter.

Three of our young supporters cycled from the UK to France over the summer to raise funds for us.

With the money they raised, we have also been able to provide several underprivileged local children with tablets and remote Wi-Fi adapters for them to study at home.

This has made a significant difference to them, particularly as our Home Work club remains closed for now.

One exciting piece of news that I can share with you is that “BBC Breakfast” presenter Dan Walker has written a book called “Remarkable People”. We were over the moon that he dedicated an entire chapter to the Winnie Mabaso Foundation.

Dan visited the orphanage in 2010 when he was reporting from the World Cup in South Africa, and his trip made a marked impression on him.  He even appeared on “The One Show” and spoke about our work. How wonderful was that!

Whilst most of our project work on the informal settlement of Meriting remains closed, we have slowly been able to start some initiatives again.

Photograph courtesy of the Winnie Mabaso Foundation.

Thank you to every single one of you

We have been able to reopen the pre-school, but with limited numbers to adhere to social distancing measures. We have 10 of our tiny tots attending, but we miss having a full classroom.

Every Wednesday we have been able to prepare a hot meal for members of our granny club, and the team hand-deliver these to their homes. It also gives them the opportunity to check up on their wellbeing.

We have also been able to reinstate our Friday Night Feeding Station where over 850 community members come and collect a hot meal from our centre.

Once again, we have put strict social distancing measures in place to protect both our team and the community members. It has been wonderful to be able to provide a hot, nutritious meal to them after so many months.

Our gardening team have been able to continue working and we are using a lot of the beautiful home-grown organic vegetables in the meals we are preparing for the community.

Thank you to every single one of you who has sent donations and lovely messages of support. They have kept me going on the darker days.

I will write soon. In the meantime, please keep safe and well. As always, in Mabaso Love,


How you can help

The Foundation requires donations to fund its projects and vital work. You can donate:

  • By cheque: Please make cheques payable to the Winnie Mabaso Foundation. Send your cheques to 78 North Road, Glossop, Derbyshire SK13 7AU.
  • Online: www.winniemabaso.org

You can also contact Lisa by phone: 01457 891498 or by e-mail: Lisa@winniemabaso.org

For more on the Winnie Mabaso Foundation, click the tag below.

Iain McDonald

Iain is Digital Content Editor at the "Friend", making him responsible for managing flow of interesting and entertaining content on the magazine's website and social media channels.