Features Ed Blog: Winnie Mabaso Foundation

winnie mabaso foundation

In our current issue, we’ve got an update from the Winnie Mabaso Foundation by Lisa Ashton.

Our connection with Lisa and the Foundation has been one of our favourite collaborations of the last decade in the “Friend”.

It was over 5 years ago that Features Team member Liz worked with writer Dianne Boardman to bring us the Winnie Mabaso story. It was an instant hit with readers, who wanted to donate and know more about Lisa’s organisation.

The Foundation do amazing work supporting disadvantaged men, women and children in South Africa, particularly those affected by HIV.

Winnie herself looked after orphaned children, feeding them and caring for them. Lisa met her on a trip to make a documentary about the end of Apartheid, and Winnie asked if she could help fundraise. Lisa’s response was to establish a Foundation in her name, which has gone on to provide more help than anyone imagined.

Later, we chose the Foundation as our first “Hand of Friendship” partner, and ran a series of features in the magazine.

Then online, and ever since we feature an update or two per year from Lisa in the magazine.

It’s been incredibly touching to follow the story of how your generosity has made a difference. Your money has provided everything from teaching aids to blankets to keep folk warm in the winter.

Exceptional circumstances

The pandemic years have hit the Mabaso community hard.

First of all, Lisa hasn’t been able to get out to visit much. And Covid has had a big impact on South Africa.

Although vaccinations are now finally reaching all the communities, there are still challenges. ID cards are essential for people to receive their jabs, and many in rural communities simply don’t have one.

winnie mabaso foundation

Photograph courtesy of Lisa Ashton.

But the children have finally been able to return to school and pre-school. This makes a big difference to their mental health, of course.

Lisa tells us more about other news and challenges in this week’s feature, but her message is hopeful. With any luck, 2022 will bring the opportunity for Lisa to revisit the project once again and reunite with so many friends. And your generosity bought 500 blankets to keep vulnerable folk warm.

At this time of year, Lisa’s article feels especially important. All the Winnie Mabaso family in South Africa look forward to Christmas, and your generosity has made it a better one than they might have faced otherwise.

So our thanks to you, the readers, for your support – and Merry Christmas from us here in the Features Team and the “Friend” office.

How you can still 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

Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.