Children are dying because they are migrants

COVID-19 has, unfortunately, shown us how many gaps there are in the Children’s Act of 2005, which is meant to provide all children in South Africa with basic rights.

As per the South African Constitution’s Bill of Rights, section 28, all children in South Africa are entitled to several rights such, as basic nutrition, shelter, basic health care services and social services, as well as to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation to name a few.

According to Outreach Foundation’s programme manager for the counselling department, Ethel Munyai, this Act certainly does not cover migrant children.

“I am totally despondent as these rights are just on paper but not actioned. We work with migrants in South Africa and a case we recently came across involved four children who were malnourished due to their parents being unable to work and earn an income during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“I was pushed from pillar to post as no one wanted to help.

“I approached several agencies that deal with children’s welfare, and even they were not interested, which really surprised me.

“These four children are just a few of thousands who are battling to survive.

“I eventually found out that the children have to be moved into temporary safe care, which is court-sanctioned, before people will even think of stepping in and this is not a quick process.”

Munyai said that she eventually managed to find a hospital that agreed to assess the children’s health.

“One of the children was immediately admitted as her situation was so serious, and the other two children will receive out-patient care and were taken to a shelter. But for the one child, it was too late.

“My heart breaks for that child and his parents. I cannot believe that he had to die because he comes from a migrant family. He was born in South Africa, but they battled to get him registered.”

According to Munyai, the situation for migrants in South Africa is dire, especially during this time.

“COVID-19 has been bad for everyone in the country, but for migrants, it has other consequences such as being unable to sort their papers out. This makes it hard for them to access health care or employment.

“The consequences of not being able to sort their documentation out results in situations like this, where children are affected and are dying.

“All children, whether they are South African or not should be afforded the rights that are stated in the Act, but that’s not happening.

“They say you can judge a country by the way they treat their children. If that is the case, we are a sad, sad country. I wish for the day that all children in this country are treated equally and are given the opportunity to live a good and healthy life.”

The Outreach Foundation Counselling Centre has provided essential mental health services and support to migrants and South Africans in Johannesburg and Pretoria before and during the pandemic.

Thousands of children are dying because of red tape with regard to migrants
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Gift of the Givers as well as the aged, the visually impaired & a children’s home, get much-needed masks

Gift of the Givers receive masks from Outreach Foundation

More than 5,700 masks were donated over the past month to organisations, homes and individuals in Johannesburg by Hillbrow-based non-profit organisation, Outreach Foundation.

Since the organisation was allowed to resume work during lockdown 4, it has made more than 21,500 masks.

Over 9,000 masks have been donated to several organisations, schools and individuals by Outreach Foundation in its bid to help others stay safe during this scary time.

During the first weeks of July,  it donated 80 masks to Cyrildene Primary School, 300 masks to Tswelopele Frail Care, a nursing home in Hillbrow, 200 masks to the Johannesburg Society for the blind, 50 masks to Twilight Children’s Home in Hillbrow and hundreds more to migrants and individuals in Pretoria as well as in Hillbrow.

On Mandela Day, 18 July 2020, Outreach Foundation’s staff walked around High Point in Hillbrow, and distributed 200 masks to those who were without as well as to the needy living on the streets.

During the last week of July, the organisation donated a further 5,000 masks to Gift of the Givers Foundation, which is the largest disaster response non-governmental organisation of African origin. Allauddin Sayed of Gift of the Givers was overjoyed at the donation stating that the masks would go a long way in helping people during this time.

The rest of the masks were donated in the months before, and more masks will be donated going forward.

The Outreach Foundation would like to thank the ELM Hermannsburg and Bread for the World for their generous donations which allowed the organisation to help so many people.

If you would like to assist us in reaching more people with masks, food, or counselling, please purchase a mask from us or donate. Go to our website outreachfoundation.co.za/wp/donate/ or email us on orders@outreachfoundation.co.za or call us on 011 720 7011.

Outreach Foundation donated masks to Tswelepele Nursing Home
Outreach Foundation donated masks to the homeless and other needy people

80 more masks donated

Outreach Foundation donated 80 masks to Cyrildene Primary School

We have donated 80 masks to Cyrildene Primary school.

Over the past year, our social worker intern helped the children at the school with a number of issues. We just needed to give back some more.

Thanks to all our amazing donors who have helped us help others!

If you would like to donate so that we can assist more people, please click here

Thank you to Arrowhead Properties Ltd!

We would like to extend a great big THANK YOU to Arrowhead Properties Ltd for their very generous donation.

They contributed towards the Food Walk initiative spearheaded by Monique Dalka. (Thanks again Monique!)

If you’d like to help us by donating, you can use the following QR code

or go to our donations page for more information

Photo by Courtney Hedger on Unsplash

Yet more burglaries at Outreach Foundation

As the country heads towards 100 days of lockdown due to COVID-19 and more sectors are opened for business, there is one form of business that has not stopped, even during lockdown phase 5: burglary!

Since lockdown began, which is in its 96th day today (29 June 2020), the Outreach Foundation has been hit with four burglaries. Two of which happened in the last seven days.

Last week several of the organisation’s solar panels were stolen. Over the weekend, yet more panels were stolen.

“In addition to the loss of the solar panels, the damage done to our property when the thieves take them is crippling. We are at our wits end!” says Robert Michel, Executive Director of Outreach Foundation.

Each loss experienced by the organisation takes a hit on the funds it would use to help the communities it serves.

“It also impacts each employee in the organisation,” says Michel.

“Many companies and organisations are closing down due to the economic losses experienced during the lockdown, and we are not immune to this. Although we are a not for profit organisation, we rely on funds to come in from companies and other donors. When they battle, it impacts us. Every cent we receive has to be carefully managed. Continued losses through burglaries could cause retrenchments.

“We urge those who wish to rob us to consider the hundreds of people that will be affected by their actions!”

Great news!

Our computer classes have resumed under strict COVID-19 protocols.

Computer classes have begun at Outreach Foundation again under strict COVID-19 regulations.

More great news!

A new bricklaying course will start at the end of June 2020 – also under strict COVID-19 protocols.

Bricklaying will start at Outreach Foundation at the end of June 2020.

Some photos of how our staff are coping with COVID-19 restrictions at work

South Africa has moved from level 5 lockdown, where those who were not essential workers had to remain at home, to level 3 with more people allowed to work as long as certain rules and regulations related to COVID-19 have been enforced.

Outreach Foundation has taken the necessary steps and have set up areas at each entry point with hand wash and have increased the amount of cleaning that occurs on the premises, including sanitising anything that hands may have touched.

Staff are required to wear masks at all times and social distancing is enforced. No person is allowed to enter the premises without a mask and everyone at Outreach Foundation is required to have their temperature checked regularly.

Our activities have been cut drastically due to the restrictions, so we are focusing on counselling and making face masks at this time, as well as any digital activities that are possible. One such digital activity is a collaboration with Royal Central School of Speech and Drama where we are connecting with participants of our after-school and in-school performing arts programmes and sharing videos made by them on Facebook.

Thank you Monique Dalka!

Monique Dalka raised thousands of rands for Outreach Foundation's food voucher initiative and we thank her!

A huge thank you to Outreach Foundation’s champion, Monique Dalka!

During South Africa’s level 5 lockdown, she embarked on an initiative to raise funds for food vouchers for Outreach Foundation.

She set herself a goal of walking 12km per day for 12 days. During the 12 days, however, she often walked more than her daily goal and would share what she found or saw along her walks on Instagram, and encouraged people to sponsor her walk.

At the end of May, she completed her Food Walk and when she tallied up her sponsorship for the walk, she had raised R70,000 – of which 2,500 Euro came from the Lutheran Church in Alsace, France!

We are extremely grateful to Monique for her selfless act and for raising much-needed funds so that we could purchase food vouchers for the needy.

~ Robert Michel, Executive Director for Outreach Foundation


A little background on Monique’s involvement with Outreach Foundation:

Monique was there in the beginning, and in her words, she talks about her incredible connection to Outreach Foundation.

Kids week came about, if I remember, in 1999. At that time, my husband George was called to start the Lutheran Outreach Project with the support of Gertrud and Detlev Toensing who were the pastors of the Friedenskirche.

We knew we had to reach out. But how and to whom? We decided on kids first. The church of Peace in Hillbrow was like an oasis of peace amidst high buildings and noisy surroundings. We used this safe place and invited kids to come and participate in Kids’ Week. The aim was to offer kids from 6-12 years the opportunity to experience the feeling of being special and of being loved by God. We did this through friendship, acknowledgement, games, learning songs together, listening to bible stories, talking about it, praying, doing handcraft, drama, dances, and sharing a meal. These Kids’ Weeks happened three times a year during school holidays, and each one had a theme. One highlight for me was in the theatre where we offered individual prayers for the kids who asked for it. There was silence; a “holy” silence. I can still feel that sacred moment and place now. Another highlight was the celebrations in the Hillbrow Theatre where all parents were invited to come and see what the kids were doing. Also, the march through the streets of Hillbrow with posters and songs to reach out to other kids and to share their joy and messages of hope is another fond memory.

It was empowering and humbling to have witnessed Kids’ Week grow from 20 to 50 to 100 and then to 350 kids, as well as the number of volunteers increase to more than 60. I am thankful for all the years of Kids’ Weeks I experienced as they made me the person I am today. I also want to thank all the volunteers, including my own children who gave their time and energy as well as shared their faith, love and talents with the kids of Hillbrow.

Some time ago, I heard someone calling me while I was at Doppio Zero; “Auntie Monique!” I turned around and saw a handsome young man calling me. It turned out he was a little boy I invited to join Kids’ Week during a march through Hillbrow many years ago. I did not remember, but he did. He is now studying at Damelin College. Tears of gratefulness gathered in the corners of my eyes. It made me think about whether we are aware of the power of our behaviour or our words? Or how our love for children and people in general, or even our trust in God and life can make a difference in someone’s life.

In closing, I greet all the readers with the Kids’ Week song that has been sung for many years: “Fear not for I am with you!” Bless you, Monique.


Again, we’d like to thank you, Monique, for your continued efforts in working for the people of the inner city and those that need assistance, and for being our champion!

Monique Dalka walks for Outreach Foundation

The thank you photo is by Wilhelm Gunkel on Unsplash

We are on ‘fire’ with our mask-making!

Outreach Foundation has made almost 8,500 masks.

The Outreach Foundation has produced almost 8,500 masks since it was allowed to make them during South Africa’s lockdown.

Working with a small team of staff, the organisation’s high-quality masks have been in much demand with more than 2,300 face masks sold and orders coming in for more.

In addition, thanks to various sponsors, Outreach Foundation has been able to donate 675 masks to migrants and the Community Policing Forum, with plans to continue to donate to the needy and to organisations that make a difference to the greater community, such as the policing forum.


The Outreach Foundation would like to thank all those who have generously contributed to the organisation’s efforts with both its face mask and food voucher initiatives so far, in particular,

Bread for the World for their very generous donation;

Monique Dalka, a longtime champion for the organisation, who raised a lot of funds through her Food Walk; and

Phillippe Olza, from Basel, Switzerland who worked with Outreach Foundation in 2015 when he organised the Geneva Ballet Tour and had studio-rehearsals at Outreach Foundation.

If you would like to order masks email us at orders(at)outreachfoundation.co.za or if you’d like to donate to the cause and help us do more:

Police cause break-in nightmare

During the level 5 lockdown, the country was told that the addition of the army would help the police in enforcing law and order. In addition, we were also told that crime had reduced drastically in the country due to the lockdown. In reality, however, businesses throughout the country were vandalised and hundreds of thousands of Rands worth of goods taken. Outreach Foundation was, unfortunately, part of those statistics, though up to now, an unregistered one.

While some police officers in South Africa are overzealous in carrying out their duties, others certainly are not.

We had two break-ins on our premises during stage 5 of the lockdown. A few thousand Rands worth of equipment was taken not to mention the damage done to the areas involved.

Our dealings with the local police station on these break-ins have, sadly, not been good. When we had the first burglary, our call to 10111 was taken quickly, but we waited in vein for the police to come to the premises. After two days, we called 10111 again. The call centre operator asked us if this was the first time we were calling, clearly showing disbelief and that nothing was documented the call centre’s side.

One of our programme managers decided not to wait any longer and drove directly to the Hillbrow police station only to ‘hit his head against a wall’ again as the Hillbrow SAPS refused to open a case. He was told to go back to the crime scene and call 10111. He was further told that the call centre would then send a police vehicle to the premises. Third time lucky as this time, a police vehicle was finally sent. By now, however, days had already passed.

The police officers checked out the scene and although displaying empathy and sadness for our loss as they looked at the broken windows, drops of blood and other damage, said they couldn’t open a case.

A week later, we had another break-in. We called 10111 again, and this time, the police arrived twenty minutes later. However, in this instance we were now told to go to our local police station (Hillbrow SAPS) to open a case as they were too busy to attend to this break-in or open a case. We were perplexed at this and very frustrated.

Off our programme manager went again. This time, although at the same police station where we were told we could not open a case before, we now managed to open a case. After doing so, we were referred to a detective. We explained our experiences over the past two weeks with the police regarding the break-ins and what we were told, and he openly admitted that what we had experienced was a classic case of police incompetency.

He said that the police should’ve been there that same morning of the break-in while the evidence was fresh and at the last resort, the police that arrived at the scene of the first break-in should have opened a case right then and there. They also should have called forensics to dust for fingerprints and gather other evidence. This would be essential in not only finding the perpetrators but also when prosecuting the person once captured. The chances of the police capturing the offenders now are very slight because of this incompetency.

Although we have opened two cases, we have little confidence that anything will actually happen given the glaring incompetencies experienced.

We also wonder whether police are emphasising too much on minor infractions of lockdown rules, and ignoring the major issues occurring which has devastating impacts on businesses and people on the long run.

Our hope with this account of our experiences is that others who are told the same things we were are now armed with information that will help them fast-track opening cases in the event of a robbery.

  • If the police haven’t arrived within hours of calling the emergency call centre, follow-up with another call, or more;
  • Once the police have arrived, remember that they should call forensics in. If they haven’t, query that; and
  • The police at the scene should open a case right then and there. If they haven’t or won’t, query that.

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Bill Oxford

Dealing with anticipated grief in a post lockdown society

Corona Virus (COVID-19) does not discriminate, it can affect anyone.

By Johan Robyn

Johannesburg, Saturday, 4 April 2020 – The impact of the COVID-19 Virus on humanity will be immensely felt in all spheres of society. The most significant impact, in my opinion, will be from a mental health level of how we, as a global society, effectively deal with our grief. Globally the focus now is on the physical lockdown, flattening the infection curve and saving economies, but in post lockdown societies, I estimate that with current high levels in death, the biggest challenge globally is going to be how we as a world and society deal with our anticipated grief mentally.

The way how we deal with our anticipated grief lies in how mentally strong we are as a global and local society.

As a symbol of mourning their death, the Chinese government paid public tribute to the over 3,000 deaths it has experienced. This act also acknowledged the grief experienced by its citizens and the country. Somehow, publicly, this was a step in the right direction in dealing with grief, but what about the individual going home to that empty space once inhabited by a loved one who died?

The death rate at present stands at over 70,000 people globally from this Virus. The percentage, one may think, is not that high compared to the numbers who have contracted the virus, but when one takes into account the mental impact of not mourning and dealing with one’s grief for the more than 70,000 families, one realises what impact this will directly have on an already crippled workforce in struggling economies globally.

In 2014 while visiting Germany, I visited the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, close to Hermannsburg. The tour guide, through his predictable and prescribed script, mentioned thousands of people being buried in unmarked graves. Still, in his voice, I could hear the uncomfortable sympathy of mourn and grief that was not adequately dealt with. A grief that the Jewish nation regularly visits and still, today, struggles to deal with.

Similarly, behind the museums and the cold stone statues of remembrances in Rwanda, after the 1994 Rwandan genocide where millions of people were brutally killed, lies emotions of grief that has not been dealt with by those left behind. The same can be said of the Tsunami a few years back that killed millions of people, or even the Ebola outbreak. The list can, unfortunately, go on.

So how do we deal with anticipated grief?

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, in her profound work, Death and dying, gave us a guided journey of grief, with her theory of the five stages of grief, namely denial, anger, depression, bargaining/decision and acceptance. Although her stages of dying are not a strict process leading to acceptance, it can also be seen as an up and down process.

Globally and locally, the world and our communities will be stuck with depression and bargaining during the following period post the COVID-19 Virus.

This will occur firstly as a result of the two-meter social distancing we have had to ensure we create, which has meant that we have lost the emotional touch and presence which is so crucial in dealing with death and secondly, as a result of losing our traditional rituals of mourning. It is these rituals that take us through Kubler-Ross`s stages of death, and ultimately to public acceptance.

In this morning`s news (Saturday, 4 April 2020), it was mentioned that Ecuador has a current death rate of 30 people a day. The local mortuary does not have space for the deceased, and the government has, therefore, had to build death camps, to accommodate 2,500 to 3,000 bodies. This is extremely sad and the families will, I’m sure, battle to come to terms with their loved one’s deaths as a result.

With our inability to effectively deal with anticipated grief, our already torn moral fibre will continue to split into an irreversible stage in our mental weakness.

It is complicated and difficult to predict the number of people who will die as a result of this Virus, but with current infection rates experienced so far, I think it is safe to say the worst is yet to come.  And globally, post lockdown, our biggest challenges will not only be the economic turmoil caused, but how we mentally deal with grief. More than a million people have been infected by the COVID-19 Virus so far, and hundreds of thousands, I’m sure, affected by the deaths caused by it.

Outreach Foundation’s thoughts are with all of our beneficiaries, partners and sponsors. We wish you good health going forward.

Remember: Stay safe, keep your distance and wash your hands regularly.

We can’t wait to see you soon.

For more information on the Corona Virus in South Africa and what the government is doing, go to: https://sacoronavirus.co.za/

Temporary closure

Temporary closure of Outreach Foundation

Creating opportunities one nail at a time

The Outreach Foundation nail course started in the middle of February 2020. It is the first course of its kind the organisation has offered, and the response has been incredible. Both men and women registered for the Introduction to Nail Technician course.

Run over five weeks, the course not only deals with manicures, pedicures, acrylics and gel but also covers other compulsory subjects. These subjects include the introduction to entrepreneurship, introduction to financial literacy, basic computers, leadership development as well as self-awareness and job preparedness. The compulsory subjects are part of each of the new courses the organisation now offers.

According to Johan Robyn, Outreach Foundation’s skills development programme manager, the new courses the organisation now offers, such as this one, is aimed at improving the employability for job seekers and those interested in entrepreneurship. 

“We felt that we needed to do something to help the many unemployed in our country. During our assessments with the people who come into our premises, we identified several courses that they felt would be helpful in either starting their own company or assisting them in getting a job.

“The response to this course shows us that our decision to offer it was a good one. And at the end of the course, those who wish to start their own nail business will go through our one-month entrepreneurial incubation hub where they will get mentorship, supervision, social media training and more. We aim to help start-ups as much as we can.”

The nail course trainer, Nicole Kisimba Nkulu, is no stranger to the industry or training. She has extensive experience not only with nails but as a beauty therapist. She worked in a salon and worked on the Refugee Children’s Project in 2018, where she taught some of the people how to do nails.

“I’m very excited to teach at Outreach Foundation. It is a really good course. It helps people live and survive as they get skills which help them start their own business. The course will encourage them to look at ways to use their skills such as renting space in a salon which will give them access to clients and a safe environment.”

Robyn said that Outreach Foundation would hopefully also offer a make-up course soon, which goes well with the nail course.

“If students complete both courses, the beauty entrepreneurs will be able to offer a full beauty service at weddings, parties and more. And if they do the sewing and fashion design courses, they will have even more to offer!”

Those interested in the next intake of the nail course or any of the other courses offered should contact Outreach Foundation on 011 720 7011 or email info@outreachfoundation.co.za.

The other courses Outreach Foundation offers are an introduction to sewing and fashion design; basic computer course; introduction to bricklaying; introduction to plastering; introduction to welding; introduction to carpentry; introduction to plumbing; point of sale; food preparation; introduction to urban farming and introduction to English. To view the training course pamphlet, go to www.outreachfoundation.co.za.

After School Dance Programme

Outreach Foundation is pleased to announce that we have offered alumni, Bigboy Ndlovu, a residency in our beautiful dance studio. As part of his residency he will conduct dance classes as part of the after-school programme and will conduct dance sessions at the Tswelopele Frail Care Centre in Hillbrow.

Bigboy first worked with the late Denny Dube and the 1st production he co-created and performed in was Under the Tree which performed at the EADS Festival and had performances at the Hillbrow Theatre. Since 2010 he has been a committed, focused and passionate participant. He remains loyal to the Outreach Foundation returning to volunteer on various productions. He also performed in We are Who We Are, which travelled to a children’s festival in Iran in 2013. Sadly, Bigboy was unable to go due to missing birth certificate papers. His continued participation in the project after this huge disappointment is testament to his commitment, resilience and dedication.

Bigboy proved his skills and commitment in many productions while participating in the Project. Highlights include working with Jean Paul Delore, French Theatre director who created a production, A Very Strong Present (2013), Sean Hart, French videographer and graffiti artist (2013), Lindiwe Matshkiza’s The Donkey Child (Bigboy was one of the puppeteers on the production who had the opportunity to travel to the National Arts Festival to meet the War Horse – 2014) and Dutch artists, Christiaan Bloem and Annemiek Funneman who created a children’s production, Maarten Mus, and performed at the National Arts Festival (Bigboy performed in the work as translator – 2014).

In 2014 he then performed in Nkosi uMzilikazi ka Mashobane, directed by Outreach Foundation facilitators, Gcebile Dlamini and Linda Mhkwanazi. In that same year he facilitated the Whitestone College (the school he studied drama group creating a dance focussed work,” Locked Down” for the Inner-City High Schools Drama Festival. The production was inspired by a dance work created and performed by Fana Tshabalala, which Bigboy saw at the NAF the previous year. He also performed in the work and was nominated for a Best Actor award.
In 2015, his matric year, he was not part of the programme and needed to focus on his studies. He was encouraged to apply to Moving into Dance training programme which he did and was accepted.

Gcebile Dlamini has invited Bigboy to work on three productions, My Silence is Talkative, Sounds Like You and Me and Twala. As stated above Bigboy generously volunteered to co-collaborate on these powerful productions. In 2017, Bigboy was invited to audition for a dance production, Hillbrowfication, choreographed by Constanza Macras and Lisi Esteras. This work, performed by participants, alumni and professional dancers (Dorky Park dancers), was first staged at the Hillbrow Theatre as part of the 30th anniversary of Dance Umbrella. It has since travelled to Germany, Italy and Spain. In 2018 he also took part in an Outreach Foundation collaboration at the My Body My Space Festival in Mpumalanga.

A most deserving candidate for a residency!

Youth “leadership development” Camp 2020

“Youth learn how to make good decisions by making decisions, not by following directions”
– Alfie Kahn
Outreach Foundation Youth “leadership development” Camp 2020