Zisize began with one volunteer, Niki, who won UNISON’s Bob Cotton Award in 2002 for services to the community of Ingwavuma (pictured left with Bill King presenting her award). It has grown with local people becoming volunteers at Zisize's centres. Sbongiseni was our first. Khanyisile, Phiwo, Nana, Sindi, Lindiwe, Bongiwe, S’thembile and Xoli followed. All went on to be employed by Zisize.

S'bongiseni (below) worked at the tiny room where we first began and left only because she was accepted for nurse training.

Khanyisile (above left) came to us in 2000 and carried out both preschool teacher and librarian roles for a prolonged period. She maintained standards alone for five months when two of Niki's immediate family in UK had strokes in 2000 and she was needed there. Phiwo (above right) began as our preschool teacher, is now our admin assistant and is soon to become our youth worker.

Sindi (below) also left us to start nursing training. Here she is helping a teacher but she also ran activities at the centre.

Nana (above) began as a temporary replacement for Khanyisile when she had training and continued as after school helper until 2005.

Xoli, Bongiwe and S'thembile (below) run all the activities at Manyiseni Centre. They were extremely committed volunteers and are now valued employees.

Zisize is sustained by Ingwavuma volunteers, including Hlengiwe (pictured left with children from Ekukhanyeni), without whom none of Zisize’s work would have been possible; and Bridget, who although employed by Zisize, does a huge amount over and above her job of Educational Development Officer. Here she  is (on the right) with her adopted children.

Many community members in Majwayiza gave their labour voluntarily to build Niki's house. Similarly many of them and their children, volunteered during the building of the new centre. Below are children who receive school uniform and/or food from Zisize, helping load blocks onto the bakkie.

2006 sees Jaime & Sylvia from Ingwavuma joining the team of volunteers.

Our first overseas volunteer in 2002 was Ellie, who came to us for three months of her gap year and worked as nursery assistant at Zisize preschool; helped judge the Learning is Fun competition; did netball coaching; and assisted in running a holiday play scheme at Zisize Centre.

Overlapping with her, was Menna who came for three months in 2002 before commencing her PGCE course. She worked at Mpontshini preschool class as their teacher; helped organise the holiday play scheme and after school activities at Zisize Centre.

Next came a group of 3 educators from Maesgwyn and Ty Coch special needs schools in South Wales. They spent 3 weeks of their summer holidays with us in 2003. They worked mainly at Zisize centre, giving ideas to staff and running after school activities but also spent time at Mpontshini’s special needs class.

Karen (above with children all covered in paste!), not only volunteered but also encouraged her former school, Maesgwyn and current school Greenfield and High St Baptist chapel to fund raise for Zisize.

Katie & Marie Claire (below) with children at Zisize.

All three visited the special needs school at Bhambhanana.  As a result of this visit and the photos they took back, Phil, a school physiotherapist in Wales, was motivated to collect a huge amount of equipment in excellent condition, which was no longer used in UK because the models had been updated.

In 2004 Karen and Marie-Claire got free use of a van from Pontyclun Van Hire and drove it to the Atlantic Movers-sponsored container in London. The photo (below) shows the outcome: children in properly designed chairs, matched to meet their needs by Mosvold Hospital’s physiotherapist. They even had desk attachments. Previously they had to sit on the floor (see photo on right).

Next in 2003 came Menna, for the second time, with her brother Gareth and Siwan. They worked at Mpontshini School in the mornings doing individual work with the children in the special needs class, co-teaching older classes, doing sport, and in the afternoons running activities at Zisize Centre.

Phillipp, a German post-graduate student at Goodenough College, London, came for only a few days with Luigina (both left), an Italian journalist, but they too made an impact at the local high school and by spreading the word about Zisize to their home countries.

November 2003 saw the arrival of Jenny (right), a Canadian, and Wenche (below), a Norwegian, post-graduate students from Goodenough College.

They introduced drama workshops and mask making to Zisize Centre and Mpontshini and left a wonderful legacy behind them after only a week’s intensive work.

Next in 2004 came 14 graduate trainees from DTC London and two consultants (Mike Peckham and David Cooper) from PSA Training & Development / Lumus360, Chepstow. The trainees had funded a satellite centre at Manyiseni and ended up helping to build it as well, assisting the local builder to speed up the completion and enable them to leave an equipped, working centre behind them!

In addition, Mike repaired our computer, got the laminator working, assessed each child in the special needs class, helped the teacher to draw up individual programmes and made a tree swing.

Dave Cooper repaired Niki’s plumbing, assisted by Ekukhanyeni children! (below) and supervised building at Manyiseni.

Tony made goal posts

Chris, Tony, Simon and Dave Johnson taught teachers from 150 schools how to play and then teach rugby, cricket and athletics.

Tony & Chris (above) - rugby
Tony,Chris, Simon & Dave J (above)

Liz, Celina and Nerys worked in schools and at the centres, as did others when free.

Nerys (above) at Mpontshini Special Needs Class
Liz (above) telling stories to Mpontshini children
Celina (above) encouraging children at Zisize centre to draw


All three (right) with children at Mpontshini

Jonathan, Mike, Vikram, Maria, Marcus, Dave C, Nicholas, James and George erected fences, installed windows, did the glazing and painting and all 14 pitched in for the final week.

Marcus inside & Dave C outside (above)
Maria, Nerys, Vikram and Majwayiza volunteers (above)
Nicholas (above)
Jonathan (left), James (above) and George (right)
The whole team is pictured below.
Back row (left to right):- Dave J, Chris, Simon, Dave C (Lumus360), Marcus, Nick (DTC manager), Nicholas, James
Middle row:- Mike (PSA), Jonathan, Vikram
Front row: George, Liz, Maria, Tony, Celina, Nerys

For photos of the Centre please visit the Zisize Centre at Manyiseni page.


Our next volunteer was Leah (right) from America, who came in 2004 and worked alongside centre staff and helped to catalogue books, teach computer skills and run activities. She was also a big hit with the children at Ekukhanyeni.

Leanne & Jai, post-graduate students from Birmingham, also came in 2004 and undertook a music project. Before coming they raised funds for us by spending a whole day tied together, bound and gagged!

Jenny returned in 2004 with her boyfriend Steve (below) and together they conducted drama workshops and discussion groups about teenage risk taking/relationships/pressures. They hope to get funding to continue this invaluable work, aimed at reducing teenage pregnancies and HIV infection in young people. If anyone is interested in supporting this wonderful venture, please let Niki know.

Fernando from Peru and Erlend from Norway, both post-graduate students at Goodenough College, came in April. They performed miracles in two weeks – Erlend with maths teaching, helping children with homework and Salsa teaching; and Fernando, who taught local people to build kitchen units and to tile and in so doing, created a kitchen and tiled bathroom for Niki and volunteers who have been staying at her house this year. He also did some martial arts teaching for the girls.
They both fitted a solar water tank, so if we ever get water again, that will be a real boon! Meanwhile they proved to be as strong as Zulu women and carried their own water to the house!

Jenny and Steve's work was continued in 2005 by two Chilean volunteers from Goodenough College – Catalina & Paulo, who also worked with the younger children at Ekukhanyeni to develop self confidence through drama. In addition Catalina worked with children and teachers at Mpontshini on maths teaching and both helped with painting the centre.

Catalina's birthday was an excuse for a party (below)
Catalina & Liz (above) with Ekukhanyeni children after a hard day's work, painting the new centre!
Paulo in action (below)

Will from Bristol came to us in May and left behind a beautifully painted table tennis top to remind us of him - unfortunately we have no photos of him.

Later in the year Eva (from Iceland) and Helii (from Estonia), both students at Goodenough College spent ten days with us - also no photos, sorry.


Ben, Frederique, and their children Chloe, Max & Noe came in 2005 and in addition to volunteering, brought an LCD projector, a gift from France Telecom's Contents Division. Here is the first cinema show (below) with Max, Chloe and Fredy joining the audience.
Jenny, Emma & Ann (left), former pupils of Monmouth Girls School, were instrumental in collecting 2005's container load and then came to Ingwavuma for 10 days to run play activities and help with painting Ilanga and Ekukhanyeni (and themselves!)

2005 also saw the arrival of our first Medway Towns Soroptimists. Their club had funded the building of the two volunteer houses but unfortunately lack of water had delayed building, so they had to stay with Niki and cope with small amounts of water to wash with (spot the potty!). Clothes washing was done at the river. (See Wanda right and below left)

They helped cook meals at Ekukhanyeni (above right), deliver food to families and ran a holiday play scheme for the local children.

Judy (above) with children at the play scheme (left) and delivering food (right)

Liz (seen right with two of Ekukhanyeni's children), who is Nerys’ mother, retired early to be able to come and spend two months with us from September to November 2005 and gave invaluable help to Senzeni, our pre school leader. She even tackled 75 non English speaking pupils in Grade 1 of Mpontshini!

Zisize has grown phenomenally due to the influx and interest of overseas volunteers, who have taken us to their hearts.
SIYABONGA KAKHULU to every single one of them.
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