Be prepared for the harsh winter elements

With the recent downpour in Cape Town dubbed #CapeStorm, disadvantaged communities remain vulnerable to the effects of harsh winter months. Local non-profit, Mustadafin Foundation has been committed for the past 31 years to serving and assisting communities affected by severe weather conditions. In partnership with the City’s Disaster Management Centre, the Foundation provides relief to those affected by floods and fires.

Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem, says, “During the recent storm in the Western Cape, we assisted over 500 families in disadvantaged communities. This is in addition to the 15 000 people we feed daily in New Horizon, Valhalla Park, Delft, Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha. The area that was hit the worst during the storm was Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay, where people had to move to a safer space as their homes got destroyed during the harsh winds. With the assistance of the City we were able to provide communities with much needed clothing, blankets and cooked food.”

The Foundation also donated water to residents in Knysna following the devastating fires.

The non-profit started its first winter warmth distribution in St Helena Bay on Saturday, 20 May 2017 and will continue to assist communities in the coming months by providing blankets, warm meals, gloves, beanies, scarves and socks.

“Knowing that winter is the coldest season of the year and although it comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival, particularly the frail and vulnerable. Young and old should be cautious during the winter season by preparing for harsh weather conditions,” says Johnstone-Cassiem.

Johnstone-Cassiem provides the following guidelines to keep warm and safe this winter:

1.     Keep the cold out

“Place a plastic bag between two socks to keep your feet warm and cover the windows with old newspaper and blankets to keep the winter draft out,” guides Johnstone-Cassiem.

2.     Beware of fire risk items

“Residents should be increasingly vigilant of frayed electrical wires on appliances, burning candles, paraffin heaters, matches, and fire places. These are all fire risks items, which have contributed to the recent fires that have devastated informal settlements in the Cape Peninsula. Make sure you extinguish fires before going to bed; never leave any fire unattended,” says Johnstone-Cassiem.

The Foundation’s winter warmth project is currently underway and Capetonians are encouraged to assist where possible. “Residents can assist by donating food, clothes, and blankets; items that will be much needed in disadvantaged communities during the harsh winter months,” concludes Johnstone-Cassiem.

To find out how you can assist and for more information on Mustadafin Foundation, call (021) 633 0010 or visit



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Fun for youth at Mustadafin Foundation’s ECD Sports Day

Over 500 children from Mustadafin Foundation’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres took part in fun sporting activities on Wednesday, 29 March 2017 as part of the non-profit organisation’s annual sports day. The Foundation’s ECD centres, together with external ECD centres, battled it out at the Mandela Park Stadium.

In a last effort to enjoy the warm weather, children aged between two and six years old took to the field and demonstrated their love for different sporting events; displaying their healthy sportsmanship. The air was filled with song and dance as the youngsters competed in a sack race, potato race, scooter race and relays.

“It is fantastic to see the joy in all of the children’s faces from a day of being active outside. Most of the children come from disadvantaged areas in the Cape Town area and we want to instil healthy, sustainable activities in their lives so that they can thrive. The children thoroughly enjoyed watching their teachers and parents taking part in the adult race, where teacher Soraya Twalingca took first place,” says Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem, Director at Mustadafin Foundation.

Mustadafin Foundation kept the promising future athletes nourished and refreshed with healthy snacks, juice and water.

The overall winners for the day were Sandanezwe Educare as well as Mustadafin Educare 1 and 2.

If you would like to be part of Mustadafin Foundation’s educational programmes, please contact them on 021-633-0010.

For more information on Mustadafin Foundation, visit

Educational excursions top of mind at Cape Town NGO

Learners from Mustadafin Foundation’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres in Cape Town, enjoyed their first outing for 2017 yesterday (22 February 2017) at Bugz Playpark in Kraaifontein. It was a fun-filled and educational day for the 367 ECD learners, aged between two and six years old, as they learned about all the different animals. The Foundation’s four ECD Centres located in Delft, Khayelitsha (Site B and S-Section) and Manenberg went on the day trip.

“The beautiful summer day was perfect to spend outdoors with the children. Educational activities that allowed the youngsters to learn about different animals such as sheep, rabbits and ducks took place throughout the day. Most importantly, they were taught how to look after the environment,” says Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem, Director at Mustadafin Foundation.

“Most of the children come from disadvantaged areas in the Cape Town region; we endeavour to teach them in a fun environment and run different excursions throughout the year. The outing was our first one for 2017 and the children thoroughly enjoyed the fresh air, while learning about different animals and how to care for them. Breakfast and lunch were provided to keep the children’s energy levels high,” concludes Johnstone-Cassiem.

For more information about the Foundation and how you can donate or volunteer, please visit or contact 021-633-0010. Mustadafin Foundation is also on Facebook

Western Cape non-profit against gender-based violence

Friday, 25 November 2016 marks the start of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. Mustadafin Foundation, a Western Cape non-profit organisation, is once again at the forefront in poverty-stricken communities in Cape Town to educate and raise awareness on gender-based violence.

Initiated in 1991 and coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, the campaign celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and takes place internationally from Friday, 25 November 2016 until Saturday, 10 December 2016.

Director of Mustadafin Foundation, Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem, says, “This year, our focus is not only on violence against women and children; we are focusing on men as well. We often overlook that everyone is susceptible to violence, regardless of their gender or age. We deal with numerous violent cases throughout the year, be it women, men or children.”

Education is a key focus for the Foundation and for the 16-day period they will create awareness on domestic violence as well as social, health and safety issues. World Aids Day is taking place on 01 December 2016 and the Foundation will have an awareness programme where youth, aged between 14 and 18 years living in Tafelsig and Delft, will be educated on HIV and AIDS.

“We are calling on all residents to advocate peace in the home not only for 16 days, but for 365 days. Without education, support and commitment, gender-based violence will not stop. We call on everyone to please report suspicious and violent crimes to the SAPS,” concludes Johnstone-Cassiem.

For more information on any of the programmes or to donate, please contact Mustadafin Foundation on 021-633-0010 or visit their website at Join their Facebook page at

Join Mustadafin Foundation in spreading joy this festive season

The festive season is around the corner and Western Cape non-profit organisation, Mustadafin Foundation is calling on the community to help put a smile on children’s faces by donating gifts to the less fortunate. The Foundation plans on making the festive season holidays a memorable one by providing age-appropriate gifts to 1000 children, between the ages of one and 18 years old, who are part of their Isibindi Child Care Programme in Tafelsig.

“Many of the children we work with in Tafelsig will not receive a gift this year. It is an area in Cape Town that is ravaged by poverty, crime, alcohol abuse, drugs and gangsterism. We are calling on corporates and individuals to sponsor gifts to brighten up the lives of these children,” says Ghairunisa Johnstone, Director of Mustadafin Foundation.

The Tafelsig Isibindi Child Care Programme is one of more than 300 programmes running nationwide which enables poorly resourced communities to develop effective protection services for children. During the school holidays children are often left unattended and at high risk of joining gangs, being caught in violence or suffer abuse. Volunteer care workers, trained through the Isibindi Programme, provide adult supervision and structured activities in designated areas; they are prepared to identify and refer any possible signs of child abuse.

“Since we started this project in August last year, it has been tremendously successful,” says Johnstone. “During this year, 16 children on the programme were accepted in schools in the Mitchells Plain area. We are thrilled that an additional 16 have been accepted to start school at Khanya College in Mitchells Plain next year with reduced fees. We are looking for sponsors who would like to join us in paying R200 a month for these school fees.”

To find out more about how you can help, contact the Mustadafin Foundation. “There is no greater reward than to give back to those who are deserving; let’s help these children have a joyous holiday period,” concludes Johnstone.

Please contact Mustadafin Foundation on 021-633-0010 or visit Join their Facebook page at

Celebrating 30-years of service in the Western Cape


Caption: It was a joyful evening at the Muizenberg Hall on Saturday, 08 October 2016 as local non-profit organisation, Mustadafin Foundation, hosted a Gala Dinner to celebrate their 30th year of bringing a positive change to the Western Cape community. Director of the Foundation, Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem (above, bottom image) was one of the founders who in 1986 realised that something had to be done to help less fortunate communities in the Province.

“It has been an incredible journey, especially when one looks back at how we started and what we are now able to do today. We believe in creating self-sufficient, self-reliant and independent citizens; we achieve this through extensive and high-calibre programmes run by our volunteers and staff,” explains Johnstone-Cassiem.


Caption: From left to right: Ashfaak Dawood, Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, Johnstone-Cassiem and Nazlie Berhardien at the Gala event.

Key stakeholders of the Foundation attended the Gala Dinner, including sponsors, donors and Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille. Johnstone-Cassiem acknowledged their support in a speech at the event: “Without your assistance, we would never have been able to make a difference in community members’ lives. All of us at the Foundation would like to thank you for the ongoing and invaluable support over many years.”  The Foundation also took the opportunity to thank four senior community members for their loyal contribution since 1986.


Caption: Youth from Mustadafin Foundation’s programmes entertained those in attendance with lively song and dance.

The non-profit provides educational programmes, skills training, disaster and poverty relief as well as youth and health development programmes throughout the year. The evening was in celebration of what has been achieved so far, but also the Foundation’s plans for the road ahead. The event was also held to raise funds to finalise the building and repair work to their new premises in Bridgetown.

“The success of our programmes are determined by our sponsors, particularly our corporate sponsors such as Pick n Pay, Standard Bank, Nedbank, Benjamin Transport, Retro Active, AMA, Absolute Rigging and A.K. Peer,” concludes Johnstone-Cassiem.

If you are able to make a donation or if you would like to find out more, contact Mustadafin Foundation on 021-633-0010 or visit Join their Facebook page at

The power of literacy

Illiterate adults living in disadvantaged communities of Cape Town are given a second chance with the help of Mustadafin Foundation’s Adult Literacy Programme. Community members are encouraged to face their fears and become confident, independent citizens through the power of literacy.

Non-profit organisation, Mustadafin Foundation’s Adult Literacy Programme has for the past 28 years enriched community members’ lives with the gift of literacy. Operating in Delft and Sherwood Park, the programme instils a sense of belonging; most of the participants are aged between 17 to 60 years and over the past three decades the programme has seen over 1000 adults taking ownership of their lives.

One such gentleman is 29-year-old Caleb Floris from Sherwood Park. In Grade 1, Floris fell behind on schoolwork due to illness. Albeit an A in mathematics, he struggled to keep up with reading and writing. He enlisted in the Foundation’s programme in February 2015 and since then, have witnessed tremendous growth with a newfound passion for learning and life in general. Currently employed in the city, he wishes to finish his matric so that he can apply for a better position.

“During the past year and a half, I have grown a lot! I am focussing on myself to be the best version I can possibly be. Being an illiterate young adult has affected me quite a bit. I was not able to read basic information and had to ask people for help; not everyone is that helpful,” says Floris.

“Illiteracy is, unfortunately, a reality in our communities,” says Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem, Director of Mustadafin Foundation. “People don’t speak out about not being able to write or read, which keeps them back in life with no opportunity to grow and little hope to become self-sufficient. We are continuously encouraging the youth and the surrounding community to read and write on a daily basis as this will empower them.”

The programme takes place every week, for up to four hours at a time at the Foundation’s centres in Delft and Sherwood Park. The programme starts with a six-month pre-abet (Adult Basic Education and Training) course, which is equivalent to Grade R to 3. Students can then move on to abet classes, the equivalent to Grades 4 to 6. They can then also complete their schooling up until Matric.

“Mustadafin has helped me so much; I have learnt that it is up to myself to become a success and that nothing should hold me back,” says Floris.

Johnstone-Cassiem mentions that it is encouraging to see how these young adults and even elderly is tackling the programme head on. “Some of the older group members are now able to do basic administration and help out with children’s homework, something they were not able to do previously,” concludes Johnstone-Cassiem.

Mustadafin Foundation is calling on residents to assist the programme. If you are able to help out with funding or if you would like to find out more information, contact Mustadafin Foundation on 021-633-0010 or visit Join their Facebook page at

Fun for young and old at Cape Town ECD Centres

Caption: For many children living in Cape Town’s informal settlements, their grandparents are one of their primary caregivers. Approximately 270 youngsters from Mustadafin Foundation’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres in Cape Town, treated and gave thanks to their grandparents on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 at the Foundation’s annual ‘Grandparents Day’.

It was a day of giving back for the children at Mustadafin Foudation’s four ECD Centres located in Delft, Khayelitsha (Site B and S-Section) and Manenberg. “Our main goal for 2016 is focused on education – ECD’s being a focal point. We are embarking on a holistic approach with our ECD centres, where we plan activities and excursions that teach our children fundamentals in a fun environment,” says Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem, Director at Mustadafin Foundation.

The ‘Grandparents Day’ festivities took place at all four ECD Centres, with approximately 100 grandparents being entertained with song, dance and gifts from the children aged between two and six years old. Most of the grandparents are direct family of the children or volunteers at the Foundation. The lively young ones spent the day learning, as the grandparents told stories and read from books.

“The aim of the day was to remind children to say thanks to their caregivers – most of them being their grandparents. With our ‘Grandparents Day’, it is important that children learn to respect elders and give thanks for the sacrifices some of their families have made. It is also a fun day for the grandparents; some of them live in dire, poor circumstances and do not have much to look forward to everyday,” mentions Johnstone-Cassiem.

One of the grandparents in attendance was overjoyed: “As a grandparent I felt warmth in my heart not knowing what my grandchild and Mustadafin planned for me. The few hours were great and all the surprises my grandchild gave me.’’

Mustadafin Foundation’s ECD Centres operate in some of the poorest areas in Cape Town. “With excursions and sustainable activities, children are positively stimulated to care for their neighbours and are moulded into self-reliant and self-sufficient citizens,” concludes Johnstone-Cassiem.

For more information about the Foundation and how you can donate or volunteer, please visit or contact 021-633-0010. Mustadafin Foundation is also on Facebook

Youngsters visit animal farm in Philippi

Caption: Learners from Mustadafin Foundation’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres in Cape Town, were in for a fun-filled and educational day as they visited Adventure Farm in Philippi today, 12 May 2016. The Foundation’s four ECD Centres located in Delft, Khayelitsha (Site B and S-Section) and Manenberg went on the daytrip. The 226 lively children aged between two and six years old spent the day learning about all the animals looked after on the farm.

“It was a lovely day for the young learners to be outside – just before the cold winter sets in on Cape Town,” says Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem, Director at Mustadafin Foundation.

The non-profit organisation’s ECD pupils spent the day frolicking in the sun at Adventure Farm based in Philippi. Adventure Farm is a children’s farmyard and has a large variety of animals, including miniature ponies and horses which the children could ride on. The learners explored the farm and even had a chance to pet some of the animals. They were taught where the animals came from, what they eat and the importance of caring and looking after the environment. Nutritious snacks and cold drinks were provided at lunchtime to keep the children’s’ energy levels high.

“As part of our holistic approach, we run various excursions for the ECD learners throughout the year with the goal of teaching them in a fun environment. It was a wonderful experience for the children; for most of them, it was their first visit to an animal farm,” says Johnstone-Cassiem. “This outing is a chance for the children to be entertained in a safe environment and also a wonderful opportunity for them to interact and learn about all sorts of living creatures.”

For more information about the Foundation and how you can donate or volunteer, please visit or contact 021-633-0010. Mustadafin Foundation is also on Facebook

Beat the cold this winter

The Western Cape is gearing up for what is expected to be a cold and wet winter. The Mustadafin Foundation urges residents living in informal settlements to be safe (and dry) this winter season.

The Western Cape, much like the other provinces, is in dire need of rain. However, those living in impoverished areas should be prepared for when the rainy season starts.

“We realise the devastating implications of the rainy season on those less fortunate; homes are damp and wet, diseases spread quickly and houses can be ruined in minutes. Mustadafin Foundation calls on all residents to gear up for the winter season, and be prepared to keep warm and dry,” says Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem, Director at Mustadafin Foundation. The Foundation provides disaster relief to impoverished areas and also distributes hot food and blankets in the Western and Eastern Cape as part of their annual winter warmth project.

“Our project teams have already started distributing warm clothes, food and blankets in the Western and Eastern Cape areas. In Beaufort West alone, we have impacted five areas with over 4 000 residents,” explains Johnstone-Cassiem.

In addition to food and clothing, the non-profit organisation also assists with water distribution in the drier areas for drinking and washing purposes. “In total, we have received over 15 tons of water donations from Libstar Chamonix in Franschhoek, Woolworths and Meadowridge Primary School in Mitchells Plain. We would like to thank these organisations for their contribution – it is making a huge difference in areas where water is a scarce commodity,” says Johnstone-Cassiem.

A 70 year old resident in Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain, says, “It’s the thought that counts, because not everyone thinks of the elderly in winter. People tend to look the other way. It’s no use complaining. But then we find organisations such as Mustadafin that go the extra mile and give us a warm, decent blanket and a meal to fill our stomachs.”

“It is heartfelt to witness what a simple blanket can do for a person. Often, they have nothing else to help keep them warm,” mentions Johnstone-Cassiem. “Our volunteers and employees have worked tirelessly to tend to those in severe need of winter warmth assistance”.

For residents living in informal settlements, Johnstone-Cassiem has the following tips to stay warm, dry and safe this winter season:

  1. Block all cold drafts coming in your home by covering openings of doors and window sills with blankets.
  2. Fix all roof leaks timeously.
  3. Layer up with clothing – a plastic bag or newspapers inside your jacket works wonders to keep you warm. Plastic bags can also be worn over your clothes for when it rains.
  4. Half fill a hot water bottle before going to bed – it keeps the water warmer for longer when it is not filled to the brim.
  5. Move your bed away from the wall slightly – this will help keep cold air away from you.
  6. Do not drink alcohol as it drops core body temperature.
  7. Use sandbags around your home when it rains to keep water from entering your house.
  8. Never leave a fire unattended and ventilate your home if you do use fire for heating or cooking.
  9. Try to eat nutritious, warm food such as soup.
  10. Exercise – by staying active you will keep warm and it also assists with your overall health.

“We call on all Capetonians to assist this winter and make a difference in communities by donating clothing and blankets or by volunteering,” concludes Johnstone-Cassiem.

Mustadafin Foundation distributes warm nutritious meals, blankets and second hand clothing to destitute communities in the Western Cape as part of their winter warmth initiative. If you would like to join this initiative and ensure those in need are warm and dry this winter please donate quality second- hand clothing or sponsor a hot pot of food.

For more information, to donate or volunteer call Mustadafin Foundation on 021 633 0010 or visit their website at