Thanda Project, Hibberdene

Thanda After-School is a project in rural Hibberdene, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, that provides daily support to orphans and other vulnerable children. We use already-existing local resources — from classrooms to soccer fields — to engage 325 children, ages 5-22, in after-school activities. We employ young role models from within the community to be mentors for these students, filling the developmental and emotional gaps left by missing parents and overwhelmed caregivers.

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After School and Community Centre

By working with these children in their local communities, Thanda keeps South Africa’s rural social fabric intact. Ubuntu, an overarching African idea that roughly translates to “humanity,” encompasses the Zulu custom whereby family members, friends, and neighbors take care of each other — no matter what. At Thanda, we supplement this system by enabling children to grow up in their communities while providing necessary support and resources on a daily basis.

By enrolling in year-long programs such as agriculture, construction, and computers, children in Thanda develop valuable skills and learn self-reliance. Students learn about teamwork and gain confidence by playing basketball, soccer, and netball, as their teachers promote healthy lifestyles and discuss HIV prevention. Thanda’s art and dancing programs encourage creativity and give the children much-needed outlets for healing. Every child in Thanda receives a meal after school, as well as homework help and engaging educational lessons that supplement their traditional schooling and nurture curiosity for knowledge.

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