Our vision is to awaken in people the realisation that they can be a dynamic force for positive change in the world. We aim to improve the lives of under privileged communities in South Africa. Finally, we aim to connect people regardless of age, gender, culture and language.
The Simunye Project was born through the joint dream of Melanie Beal and Peter Dry to equip young Australians with the attitude and tools to make a difference in the world. It started in 2007 and after 10 years assisting many vulnerable people and communities and raising over $350 000 the project is stronger than ever. In 2015 Peter Dry relocated his family to America and started a separate Simunye at Principia School, whilst Mel continues to run the Australian program.
In order to ensure that our work is sustainable we have partnered with various people and organisations who inform us of the needs of the comminuty and ensure that our projects are maintained and our donations are put to good use. We work with one 3 organisations - one in Cape Town and two in Mpumalanga
The aim is to leave a legacy of sustained improvement and not one of dependency.
South Africa is unpredictable. Things can change so fast. But there are also so many people in need. Every trip has been different and we have had to adapt to the needs of the people and the communities in which we work. As a result we have moved on from some charities and formed relationships with new ones.
Originally we worked with Tshepang After Care in Johannesburg and Manyeleti Shcool in Palaborwa. We also did a lot of work with New LIfe Creche and the Eudcare Centre. These organisations benefited enormously from the work we did which included building kitchens, donating classrooms, building playgrounds, transforming rooms, erecting water tanks as well as providing educational opportunities for the carers.
We no longer work with these organisations as we have moved from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Simunye America still looks after most of them.
Tshepang Programme for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children
An after-school care program for orphaned and vulnerable primary school children. In 2006 the programme under the leadership of Susan Rammekwa supported 12 children In 2013 the number is over 300 children and families. It provides a safe haven for children after school where they are fed a nutritious meal (often their only one of the day), homework support is provided, programmes on health, careers, appreciation, child protection and youth talents. The social workers are provided continuous training on First Aid, health and safety, and youth services. There is also a library, local baking and a clothing industry on site.
Tshepang is under-resourced and relies heavily on small government grants and donations from business and individuals. It is located in the Princess informal settlement just outside Johannesburg.
The Simunye Project provides scholarship and bursaries for students, school uniforms, a feeding scheme, care packs, school resources, renovations, teacher salaries and supports the sewing and baking programmes.
Manyeleti Primary School
This school is located in the rural area of Limpopo Province where unemployment is above 70%. The school is under-resourced and The Simunye Project provides ongoing support in the area of facilities improvement (classroom renovation, buying new desks and chairs, building playground equipment). It also provides students with a three day holiday programme each year and develops teaching skills amongst the staff.
New Life Day Care Centre
This centre cares for over 50 small children during the daytime whilst their parents work. Silence, the lady who runs the facility, works tirelessly to provide young children two meals, health checks and early childhood development. It is located in Limpopo Province in a largely subsistence community. The Simunye Project has completely refurbished the centre as well as providing a borehole, vegetable garden, toilet block, playground facilities, scholarships for teachers, classroom supplies and equipment, a new kitchen and a feeding scheme.
Educare Day Care Centre
The Educare Day Care Centre was built entirely by The Simunye Project and looks after over 60 young children. Gertrude, the director, was able to secure land from the local chief. Located in Hluvukani and near a primary and secondary school the location is perfect as it creates an ‘educational hub’.
The Simunye Project has built a classroom, provided eco-toilets, shading, storage, teaching resources, clothing, a large feeding scheme, a kitchen and funds for teacher training.