Zulufadder is a charitable organisation that promotes education and self-reliance among young people from rural communities in South Africa.
Like all great stories, our tale is one rooted in love. The deep love and compassion that Norwegian actress, Mari Maurstad, has for children.
It all started in December 2014 when Mari, while on safari in South Africa, met Toby Selander, a Swedish photo journalist, and Ragnhild Button, the honorary Norwegian consul in Durban and tour operator.
While travelling from Durban, the group visited a rural soup kitchen just outside Eshowe, in Zululand. Here they met a local woman, the late Aurelia Mhlongo, who had been using her small monthly pension to feed a group of hungry children.
Moved by their plight and touched by Aurelia’s selflessness, Mari was inspired to make an even bigger difference, and so Zulufadder was born.
What we do
What started as a soup kitchen is now a multifaceted organisation that helps disadvantaged children and their families in, and around Eshowe, South Africa. We provide food, education, clothing, medical treatment and other support.
All our children are disadvantaged in some way, either by the loss of one or more parents or family members, often through HIV and AIDS, or simply through unfortunate family circumstances. Through Zulufadder initiatives, we develop children and families to be strong and healthy and to believe in their own potential. Our wish is that the children grow up and create a better life for themselves and those around them.
Zulufadder operates a primary and high school, two kindergartens, assists children who attend rural schools and encourages self-reliance through skills training and self-help programmes.
Since 2005, Gratton School has been developed from a small primary school to a large educational institution offering tuition and boarding from grade R to 12 (matriculation). The school has 350 learners and a staff of 43 including 23 educators. Learners include both fee paying children and Zulufadder beneficiaries who are sponsored to attend.
We currently serve six rural communities and employ 20 dedicated, field workers and support staff who seek out new cases requiring attention, monitor all our beneficiaries and ensure that our services are implemented efficiently.
How Zulufadder works
Zulufadder is a Norwegian word that means ‘Zulu godparent’. For a small monthly donation, each of our sponsors or ‘Fadders’ is connected to a child; one who they can interact with, give gifts to and follow closely.
These monthly donations pay for the child’s food, support, health needs, school uniforms and shoes, and any other necessities.
All the children are living in their home communities and Zulufadder provides food parcels to those supporting families who need assistance.
In South Africa, the Zulufadder project is run by Silvia Hellesvik, who moved to Eshowe from Norway. As Project Manager, she ensures that all funds are used responsibly and that our charitable objectives are achieved.
We believe that the great strength of Zulufadder is that our operating costs are kept to a minimum, so that the bulk of the money we receive goes to where it is needed most – supporting and developing the children.
Support our work
The mission of Zulufadder is to support and assist marginalised children in rural Zululand by recognising their right to health, nutrition, education and advancement.
We do this by:
- Facilitating better mental and physical health for all our beneficiaries
- Providing education opportunities from pre-school to tertiary levels
- Building confidence and the belief that everything is possible
- Creating role models to inspire others
- Implementing self-help and small business programmes to stimulate rural economies