MASICORP provides funding for education, and investment in enterprise so that the people of Masiphumelele – a township near Cape Town in South Africa – can escape from poverty. We have over 12 years’ experience working in the township. Our approach has been to ask the community where and how they need support and, from this, we know the residents want a hand-up not a handout. We know that they see education as the route out of poverty. We know they will work hard to achieve success – and we see their hard work every day in our education projects and programs.
Education is what we do: we built a library and education resource centre where over 20 programs are available free to residents; we have an important project to help improve education in the 30+ township crèches; we have a highly successful university bursary program and we work with and in the township’s primary and high schools.
Our education programs extend to business enterprise, where we train and develop budding entrepreneurs, and provide training to help people find jobs.
In Masiphumelele most people live in shacks. Six families or more share one water tap and toilet facility. Roughly 70% have no regular work.Even for those with work, incomes are very low and many manage on less than $2/day for food. The township suffers from poverty-related health issues: more than 20 % of residents are HIV/AIDS positive and the number of tuberculosis victims has increased in recent years. Life expectancy is under 50 years.
Some might say there is little hope but, fortunately, these people have plenty of spirit, dignity and determination.