Masizame is one of the oldest charities in Plettenberg Bay. A journey of over 30 years. Our future is dependent upon your help.
Masizame is a fully registered charity and operates the only children’s home and Drop-In Centre in Plettenberg Bay. Formerly known as Masizame Children’s Shelter, nowadays we are better known as Masizame CYCC.
As a Child Protection Organisation, Masizame provides the vulnerable communities of Plett with a comprehensive range of Prevention and Early Intervention programs to promote Social Behavioural Change and Healthy Lifestyles. Masizame makes a difference, one child at a time.
The history of Masizame
Masizame was founded circa 1993 by Lesley Myburgh. She witnessed children begging on the streets of central Plettenberg Bay and became a spirited woman wielding a soup ladle. Lesley was astute when she wisely identified that this was a social issue where society had failed the children of Plett. Lesley pledged that ‘we’ , as the good-hearted people of Plett, could (and should) indeed make a vital difference to the lives of vulnerable children. A small RDP house was rented from Elim Ministries and the late Pastor Levendahl in New Horizons (one of the townships in Plett).
When Lesley and her small group of volunteers began to see success in engaging with the children, she then decided to lobby for funding from the local municipality, as well as the various welfare organisations which in those days were segregated by skin colour. All organisations elected to turn the other cheek. Citing that it was not their problem to deal with. Relentless in her determination, Lesley then boldly lobbied the office of Nelson Mandela himself. She sent a comprehensive progress report together with a portfolio of photos of activities in her attempt to gain their support.
Low and behold, we received a letter from Madiba himself. He commended the work we were undertaking and stated that he had arranged for the Western Cape Department of Social Services Child Welfare professional to visit our site for a professional inspection. Following the success of the site visit, Mandela committed R30,000 of his own funds to allow us to directly purchase the RDP house and sub-division of the land from Pastor Levendahl. Social development then agreed that Masizame could motivate for funding once we were formally registered. Thus, Masizame founded the first Drop-In Centre outside of a metro. Our Drop-In Centre was then expanded with the wonderful support of Rotary Plett by adding various old shipping containers. The DIC is still operating today, providing counselling, assessment, after school services, holiday programmes and intervention services. Last quarter, being Q3 FY2023, our Masizame Drop-In Centre served 357 unique children.
The need for a formal ‘residential facility’, distinct from the Drop-In Centre, was identified in 1997. Negotiations took over four years. In 2001, the Masizame Children’s Shelter formally opened its doors in Kwanokuthula (the largest township in Plett). In accordance with the New Children’s Act our journey to transform into a Child and Youth Care Centre (CYCC) which was formerly registered in 2012.
Masizame success story: ECD centre
In 2007, Masizame expanded our Prevention initiatives with the major development of an ECD centre at our Kwanokuthula site. In many ways this was our most joyous project. We focused on transforming dysfunctional families by actively engaging them in the education and stimulation of their youngsters. On opening day, the queue went around the block. 130 parents and their children stood waiting patiently to be enrolled in Positive Parenting classes and in our ECD programme.
Many lessons were learnt during this initial period, including the need for formal ECD training of all our staff. Masizame invested in the development of 15 previously unemployed women. The ECD Centre quickly became a model of success, and enrolment peaked at a high of 146 children per adult.
A decade later, in 2017, an evaluation of our ECD programme determined ‘Mission Accomplished’. This is because DSD and Masizame had capacítate ECD centres throughout Bitou and there was over capacity of supply of ECD facilities.