By Louise Brown
Masicorp works for the people of Masiphumelele township, where it’s estimated more than 40,000 live disadvantaged by the legacy of apartheid. Since 1999, their work has made a proven difference to the lives of people in the township. The focus is education — the surest route out of poverty. Their projects start at pre-school and go up to adult learners.
This work is made possible by an incredible team of 58 staff and 62 volunteers. The centre has some funding by the government but can only operate with the generous support of donors from around the world.
Maiden’s crew have been planning this trip since April 2022 and the excitement at finally arriving at the campus today was overwhelming for Louise, who has been liaising with Megan Pringle, Head of Fundraising and Millie Firth, Managing Director, for the last 9 months. It was certainly worth the wait.
Although Masicorp programs cover various subjects such as computer sciences, sewing classes and violin playing, the reason the Maiden’s were so keen to be there was for the ‘Brave Girls Art Group’. This after school club is for young girls who have experienced trauma who benefit from this therapy. The art class helps to give a voice to their feelings and struggles, and a form of expression and healing.
It was tough listening to the stories and witnessing the pain that these girls are holding in, but this was the first day of class and they are in very experienced safe hands. We felt privileged to be part of the ‘past, present and future’ exercise today; when we entered the classroom we noticed all the girls were drawing handprints on a large piece of coloured paper and writing on the palms and fingers of the hand. This lesson was being done to help the students acknowledge the past, live in the present and work towards a better future.
It was particularly poignant for us as we had only that morning collected the Hands Around the World spinnaker from the sail loft in Cape Town, after its maintenance check, in case we could use it at the centre. You can imagine the girls’ delight when they saw what we had with us, and each one did a second handprint this afternoon, both equally as powerful.
Masicorp works in partnership with Evangeline Ministries, providing a free ‘Life Skills’ course for women with little or no education. The course is six months long and covers English, Computer and Sewing Skills. All these topics are highly relevant to the women’s everyday lives and the course helps them gain self-esteem and a pride in their own work. There are twelve women in each six-monthly intake, as well as the occasional male attendee, once qualified they are given their own sewing machine and invited to work at the Sewing Cafe on campus and run their own small business as well as making the tracksuits for the football school that operates from the building across the walkway within Masicorp’s grounds.The course also supports Nonny’s bakery in Masiphumelele who provide lunch for the ladies each day.
The feel good vibe of the campus came all the way back into Cape Town with the crew in their minibus, driven by Greg. Although emotionally drained we all felt euphoric to be in a position to be learning about and potentially supporting these incredible charities.
The centre has a waiting list and is hugely successful, by working with a small township they get to see the impact of what they do quickly, it is very rewarding for the staff and volunteers to be involved with such a fantastic charity.