As a future-focused, telecommunications company, our purpose is to encourage inclusivity and female empowerment through Connecting for Good. As such, the Vodacom Foundation supports a number of NPOs that have an incredible female force. Last year, during Women’s Month, we celebrated these phenomenal women. Watch a touching series of videos about these Hidden Figures behind some of South Africa's most inspiring organisation here.
Mama Phindile Hlalele – African Children’s Feeding Scheme
The African Children’s Feeding Scheme has been tackling hunger in schools for over 70 years. They provide a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk to more than 31 000 kids around SA, helping them concentrate at school and cope with health problems such as HIV/Aids.
Vodacom has been funding the ACFS for over a decade, enabling them to provide food for vulnerable children. They are also assisting the organisation with their ICT needs.
The current director of ACFS, Mama Phindile Hlalele, is herself a former beneficiary of the organisation. She received a daily sandwich and milk in the 1960s when she was in primary school in Dobsonville. Years later as a teacher, Mama Phindile was a member of the school-based support team looking after needy children, which led her to contact the ACFS. After 12 years as a volunteer, and 27 years of teaching, Mam Phindi joined full-time as Committee Coordinator in 2005. In 2009, she because the director of this wonderful organisation. Watch a video about her work here.
Tumi Sisulu and Patsy Hartley - The Walter Sisulu Paediatric Cardiac Foundation
Since 2003, the WSPCF has facilitated lifesaving cardiac treatment for over 600 children in Africa, in partnership with the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. The organisation is run by two very dynamic women. Vodacom donates much-needed funds to the WSPCF, and, in 2008, donated a fully equipped hospital bed that is still being used today.
Tumi Sisulu was inspired by her grandmother, the great Albertina Sisulu, to go into a caring profession. She acknowledges that the job can be challenging, but also very rewarding. She relishes the challenges of being a woman in a world that can be male-dominated, and of convincing funders of the importance of the work of the WSPCF. Watch the video about their work here.
Caregiving has always been in Patsy Hartley’s blood. For two days before and five days after a child has an operation, Patsy stays with the child and his or her parents. She teaches the mothers how to care for their sick children, and makes sure they understand what is happening and how their child is doing. One child she remembers particularly was a boy from Swaziland who arrived barely able to walk, and left ready to fulfill his dream of becoming a soccer player.
Angie Khupe - SA National Council for the Blind
The SANCB is a network of over 100 organisation that support people with visual impairment, and help prevent blindness. The Bureau of the Prevention of Blindness (BPB) runs a highly successful eye care programme that provides screenings, exams and treatments to people in townships and rural areas. Annually, they facilitate around 4000 cataract procedures and 9000 screenings and dispense around 2500 pairs of spectacles.
A good portion of this work is funded by Vodacom, who also donated a van that enables staff to reach far-flung locations.
Mam Angie, a Zimbabwean single mother of two, is a manager at the BPB. A trained ophthalmic nurse, she initially joined as a member of the outreach team, before moving into management. One of her highlights was seeing the reaction when a grandmother saw her granddaughter for the first time in 15 years - now all grown up. Watch a video about Mam Angie's work here.
Mama Miriam Mazibuko - Orlando Children’s Home
The Orlando Children’s Home was started in 1940 to provide a loving home for children in Soweto who had been abandoned, neglected or orphaned. They try to ensure the kids are educated and loved, and try to place them with foster or adoptive parents. The Home caters for kids from 0-12, although one 23-year-old man is still living there, having been a resident for his entire life. Vodacom has provided funds for the home, as well as tablets to teach the kids how to engage with digital devices.
Mama Miriam joined the home in 1992. Her empathy with the kids stems from her own background - she lost her mother at age four, and was raised by the women in her family. She is particularly proud that one of ‘her kids’ has gone on to graduate from university, and many have matriculated. One is even the secretary at the Home. See more about the Home here.
Tahhiya Hassim - New BeginningZ Baby Haven
New BeginningZ Baby Haven is a place of safety for abandoned, abused or neglected babies and toddlers up to five years old, and is one of the wonderful facilities supported by Vodacom. They have specialised residential care facilities that cater for children with special needs. The haven was founded 17 years ago by Tahhiya Hassim in memory of her nine-week-old son who was killed in a car crash. The haven has its main operations in Joburg, including a baby wall in Sunnyside that enables mothers to give up their babies anonymously. They have plans to expand to Cape Town. See more about Tahhiya's amazing work here.
Miranda Jordan-Friedman and Vincentia Dlamini - Women & Men Against Child Abuse
The staff of WMACA work tirelessly to assist children who have been abused and neglected, running six Kidz Clinics around the country that help kids and their families recover from abuse and prepare for the legal process. Vodacom's contributions have assisted over 22 000 abused children, and continue to help WMACA do their vital work.
Director and founder Miranda Jordan-Friedman started her work life in the legal arena, but her passion for children's rights led her to join WMACA in 1997. Since then she has been at the forefront of preventing child abuse and ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice.
Vincentia Dlamini is the Operations Director, and is also a registered forensic nurse, enabling her to gather all-important evidence for court cases. She is a passionate advocate for social justice. Watch a video about the women of WMACA here.
Moira Gerszt - Smile Foundation
The collaboration between Smile Foundation and Vodacom has helped put the smile back on hundreds of children's faces. The Foundation facilitates surgery at SA's academic hospital for kids born with facial abnormalities such as cleft palates. Vodacom has donated upwards of R15 million towards this incredible cause.
Operations Director Moira Gerszt has been with Smile since the beginning. It's the strength of the women, especially mothers, whom she encounters that truly inspires her. Many come from poverty-stricken backgrounds, determined to make a difference in their child's life against all odds. Watch a video about Moira and the Smile Foundation's work here.
Find out more about the Vodacom Foundation
The Vodacom Foundation supports a variety of causes that uplift the community in South Africa. Find out more about their work on the Vodacom website.