Our Programme

Our Vision

To positively and significantly impact the lives and futures of marginalised young adolescents living in the Valley of a Thousand Hills who are impoverished and vulnerable to sexual abuse, HIV/AIDS and violence.

Why do we need another project in the Valley?

South Africa’s war on sexual abuse, exploitation, violence and HIV/AIDS is far from over. According to the SAPS crime report there were more than 67 000 reported cases of rape and sexual offenses in 2010/2011. Estimates put the real figures at four times this number. Disturbingly, of the close to 27 500 reported sexual offenses against children, 60% were children under the age of 15 years, and 29% of these were 0-10 years old.South Africa has an estimated 5.5 million people living with HIV or another sexually transmitted disease. Although prevalence rates have stabilised around 11% and there is a slight decline in prevalence among youth aged 15-24 years; changes in behaviour are urgently required to counter new infections.14 June 2012 the Mercury reported that:In the last two years, over 12,000 school girls have fallen pregnant. Senzo Mchunu, MEC for education, lays the blame at the feet of men in abusive power relationships

We need greater awareness and support for pupils in school, aimed at reducing exploitation and abuse. Cathy Callaghan of the Umbrella Body of school governing bodies insists that parents must teach their children how to be responsible – but right on our doorstep we have thousands of children with little or no parental support; many households of children led by children; many families in crisis though poverty, lack of education and healthcare, trapped in cycles of violence and abuse. Therefore we need programmes and systems in schools that support children and help them make better decisions for themselves and others. Systems wherein instances of rape and abuse can be reported, and where children can feel safe.

What does iKusasaLethu offer?

iKusasaLethu means ‘Our Future’ and currently impacts the lives of 438 boys and girls from Grade 5 to 7 in Botha’s Hill Primary School. Through a faith-based school curriculum, the project is equipping young adolescents with the knowledge, skills and values to make informed decisions and reduce risk-taking behaviour. This programme was developed by iThembaLethu, Glenridge and successfully implemented for10 years in Cato Manor, Durban. It has been evaluated by the Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division [HEARD] based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban as a “forward thinking, innovative and far-reaching” programme yielding a “positive change across the board for psycho-social functioning. “ Further information on the Glenridge project may be obtained from their website http://www.ithembalethu.org.za/

What’s our plan of action?

1. Our youth workers take over the Life Orientation subject slot – 2 hr sessions once a week for the duration of the full school year over a period of three to five years. They use interactive methodology, group work and discussions, projects and worksheets to present a curriculum which includes:Understanding your own valueUnderstanding the value of othersUnderstanding sexualityBuilding the knowledge base regarding HIV, abuseOvercoming pressures to engage in risky behavioursA positive orientation to the future and its possibilities
2. An extra-curricular programme to reinforce the classroom programme: youth clubs, holiday clubs.
3. Informal individual mentoring sessions with youth workers who are available to meet individually with children who request it or are identified as needing support and counselling in terms of sensitive issues and situations.
4. Leadership development programme.
5. Supplementary intervention with parents.

For more details about our plans and budget click HERE

Who’s on our Team?

Our Management Team

We have a wealth of professional expertise and practical hands-on experience in our Management Team which comprises:

Richard Lawton, D. Phil (Ox); M.B.L. (UNISA); M. Phil (UP) – Senior Pastor of Hillside Church, Hillcrest

Wendy Smith, M.A. Research Psychology (UKZN);  B.A. Hons (UNISA); B. Soc. Sci (UKZN)– Social Projects Manager for WalkerSmith Architects & iKusasaLethu Project Coordinator

Catherine Hitchcock, B. O. T. Hons (UKZN) – Occupational Therapist  & iKusasaLethu Project Coordinator

Nompepho Ntloko, B. Soc. Sci. (Fort Hare) – Social Worker

David Roome, M. Phil (UP); B.Sc. (Wits) – Pastor at Hillside Church, Hillcrest

Jill Lawton,  M. Soc. Sci. Educational Psychology (UKZN); M.Phil (UP); B.A. Hons (Ox); B.A. Hons (UKZN) – Pastor at Hillside Church & Media Consultant for iKusasaLethu

Our Teachers

Johannes and Nothile Mthembu are the project leaders of iKusasaLethu. They are assisted by Sipho  Madlala and Mbali Chiya. Find out more about these dedicated teachers HERE

How can you help?

We are urgently looking for long and short term investments from businesses with whom we can enter into partnerships, and together work towards the fulfilment of a ‘brighter future’ for children. Such businesses could also benefit from BEE credits by investing in this programme. Additionally, we would love to see the project expand beyond our borders. With long-term financial planning and large-scale investments, we aim to expand the programme to include many more needy children in schools throughout the Valley of 1000 Hills.

If you would like further information please email Wendy Smith: wendy@walkersmith.co.za or call Fay: 031-7653080 or CONTACT US HERE

Banking Details:
Bank: Standard Bank
Branch: Hillcrest Code: 045726
Name: iThemba Lethu Hillside*
Number: 202 314 472
*Please note that the Bank account is still registered under the previous name of IThemba Lethu – we will update the website as soon as the new name is registered with the Bank.