About HELP


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What We Do

HELP gives much-needed educational assistance to underprivileged children. We run after-school programmes and learners’ clubs in two primary schools viz Heathfield Primary School and Thomas Wildschutt Senior Primary in disadvantaged areas in the Western Cape. HELP supports the development of our learners’ ability and instils confidence in them to give them a better chance at a brighter future. We encourage children to enjoy the process of learning and to expand their horizons on many levels.

To meet the challenges of an ever-changing reality in our world, HELP has decided to make vlogs which will be accessible to parents, teachers, children and care-givers to give extra tuition in areas that we find the majority of children struggle with. The parents are not always able to assist their children for a number of reasons and so HELP will fill that gap. We also have on board a trained PHD member in the “Development of the Brain” who will guide parents, teachers and care-givers with emotional, psychological and other issues that may arise in their daily lives.

With Your Help, We Can Help Build Brighter Futures For Children

HELP is reaching out to all South Africans, locally and abroad, to assist us in achieving our literacy and numeracy goal by donating. The price of educating and feeding one child at HELP equates to R 200.00 per month.

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Our Vision

We provide quality-driven education programs to help our learners achieve a high academic standard, combating the huge drop out in high school education. We enable and equip our learners with self-esteem and confidence to face the daily challenges of their social environment.

HELP Daily Programme

A homework programme four afternoons a week for disadvantaged children, helping them to understand and expand their knowledge in both reading and numeracy.

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Our Dedicated Team

Jean Mackenzie


Jean takes care of virtually everything that HELP needs as we have a very small team. She buys the food necessary for the day, ensures that there is sufficient stationery, promotes HELP whenever and wherever she can, makes sure the kids are well taken care of as far as possible and generally makes sure that HELP runs smoothly on every level.

Geoginah is a qualified primary school and remedial teacher from Zimbabwe. She teaches and prepares the work for the learners at Heathfield Primary school and ensures that the HELP is filling the learning gaps that the children have and where they are struggling with certain concepts. She marks their work and sits with them one on one when they have difficulties with academics and also social issues.

Langton is HELP's teacher at Thomas Wildschutt Senior Primary and his job is also to take care of all the academic work of the HELP learners. He has the patience of a saint and is masterful at dealing with many of the issues that our learners might have. Langton and Geoginah are a husband and wife team and reflect the stability of a sound marriage and instils morals and values in the children by their example.

Pat is our delicious sandwich maker and is the person responsible for preparing the sustenance for the HELP children daily. They come to HELP straight after sitting in class all day and are often hungry and thirsty. Pat takes care of their needs. We often joke “what would we do without Pat” but in fact it is a reality. She is a mother and a care taker for both the HELP staff and the children. A wonderful team member.
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Berry is a grade 2 teacher at Heathfield Primary school and nothing can keep her away from ensuring that her little ones are getting the information and teaching that they need. She comes straight after school to sit with the grade 2s in HELP so that she can teach them one on one. She makes the learning fun and exudes her warmth to us all.
Rifqa Lakau

Rifqa Lakay


Rifqa is the person who takes care of our finances and what would we do without her! Rifqa works for Charlene’s sons, Anton & Evan, and they kindly allowed us to use their services to ensure that our finances run smoothly. We are very fortunate to have such a pleasant and efficient colleague.

Andre is the retired principal of Heathfield Primary school and is one of our trusted trustees. His expertise, experience and input is invaluable and especially now that Charlene is no longer with us we rely on his wisdom when issues arise. Andre cannot stay away from education and is presently teaching at a school in Ocean View – such is his commitment to the future of our country.
Charles Jansen is another of our wonderful trustees and was the principal of Thomas Wildschutt Senior. Another hero dedicated to education Charles is heavily involved in a teaching program in Nyanga.
Ayeza Stuurman

Ayeza Stuurman

Trustee at HELP

Ayeza was head of security at the Cape Town Airport until COVID struck and is also a trustee with enormous experience and understanding of our children. We can always go to him for advice and get a better sense of where some of the children are battling emotionally or psychologically.
Anita Martins

Anita Martin


Anita has dedicated her services to HELP as a trustee and volunteer every week. Anita would be seen sitting usually with the grade 6s and giving them sound life advice. She spoke with them about all sorts of things as well as assisting them with their academics. A more encouraging and motherly figure one would battle to find.

Our Amazing Volunteers

We have always said that our volunteers are absolute gold both to the HELP Team and to the learners. Without them, due to COVID, it has proved even more true. Both the volunteers and the HELP Team are really looking forward to the day when they can all come back. As a safety measure Charlene requested that they do not come into school because of the co-morbidities and we did not want to take any chances. So a huge, ginormous thank you to every one of the volunteers. THANK YOU!

Rosemary Frith

Rosemary has the patience of a saint when it comes to reading with a child who has difficulty reading and clear at explaining Maths.

Charlotte Vodden

Charlotte is our wonderful young lady from the UK that the children just adore and swamp her whenever she comes.

Marie Gruzd

Marie is our motherly volunteer who patiently sits with the children until they get what she’s explaining.

Teresa Rooney

Was a Maths teacher and has such a deep grasp of the subject that she can approach and explain the problem from any angle until the child gets it.

Annette van Niekerk

Annette also over 80 but comes for the littlies and reads and does Maths with them and bakes the best chocolate cake whenever there is a celebration to be had.

Elizabeth Wilson

Elizabeth has such a grasp over where the child is struggling to get the concept and tirelessly repeats it in various ways until they get it.


Yamikani who is in Grade 9 but comes most days to assist with the children as he only has to be present at school on Tuesdays.

Brenda Hill

She's over 80 but looks about 60 and reads again and again with the children and also plays fun games with them.

Neville Sherman

Neville Sherman responded to an article about HELP in the Echo and has joined our HELP team much to the delight of us all. He is a retired principal from the UK and has extensive experience having also taught in Vietnam and Dubai. Neville comes three times a week and gets the rhythm going with the drumming and music and then art and acting. It is definitely the highlight of the week! 

Anita Martins

Anita – also a trustee – a motherly figure who understands the children on a deep level. She often works with the Grade 6s and not only works with them but gives them life skills and tells of her own experiences.

Springfield Convent

Springfield Convent girls who come as soon as they are finished school – led by Elizabeth Mehl and Summer Searle – are consistent and the kids love it when they come.

A tribute to Charlene Coosner

Imagine having a 17 month old son and giving birth to triplets! That is my favourite story to tell about our phenomenal trustee and volunteer Charlene Coosner who passed away from COVID in January 2021.

Charlene will forever be missed at HELP because she was such a loyal driving force and her commitment and dedication to HELP was remarkable. She was an integral part of HELP.

We can still “hear” Charlene’s voice across the HELP room saying “Does anyone want to change their library books?” She gave so much to HELP in so many ways and reminded us that while we, in a more advantaged situation, grew up hearing things like 1, 2, 3 and a, b, c and being read to every night as little children, many of our HELP children have not had that input in their lives and have had all kinds of hardships and traumas to deal with from a very young age.

Charlene was very focused on reading and would always sit with the weakest readers and listen to them read for hours. She would tell them stories about her own life, her children, now grown up, and her grandchildren. Charlene was a gifted story-teller. We have named our junior and senior libraries the Charlene Coosner Library in honour of all her wonderful contributions. There is now a fund in Charlene’s name that has been set up that will have prizes of books to the children who show the most improvement and perseverance in their reading.

Charlene told us so many stories about her life with her four children and her wonderfully supportive husband, Errol who was always consistent, honest and had sound advice and input. Charlene was clear on boundaries and while she was warm, loving and kind, she would not allow people to walk over her.

The energy, love and commitment that Charlene has given to HELP since the beginning of its inception in July 2010, have formed a very solid and reliable structure for us to work with the children and to build upon.

Charlene’s legacy will live with HELP as long as HELP is there – we have a deep gratitude and love for her contributions, experience and expertise. It is still difficult to believe that the HELP door will not open and Charlene will be standing there and make her way to her place ready to face whatever issues come her way.
May Charlene and her family always be blessed.

Donate Today

We need R500,000 a year to cover our basic operational costs and a small amount goes a long way to helping us provide the HELP our children need. Click on a donation amount below that fits in with your budget and know that your donation is going to providing lunches, stationery, and operational expenses.






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