Empowering families to fight discrimination and poverty

For decades, the Good Shepherd mission in South Africa has been dedicated to enhancing the well-being and safety of girls and children in the most disadvantaged areas of the Eastern Cape Province, through the provision of care and protection services, as well as the holistic empowerment of local families by improving women’s economic status and parenting skills. Particularly in certain suburban areas of Port Elizabeth – now known as Gqeberha – the enduring economic inequalities and social injustices resulting from apartheid planning are still evident today.

In this city, severe social issues persist, including a high level of poverty affecting 61% of Africans, and extremely limited access to food, healthcare, and education for children. The Akhanani project, meaning “building up each other,” caters to 180 children by providing quality daily meals, supplementing those distributed to individuals in two of the poorest and most marginalized neighbourhoods. Despite the small kitchen space and lengthy preparation times, the Akhani Centre manages to prepare approximately 400 meals per day. This crucial support not only aids many families in meeting their daily nutritional needs but also ensures proper nourishment, with vegetables from the garden, located in the land near the center, incorporated into balanced meals that reduce malnutrition and enhance children’s health.

Since its launch in 2022, the garden project has flourished, with surplus vegetables supplied to the centre’s kitchen and sold on a small scale to also support the centre’s operations.



At the After Care Centre, children are actively engaged in a nurturing learning environment where volunteers and auxiliary social workers assist them with their homework through tutoring sessions. They carefully monitor the progress of each child, and offer additional support to slow learners, ensuring they receive extra attention. This initiative significantly decreases school dropouts, fostering a culture of continued education among children and their families. In November 2023, we celebrated the first graduation ceremony for children in the Stimulation Group, marking their readiness to transition to public school.

Special holiday programs and group activities for all children and teenagers, including those not enrolled in the centre, such as dancing, singing, and drama, enhance interaction among them, foster bonds between different races and cultures, and raise awareness of children’s rights, thereby contributing to child development e community cohesion.



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