About Us

Making a Difference


Zisize began operations in 1999 as a single project (a Teachers’ Resource Centre) in Ingwavuma, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Its purpose was to improve the quality of education for children by providing educators with the necessary tools to do their job. It soon became apparent that education in Ingwavuma needed a far more holistic approach, as so many factors impacted on children’s ability to learn and teachers’ ability to teach.

Over the past two decades it has developed projects which focus on the ‘whole’ child, as well as maintaining its original aim to improve educational standards. Although a small charity (NPO), Zisize Educational Trust is making big differences to the lives of orphans and vulnerable children and the schools they attend.

Zisize is a Zulu word meaning ‘self help’ and this is the ethos of the trust. Zisize’s main focus is to support orphans and vulnerable children to reach their full potential and become independent, contributing members of society.  It encourages those who use the organisation to no longer be part of the problems that face this impoverished area, but rather to be part of the solution towards a brighter future.

member of CASNET

Zisize is a member of CASNET (Caring Schools Network) and works in partnership with nine primary schools in the three tribal areas of KwaMngomezulu, KwaMathenjwa and KwaNyawo in Ingwavuma Magisterial District. Each of these schools, with input from Zisize, is a node of holistic support to Orphans and Vulnerable children in those communities. The aim of the programme is to eliminate challenges, (e.g. hunger, lack of shelter or adult support or the effects of abuse), which prevent learners from making optimal use of their educational opportunities. Zisize has also begun to forge links with three high schools in these communities – Ohhoye, Nqobizazi and Ingwavuma High.

Effect positive change

Zisize believes that “it is better to light a candle than to complain about the dark” and encourages volunteers and supporters to do whatever they can, rather than do nothing because the problems seem too big. It encourages people enduring difficult circumstances, to believe that they can effect positive change with a little help. Children from very disadvantaged backgrounds are encouraged to believe that they can not only have ambition but that they can also achieve that ambition.

Its aim at all times is to provide support which will result in a
brighter future for Ingwavuma’s children in the New South Africa.

vision and mission

Our Vision

Our vision is to support orphans and vulnerable children and help them to grow into well-developed, self-reliant and independent young people.


Our Mission

To help uplift the standard of education in partner primary and high schools and to provide holistic care and developmental support to the many orphans, vulnerable children and youth in surrounding communities, enabling them to attain their full potential, with increasing self-reliance and independence as they approach adulthood.

Our Objectives

The specific objectives of the trust are to facilitate collaboration with communities, stakeholders and partners to effectively participate in:

  • The development of quality caring schools
  • The development of more functional families
  • The provision of community service

Over the past 10 years Zisize has developed partnerships with nine schools in the wider Ingwavuma area with the intention of helping these schools to become holistic places of care and support for all children – most especially Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs).


Structure of the Organisation


Zisize is overseen by a committed board of trustees which meets bi-annually and offers a variety of skills and input including the areas of education, finance, strategy and social welfare. Zisize currently has a staff of over 70 permanent employees.

Area of Operation


Zisize’s projects were initially situated in the northern most tip of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, around the small ‘town’ of Ingwavuma. Zisize’s projects operate in an area bordered by Mozambique to the north, Swaziland to the West and the Pongola River to the South and East. Our work covers the three tribal areas of Mathenjwa, Nyawo and Mngomezulu, also known as part of District 272, the Jozini Municipality within Umkhanyakude District. The population size is estimated to be 120,000 with 57% being under the age of 19 years. The organisation works with 11 primary schools and 3 high schools, community creches and their surrounding communities. The main centre is in Ingwavuma at KwaQatha which is the administrative home to Zisize and also has sports facilities, a crèche/day care facility, a library/training venue and youth and life skills venue. The organization has expanded its services and now has a satellite office in Hlabisa providing services to families and another in Mbazwana providing early childhood development services. The areas Zisize operates in are deep rural with poor infrastructure, the nearest sizable towns – Richards Bay and Empangeni, being 250km away. Unemployment is high and there are few job opportunities in the area. Poverty is extreme and HIV prevalence is between 30-40% in adults.