Rural northern Kwazulu Natal; 
in the heart of rural northern KwaZulu- Natal in the
Umzinyathi district is 55kms from the nearest town of Dundee.
The Umzinyati district is one of the poorest districts in South Africa.
The population sits at roughly half a million people of whom nearly
85% are unemployed and 70% are under the age of 29. It is said
that 80% of the population lives below the poverty line.
There have been some developments in the district. Electricity
Sponsoring of learnerships offered at Elandsheim Retreat is changing the lives not just of the learners but entire communities.

Mbali and her family lived in a single round dwelling 6km from the nearest road with no windows and an open fire in the centre of the space. Their entire worldly possessions take up a space smaller than a desk.
Mbali is using her stipend to move her family closer to amenities; a dirt road, water supply from a hand pump and a general store within an hour's walk. She is now building her own home thanks to the sponsors stipend.
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GENESIS TRUST near Port Shepstone.

The Genesis Care Centre was established in response to a calling to make a difference in the lives of people in the broader community and a need by hospitals in the area to increase the numbers of step down care beds.  The Care Centre is a 40 bed step down care  facility that to date has nursed and cared for nearly 4000 people. The patient profile includes post op patients as well as patients suffering with either HIV/Aids, TB, Stroke, Cancer, Diabetes, or suffer with chronic illness. The Care facility offers patients intermediate level care between hospital and home care, relieving pressure on both hospitals and patient families as well as ensuring patients receive the support they need to recover or pass on with dignity.  Whilst at the Care Centre the patient and their families receive holistic intervention addressing physical, spiritual, social and emotional needs.

Sponsorship of 20 previously unemployed young people in their 20's on a Community Health Care Learnership has provided the community with much needed care workers and the opportunity for these young people who would otherwise never have an opportunity to study further or find work.

Learners attending class.
Practical experience is gained providing real help to the aged, mothers with new born babies, injured and those with HIV needing extra care. Once qualified these learners could go on to apply for employment in South Africa’s understaffed Healthcare industry.
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SETA Discretionary Grant sponsorship of NEW VENTURE CREATION created new business owners.
"Africa is rich but Africans are still poor, that is the paradox of our continent…We have to use the resources we have to create prosperity. The most abundant and precious is our people. The continent has a young population and we have started what we call a skills revolution. African children should go to school and be educated, but they should also be skilled," said outgoing African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at an African Union (AU) state of the continent address at the Hilton Hotel in Durban on Monday. 2016-12-19

AE incubator was privileged to be awarded a Discretionary Grant to train 22 unemployed people who wanted to start their own business. The development of entrepreneurs is the key to employment and upliftment of people from poverty. Many of our learners have Diabetes Type 1. Not often recognised as a disability, this life long condition can be life threatening if the person does not eat regularly due to lack of money for food.

Class of 22 learners with business ideas as individual as they are. 14 Business plans have already been submitted and some have started their businesses.
Well made goods. Clothes covers and jewellery.
More well made goods. Branded bags.
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Training co-ordination
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in conjunction with
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has become available to those few that can afford it. Water has been made available in certain areas through hand-operated borehole pumps. Water is then carried to the home where sanitation is limited. There is no sewerage system or rubbish collection. Health care is also a challenge with only a few clinics available over the vast district meaning that people have to walk many a kilometer to reach such a facility. Often just to stand in queues for most of the day.
Civil Engineering when financial constraints forced him to terminate his study.
A business practice Learnership gave this young man in his words, 
“A second chance at life”
He is using some of his small stipend to start a community centre focusing on educational
play for young children to give them a better foundation in life.
Siyanda was a second year university student studying 
WHY SPONSOR? What is in it for your company?

Over the past few months an increasing numbers of clients have realized that the new BEE codes require them to train unemployed learners as well as their employees. Some of the larger companies are finding it difficult to accommodate all these extra people onto their workplace. We are looking for companies to sponsor unemployed people on a variety of learnerships.  We will undertake that the learners are linked to the company and can then be counted as learner numbers and skills spend for BEE score.

The sponsoring client will be paying the full cost of the learnership programme plus a minimum R2500 pm stipend directly to each learner. Sponsoring learnerships correctly can however produce 25 BEE points, grants from SETAs and Tax allowances to offset most if not all of the costs involved.

Lerato Educational Centre was established in 1999 by the Salesian Sister Mary as a development project for women and children. Over the years we were lucky enough to be 
supported by many donors who enabled us to improve our services for the community of the informal settlement Eikenhof (also called Jacksondrift). The product is a project that makes many children happy, offers them learning, playing, reading, social learning and much more. The biggest reward for us is their happiness – reflected in their smiles
The community lives in extreme poverty with about 80% who are not South African citizens with no access to government grants. Unemployment, alcohol abuse, drug use and violence are a big problem. In addition, we have very high rates of HIV and TB infections and a high number of child-headed families.  
Today we run a learning centre for
500 children ranging from 3 years to grade 3. At Lerato they are offered opportunities to learn, play and 3 meals a day. We started off by using converted shipping containers as class rooms. The containers seemed suitable as they are mobile and cost effective. They are, however, not the best option for good class room teaching and by now most of them have been converted to class rooms.
Children of any age from the informal settlement are invited to use our library and find help with homework if needed. We offer a vibrant aftercare / homework tuition program and run learning groups for matric students and most recently learnerships sponsored by South African corporate companies
We are extremely grateful. Without the support of the business and private community our project would never have become a reality …. Sincerely  Bruno
For Further information or to arrange an appointment to discuss your company’s needs please contact:

Sue 082 451 5712 / 016 423 1030


Hilton 079 979 5822 / 012 460 1337

Lerato Educational Centre
  • All our learners and employees are black African from the informal settlement Jacksonsdrift or Soweto.

  • They live in an environment of extremely high unemployment, inadequate housing and appalling learning conditions.

  • Lerato as a learning centre is nearly mainly funded through private donations and we welcome initiatives like that of your company.

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