Author: Karen Brokensha

I am the Marketing and Fundraising Co-ordinator for iThemba Lethu. I am passionate about people, stories and fascinated by human courage, capacity and resilience!

NATION BUILDER – Professor Jonathan Jansen

Feedback from the webinar hosted 31.05.2018 by Operations Manager Craig Bouchier

The only way I know of people to lift  themselves out of poverty is education.


  • 19% participation in higher education – 16% blacks
  • Money should be spent on preschool
  • The gap between Goga and good  preschool – the gap is huge and is never closed
  • To rebuild education strengthen the base – not where the noise is – fix the foundations
  • I’ve teached at the worst school in the country and the best in USA and the kids are the same except for the opportunity – there is nothing wrong with the kids

What are the changes taking place in education that is not obvious?

  • Students coming into university are now coming from homes where the state provided grants and the expectation is when you get to university the state will provide.
  • There is a notion you must give me and I must not pay back.
  • Growing trend towards incivility
  • Universities you can’t share your view if it’s different politically
  • To fix education you got to fix from preschool

Business should be saying: How could we add value not just buy books

  • In Silicone valley they expect you to fail – we are risk averse
  • They are encouraged and inspired by teachers – locally we are put down by teachers

How important is a mentor for disadvantaged kids?

  • Major reason young people struggle they don’t have mentors,
  • They need access to opportunities – in a white community Dad can phone a friend who is CEO of large company and get his son an internship after university or job opportunity
  • Must find ways of connecting kids – sometimes it takes a long time
  • Vital to have a teacher that motivates, inspires young people

If you find a child abandoned …

Please do the following:

  1. Take the child to the nearest SAPS (South African Police Services) as they will need to open a docket and issue a case number
  2. SAPS will liaise with the local Social Welfare Office
  3. They will refer SAPS to take the child to the relevant Crisis Home/Mother
  4. The Crisis Home will liaise with Social Welfare as to the best plans for the child’s safety and care

SAPS Durban Contact No’s 

  • Durban 031 310 6321
  • Central 031 325 4453
  • Umbilo 031 203 2409 0r 203 2400
  • Mayville 031 203 7381
  • Point 031 367 4012
  • Sydenham 031 203 2703
  • Cato Manor 031 203 7349
  • Berea 031 277 1066
  • Westville 021 267 7340

Child Welfare Durban and District – 20 Clarence Rd, Morningside Tel: 031 312 9313

Social Services for Homeless Mothers & Children

December can be a devastating time for many homeless and desperate mothers with children.

Please note the following should you need Department of Social Development in Eagle Building, Durban Central (Tel: 031-3605420), renders services to families living on the streets.

Further to the above, there is a new shelter for mothers and their children, which is situated at Lazarus House, 41 Umbilo Road (Tel: 031-4925028). Admission, has to be arranged through a social worker.


Compass Cares for the orphans

Compass Cares is the corporate social investment arm of Compass. Compass Cares is the heart of the company and the initiative through which we reach out to those in need. We have enjoyed a long partnership with iThemba Lethu and supported their transition homes to help integrate orphaned or abandoned children into families. Our approach has been one of providing more than just funds. We strive to offer support and encouragement to this NPO and their amazing team.

Click on this link to read more about the work Compass Cares is involved in …

Herewith some of the cheque handover highlights over the years

2016 Cheque handover Taryn Murdey (Marketing and Events Coordinator, Compass) and Karen Brokensha (Marketing and Fundraising Co-ordinator, iThemba Lethu)

2017 Cheque handover kiddies with Karen Brokensha (Marketing and Fundraising Co-ordinator, iThemba Lethu) Mumsie Ngcobo (Day Caregiver, iThemba Lethu) and Byron Doherty-Bigara (Regional Manager, KwaZulu-Natal, Compass)

2018 Cheque handover Mumsie Ngcobo (Day Caregiver, iThemba Lethu), Karen Brokensha (Marketing and Fundraising Co-ordinator, iThemba Lethu) Joelle Gibson (Breastmilk Bank Administrator, iThemba Lethu) and Sharon de Beer (Marketing and CSI Coordinator, Compass)

Why I ride my bike – Jon Shepard

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life exists”.

Cycling in essence is an adventurous sport, it evokes a spirit of exploration and risk-taking, and being adventurous inevitably makes you a more interesting person.

Riding Amashova opens doors to a world of possibilities; you’ll gain access to places often too remote for the average person and you get the privilege to engage with individuals in a more meaningful way.

The awesome fact about cycling is that no matter where you find yourself in our beautiful country, chances are you’re never too far away from a forest trail, district road or main road. You don’t even have to travel very far… cycling can help you discover hidden gems in your very own town, opening your eyes to what you never thought existed in our magnificent country.

It’s all about being present in the here and now. Rolling with it. Going with the flow. Everything else, all the challenges life throws your way, magically fades into the background.

Many people wish they could ride a bike, some can’t afford it, some do not have the drive, ability, mobility or health to attempt it and others simply cannot get in. We should  never expect to be entitled to anything.

You can rest when you are dead

Thank you Jon (the lean mean racing machine on the far right in blue t shirt!) for riding the Amashova again 2016, 2017 and now again in 2018 to raise awareness and funds for iThemba Lethu!

#SHOVAFORHOPE – Men cycling against injustice

When nine strong, brave and maverick men get together to cycle for injustice against abused and vulnerable children, we suggest you get behind them and pledge your emotional and financial support. Expand a Sign are value driven action takers and were incensed by the devastatingly abuse of a family of children taken in recently by Operation Bobby Bear. Deeply traumatised and dysfunctional, the bevy of five have been taken into to be cared Eureka and her team of angels, and their current greatest need is healthy food to put on the table every day.

And then equally close to the Expand offices in Mayville, and the heart of the marketing team, is iThemba Lethu. Another local NGO committing to fighting for the lives of vulnerable babies. They run two transition homes for vulnerable and abandoned new born to three year old babies. The key purpose is to restore their hope and destiny through reunification and adoption into permanent forever families.

So the compassionate father of two and Expand Cycling Champion, Wade Barlett, has challenged himself and three friends Peter, Dean and Tyron to ride the gruelling 106km route on Quebeka bikes (weighing in at 25kg’s each with no gears and only a back brake!!) to create awareness and raise R100,000 for both for charities. Super easy donation options here

And cycling in support of the Amashova too in iThemba Lethu colours, for the third year in a row, is Bruce Gibson aka the Biking Viking and his wild band of fervent fathers Dave, Jon, Gio and Ethan.

These NGO’s need more than toys and toothbrushes to care for hurt and vulnerable children. Please pledge your R106 today (click above link for details)


Bruce Gibson – aka the Biking Viking and his merry band of brave men from 2017 Amashova!

We can’t pay caregivers with toys & toothbrushes!

As the final quarter of 2018, exam and employment energy decent begins towards the December slow down, there always seems to always be an emotional up-swing towards thanksgiving and philanthropy! And this is such an amazing gift for many NGO’s like ourselves, who benefit greatly from kind & thoughtful companies or communities. Or do we?!

We have an influx of individuals offering to bring their heartfelt contribution towards often what they believe we may need.

Now the harsh reality is that most NGO’s need cash for caregivers and running costs i.e. the financial means to reward the dedicated bevy of passionate people whose work is to hold, care, love and nurture the little and big people in desperate need.

They are the helping hands and hearts who care for the broken and vulnerable, the significant consistency of the same kind face, smooth voice, safe routine, familiar role model to help restore peace and boundaries in their chaotic lives. It is cash NGO’s need, not more toys and toothpaste!

And we are not talking big cash, we are talking R250 per family per month to your favourite place of health, healing and hope! Could you give up one night of takeaways per month?

It is so heartbreaking when good and kind people arrive with car loads full of hand me down clothing, puzzles and toys and equally sole destroying when they have used their hard earned cash for cheap sweets and candies that are not good for malnourished children, let alone the sugar rush it leaves for the caregivers when they drive out the gate.

Please hear our hearts, giving is good but responsible generosity is better!!

NGO’s are getting better at

  1. listing their exact needs (and a few treats)
  2. no longer accepting goods/services they don’t need
  3. sharing with other NGO’s
  4. becoming more courageous to partner with people who share a common vision for human restoration, rather than simply accepting donations cap in hand

So bold question is – could you give up your coffee cash or encourage your kids to sacrifice their lunch money once a month to invest in the paying for that kind and caring caregiver dedicated to loving that baby, child, youth and adult?

YES? Then please invest your R250 per month!

Caregivers can’t feed their families with toys and toothbrushes

Meet my little Miss Lulu …

23 August 2018

Hi Karen

I am also so delighted that Compass Medical Waste Services can bless iThemba Lethu with this financial donation especially in light of my pending adoption this year of Lulu. I have seen first-hand how incredible your organisation is in placing abandoned children into their ‘forever’ families.

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Please don’t start an NGO

iThemba Lethu has the privilege of bring a Nation Builder Partner

And why is that significant?

Well because Nation Builder is committed to understanding the needs of the Corporate, NGO and Consultant in the Corporate Social Investment space of our country and once all three parties clearly understand each others needs, it makes way for far more productive, profitable and effective community development

So before you decide to start your own NGO – please watch this video  and then decide is there not someone already providing that service/skill/ministry in your community and rather partner to strengthen their work instead of opening another NGO to compete in that space!!

See more amazing pics from the last In Good Company Conference

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iThemba Lethu

26 Archer Crescent 
Manor Gardens
KwaZulu Natal
South Africa

0663146953 (WhatsApp)