Feb 9, 2015

Starfish celebrates a decade of successfully supporting children orphaned by AIDS in South Africa

Wellness Wagon providing healthcare to children
Wellness Wagon providing healthcare to children

Starfish celebrates its’ 10th anniversary this year! Starfish has always has a grassroots approach to addressing the very real problems of children orphaned by AIDS in South Africa. We do this by partnering with local projects within communities, to provide education, healthcare and child-protection services to children in need.

Our first project was the Ginasapho Rural Outreach Program, which received $2,500 to feed 500 children.

10 years and over $2 million later, Starfish USA helps support almost 16,000 children in 35 communities throughout South Africa, bringing not only hope, but real change to the lives of these children.

We’ve seen real change this past decade, including the graduation of our first Starfish child from the University of Johannesburg last year! Thabo came to our centre in Soweto when he was just 11 years old and already head of his household. Starfish supported Thabo with counseling, food parcels and daycare for his younger siblings, enabling him to return to school, and against all odds, graduate from university.

You have helped fund our Wellness Wagon, a bright orange mobile clinic, which travels to Starfish communities, providing vital healthcare services to children in rural areas without access to medical centers. The Starfish nurses test children for HIV, TB and malaria, provide immunizations and monitor children’s health.

We visit our projects regularly, not just because we like to see the smiles on the children’s faces, but to ensure financial accountability, monitor growth and development, and update our donors on the progress of our work.

Many of the daycare centers are in rural villages without electricity or running water. These centers care for 30 children in little more then a corrugated iron shack.

At each of the daycare centers we support, the children are well cared for and educated, and the teachers are making a real impact in early childhood development. The children receive two hot meals a day, which are cooked in a tiny kitchen over a gas stove. Vegetable gardens provide healthy, fresh food for the children. This is possible thanks to educational materials, training and funding from Starfish. 

Thank you, on the behalf of the children, for your continued support. As they say in Zulu, “Siyabonga”!

Children playing at one of our daycare centers
Children playing at one of our daycare centers
Kids in the after-school center
Kids in the after-school center
The fabulous women who cook hot meals for our kids
The fabulous women who cook hot meals for our kids


Nov 25, 2014

Fall Update 2015

Your donations have achieved so much!

Starfish provides training and mentoring to the children, as well as monitoring individual healthcare, education and child protection services. This year, your donations provided 10,372 daily meals for school children, 6,180 food parcels to vulnerable families, 2,674 school uniforms, 6,667 Afterschool care sessions, 3,789 clothes and blankets to children, Child protection services to 8,460 children.  Thank you!

Providing children with the services they need to flourish

Recently Starfish was alerted by the school’s careworker to a family in a terrible situation. The family consists of a mother and 6 children who do not attend school. They have recently come from Swaziland and settled in an isolated shelter away for the local community. The social worker could not provide care as they are not South Africa nor have they any official documentation. The social worker conducted a visit to the family and they were immediately referred to Starfish and provided with school uniforms and a monthly food parcel. Our food gardener, Bongani Mngomezulu, will be assisting them in starting a food garden of their own and soon they shall be self-sufficient.

Giving a voice to those in need

A 9 year old boy in Grade R at Mayaluka Primary was noticed by our social worker at the school. The boy would hardly speak and would use very few words when he did. His family and his teachers accepted that “he was born like this, there is nothing we can do.” Thankfully Starfish could help. The boy was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with a speech impediment. Immediately he was taken to see a speech therapist. The social worker found the child had been seriously neglected and recommended he be placed with foster parents. There is sadly a widespread lack of awareness of the help available to children in dire need of expert attention. 

Sowing the seeds of Hope

Feeding seventeen mouths can be a daunting prospect, but this is a challenge Sbonbile faces daily as she supports and cares for her five children, many stricken by TB and twelve grand-children. Starfish sent a community health worker to visit the family and found they were on the verge of starvation. In response Sbonbile and her family received garden tools and seeds to grow a self-sustainable food source for the family. Food security is a major problem within many of the communities that we serve. Having enough to eat is vital, especially for those living with HIV. Even if they are fortunate enough to have access to antiretroviral therapy, without the right nutrition, they cannot fully adhere to treatment programmes. Through the support of Starfish, Sbonbile and her family have the means to produce their own food. This small, but fundamental assistance now means that the family are not only better fed and more financially stable; it affords the grandchildren the chance to go to school and the hope of a better future.


Aug 13, 2014

You're invited to our Dinners of Hope in NYC and DC


Dear Donor,

Please join us next month at our Dinners of Hope to celebrate South Africa's Heritage Day, and learn more about the work that Starfish is doing to bring life, hope and opportunity to thousands of vulnerable children throughout South Africa:

New York 

Tuesday, September 23rd at 6:30pm

Braai, W51st Street (Btw 8th & 9th Ave) 

Washington, DC

Friday, September 26th at 8pm at Nandos

We look forward to thanking you in person for the real change that your donations are making in the lives of South African children affected by HIV and poverty.

Please contact usainfo@starfishcharity.org to reserve your tickets. 

With thanks



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