Growing great girls

The Teenage Girls Programme has grown beautifully since it was piloted in 2019 with 50 girls. It’s become a major attraction among young girls and has received some great publicity.

The programme will now be expanding from two ACFS centres to all our centres, thanks to fantastic support from Coca-Cola and Doja-Cat.

This is an exciting development. We have over 6000 teenage girls in ACFS programmes. They face significant pressure and often need extra support to cope. That’s where this programme comes into its own.

“It helped me so much with my schoolwork. Now I can answer questions in my English class,” says Mpumelelo.

Another participant, Amohelang from Pimville, says: “I have better confidence. I always feel good. I’m ready to go out and get the world!”

We would love you to support our young ladies with items like:
Sanitary pads * Non-perishable grooming products * Perfumes * Hair scrunchies * Manicure kits and makeup sets * Weaves * Knitting and sewing kits * Magazines and journals * Art sets * Volley balls, board games and gym mats * Exercise leggings

Please contact us here to donate gifts in kind – or click here to send your urgent donation to our teenage girls.


ACFS Community Education & Feeding Scheme (ACFS) is a registered Non Profit Organisation founded by the late Bishop Trevor Huddleston in 1945 in Sophia Town, Johannesburg. He saw the plight of the needy malnourished children & teamed up with a group of volunteers who fed the children with the aim of combating malnutrition. The organisation has historically focused on the education & development of young children by ensuring that they get a well-balanced diet during the school day to enable them to perform and to achieve their full learning and development potential. In addition, the parents of children have been supported through a range of skills development initiatives aimed at increasing household income. Seventy-five years on, the organisation still provides this essential service for children and their marginalised families. We work predominantly in the marginalised townships and informal settlements of Soweto, Alexandra, Thembisa and Tsakane.

Food parcels ready for our Covid19 response
Food parcels ready for distribution

Our work is located in the context that more than 6 million children in South Africa continue to suffer multidimensional levels of poverty.  This compounding poverty, places a severe burden on the family, stifles the child’s ability to develop fully and compromises and robs her of the opportunity to become a responsive, active and engaged citizen.  As the turmoil and crisis of the COVID19 Virus erupts all around us, one thing is clear … the poor will be most affected and in many cases have no options to respond to the virus as some of our privileged communities do.

It is because of this harsh reality that ACFS Community Education and feeding scheme must choose to stay the course and ensure that our vulnerable communities, who are food insecure on most good days, remain supported to go through this lockdown crisis. For many of our families, their livelihoods have been wiped away with no notice. They find themselves cramped up in overcrowded homes and shacks and with restless children, now out of school. The requirement for food and nutrition is suddenly multiplied as children are at home 24/7 sharing very constrained spaces in the marginalised townships. Without a dependable source and support to access food, these vulnerable families will have more to worry about than just the spread of the COVID19 virus – they will go hungry. Many children in the townships depend on the school nutrition programme as well as our nutrition centres for a full meal each day. With this lockdown now fully in place, the food security for many of the children and families is significantly compromised.

It is because of this reality that ACFS must firmly respond to this need and ensure that throughout this period of uncertainty, we can at least provide some support through the distribution of basic food parcels for our most vulnerable households. We need your support to get food parcels in these households. As I already mentioned, the majority of the households under our care live from hand to mouth. Much of the meagre earnings the make are made on the streets. Those streets are now a war zone where it’s impossible to ply their trade- whatever it was. Five days in lockdown means five days of no adequate food. We simply cannot turn our backs on them. We need you!

Celebrating our donors

You’re the gooey goodness

We couldn’t survive without our donors. They’re the peanut butter between our slices of bread! So in September 2019, we were honoured to offer longstanding donors a tour of ACFS facilities.

They visited the Zola Malnutrition Centre with its’ new toy library; the Pimville Centre to see a lunch programme and skills training; and Meadowlands with its computer lab.

Many of our guests have been supporting ACFS for over 30 years. One donor, Dave White, has been donating since he got his first job . . . and he’s still giving even though his working days are behind him.

The ACFS is celebrating our 75th year – and thanks to donors old and new, we’re nowhere near retirement! In fact, South Africa’s children need us more!

The ties that bond

Joy and Brian Whittaker made their first donation to ACFS in 1988 and have been giving regularly ever since.

“We’re committed to ACFS. I did my social work practical at ACFS in 1972 and returned the next year as ACFS’s first social worker,” recalls Joy. Joy spent five years at ACFS. “I loved working there. They are the most wonderful people and do fantastic work. Brian and I believe in tithing and donating to ACFS is a wonderful avenue to share our blessings.”

Thank you both, for 32 years of friendship.

We can all make a difference

Having a steady income is essential in any home. And because ACFS has such a big family, monthly donations are a huge help with budgeting.

That’s why we’re so appreciative of long-standing monthly donors like Jacky and Michael du Plessis. Jacky signed up as a stop-order donor after visiting ACFS 20 years’ ago and seeing firsthand the impact the feeding scheme makes.

“Food and nutrition are terribly important. Children can’t play and learn if they don’t have energy. At ACFS, children are assured at least of a peanut butter sandwich; while caregivers are trained in food gardening,” says Jacky.

Jacky helped found her own NGO, the Shumbashaba Community Trust, in 2012. “My father was actively involved in Rotary and we grew up believing we can all make a difference.”

We thank all our donors for making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children.

Message from our Chairman

Lwazi Bam

Since its beginning 75 years ago, the ACFS has found relevance working with children in Soweto, Alexandra, Thembisa and Tsakane. It’s always understood that it plays a critical role in providing children from under resourced townships with a more equitable start in life.

Now, with the fourth industrial revolution knocking on our doorstep, the ACFS is embarking on a journey of restructuring. It seeks to become more professional and efficient and ensure it’s relevant to the needs of children growing up in a technological era.

As ACFS Board Chairperson, I’d like to say a special word of appreciation to all our committed donors. Without your support and dedication, we could not have accomplished anything.

Please continue to support the good work of ACFS. Bertha has exciting plans and products in store. She’ll need your support to bring them to life.

A song and a smile

One of the biggest challenges we face is with child- and granny-headed households. These families are poor, hungry, and desperate.

That’s why we say a special “thank you” to donors who sent gifts to gogos like 71-year-old Lucy Makati. Lucy is the main provider of her family of 15 grandchildren and eight adults.

It’s only thanks to ACFS donors that Lucy can meet her family’s nutritional needs. She’s an active member of the Pimville food garden and has been taught how to grow and preserve food. She’s used her green fingers to grow veggies at home too.

And every day, the children eat a nutritious lunch at the centre. This lays an important foundation for their health and capacity to learn.

ACFS has also helped Lucy obtain social grants for two children which gives them a small but valuable income. Thank you, once again, for reaching out to amazing grannies like Lucy.

Toys give us joy . . . and prepare us for life-long active learning!

Mandela Day 2019 was a landmark day for ACFS . . . because that’s when we kicked-off our toy library programme.

Volunteers worked enthusiastically to set up two toy libraries at Zola and Meadowlands; and stocked shelves with toys supplied by a wonderful donation from the Lego Foundation.

Neighbouring ECD centers and caregivers have been invited to bring their young children to enjoy the facilities and engage in structured playbased learning. We plan to open a toy library in Alex before expanding to all our centres. Please contact us to donate educational toys, shelving or carpets. Thank you!

Doing it for our girls

The first two Teenage Girls Clubs have opened at Jabavu and Pimville and they’re exceeding our dreams! Each club has 25 girl members aged 10 to 16; and uses a blend of activities (like debating, grooming classes, life skills and access to sanitary wear) to build girls’ confidence, ambition and inspiration.

Granny Lucy’s 15-year-old grandchild is a Pimville member and Lucy can’t believe what a difference it’s made.

“My granddaughter is now keen to attend school throughout the month and spends more time at ACFS. She’s found a purpose in life and is dreaming big for herself.”

We aim to open clubs at Zola and Naledi next. Please contact us to volunteer or donate stationery, school kit, clothes, sanitary towels or toiletries.

Please do try and get involved. This is where we can help our girl children become successful. Thank you!

MySchool card

We like every swipe

Have you selected the ACFS as a beneficiary on your MySchool card yet? There can’t be an easier way to give without giving!

Simply sign up at and add ACFS Community Education as a beneficiary. You can select up to three beneficiaries. Every time you buy from a partner store like Woolworths, Engen or Bidvest Waltons, your beneficiaries will get a percentage of your spend at no cost to you.

So sign up today! We like every swipe.

Mandela Day volunteers

SA Chefs cook up a storm for our kids on Mandela Day

Mandela Day volunteers

Huge thanks as always to the generous volunteers from the South African Chefs Association. Every year – and 2019 was no exception – a team arrives at one of our centres on Mandela Day, with car loads of fresh ingredients, pots and pans.

Soon the air is filled with the mouthwatering aroma of stewing meat and vegetables, and our little ones queue up to receive their nourishing meal. The gogos working in the vegetable garden aren’t forgotten either. When they take their rest at midday, they also enjoy the delicious meal dished up by the chefs. Then, in the afternoon, the school kids start arriving with eager anticipation.

In between all the cooking, there’s time to play with the kids and even test your skill with a hula hoop!

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