Khanyisa Children's Home

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A happy home for the orphaned, abandoned, abused, neglected and HIV/Aids infected/affected children of the O.R. Tambo District, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

We have children from Mthatha, Mqanduli, Lusikisiki, Ngcobo, Ngqeleni, Libode, Port St. Johns, Tsolo and other nearby districts.

© Khanyisa Children's Home. All rights reserved.

How it started

Khanyisa Children's home was built in 2006 and is a registered non-profit organisation (Reg. No. 054/341 NPO) and began operations in May 2007.

The home is an outreach programme of Khanyisa High School (KHS), initiated and founded by principal Mr. Sebastian Mathew Vattakunnel ("VK").

Khanyisa Children's home was started with the vision of Mr. Sebastian Vattakunnel. While visiting the home of one of his school workers, VK was confronted by a tragic scene in an adjacent room within the workers' home. There was an infant child trying to nurse itself from his mother, who was emaciated and lying on a mat on the cold floor. She was a victim of the HIV/Aids virus. He learned that this was a relative of the school worker who had come to live in Umtata, from Kwazulu Natal, as she had been disowned by her own family. He counted eight other children in the house, aged between four months and fourteen years of age.
One week later, the mother and infant had both tragically passed away.

So stark was this image and determined to take action, Mr. Vattakunnel discussed the idea to create a Children's home with Sr. Recy, a teacher at KHS and also a member of the religious Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) from Kerala, India. After brainstorming with the staff, consultation with the parents and the governing body of KHS, a unified decision was made to construct the home in 2004.

A team of FCC sisters were requested by their superior, Sr. Recy, to come to Umtata,South Africa with the mission of running the children's home. This was in alignment with the wishes and decision of the FCC superior general and her council.

What we do

Khanyisa Children's Home strives to provide a safe home for the most vulnerable children and has so far admitted 137 children since May 2007.

The management of the day-to-day activities of the home is entrusted to the FCC sisters. They render round the clock services, in consultation with four other staff members, as the management team.

The home is also supported by nine hard working caregivers, one dedicated social worker and two security guards. All of these individuals combined keep the home running.

The daily schedule of the children range based on age but include include timely, tasty, nutritious food served five times a day (three meals and two snacks), designated play time, song & dance, drawing and reading, TV time and nap time.

The children's home is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of 9 members including educators, doctors, business people, community members and religious sisters. The board meets every term to ensure that matters are discussed regularly and any decisions regarding the children are timeously taken.

We also are very thankful and grateful to the following FCC sisters for all their help and great service to the home:
Sr. Mercy Valiplackel (Manager & Nurse) 2005 - 2011Sr. Joice Kadaplackal (In-charge) 2005 - 2012Sr. Recy George (Manager) 2008 - 2009Sr. Lioba Thomas (Manager) 2010 -2015Sr. Ansa Moothedath (In-charge) 2012 - 2015Sr. Vinaya Tom (In-Charge) 2014 - 2016Sr. Sebastian Maria (Manager & retired Pediatrician) 2016 - to dateSr. Serene Maria (In-charge) 2016 - to date

Our children

We are authorised to admit children in the age group of 0 - 4 years of age and have capacity of admitting 30 children.

The children are brought to us by designated Social Workers from the Department of Social Work or through the police officers from the South African Police Service (SAPS).

The children remain with us until they are re-unified with their families or are put up for adoption. In the event that these two events do not happen, the children are transferred to similar organisations for older children (aged 6 and above) within the O.R. Tambo District.

We are also currently sending 8 children to pre-school at St. Mary's pre-school in Kwa Payne, Mthatha. These children are currently in grade R. The sisters are responsible for daily drop offs and pick-ups of the kids. These youngsters have very curious minds and work extremely hard, showing promising signs of academic achievement ahead. We are very proud of them!

How we keep the home running

The Khanyisa Children's Home is run through continuous support and funding from various sources.

The Department of Social Development funds partial stipends for Child and Youth Care workers, social workers and children's necessities (food, clothing, school fees, medicine and administrative costs etc.). Unfortunately, this stipend is insufficient to cover the full operating costs of the home on a monthly basis. The deficit is covered by Khanyisa High School.

We also get generous donations from individuals within the Mthatha community, local churches and parishes, Khanyisa High School Alumni and many other individuals and small business owners who contribute to the home. Contributions are both financial and in-kind contributions (groceries, toys, clothes, nappies, infant formulae, etc.). Members of the community also find time to sit with the children, play with them, feed them and above all love them we appreciate greatly.

We would also like to acknowledge some of our regular donors from the community (a few listed here).

We are very grateful for your help and support always! Thank you!

Mister Bread (Premier Foods Pty. Ltd.)


Women with Vision (Mthatha)


World Peace Mission


Old Mutual (Mthatha)


Metro Cash & Carry (Umtata)

How you can help


You can donate (financial or in-kind)


Thank you to all of our volunteers!

Rebekka Gibbles & Elizabeth Heine, Germany

  • Rebecca and Elizabeth joined us from Germany for one year. They assisted in the daily activities of the home, supported the care givers and were very influential in caring for and looking after our children. We thank you so much for your kind love, hard work and support!

Joseph (Jo-Jo), USA

  • Joseph joined us from Philadelphia, USA for 3 months. He also assisted in the daily activities of the home and made a big impact on the kids when he left. He would take time to drive the kids to and from their school as well. Thank you Jo-jo!

Nisha Thomas, Canada

  • Nisha joined us for 2 months. She was actively involved in the day-to-day activities of the home and taught the kids how to do Yoga and worked with the sisters to create a set of fun activities to keep the kids engaged after school. Thank you Nisha!


You can volunteer


Please send us a message if you are interested in volunteering we will get back to you as soon as possible


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