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Challenges facing many children in South Africa are enormous



Too many children face enormous challenges like sickness, extreme poverty and escalating violence and crime that force them to grow up too quickly, with few opportunities.

Trauma, intergenerational trauma and fraught environments causing high levels of fear and stress affect the development of a childs brain, their ability to feel safe and as a result impacts their  ability to learn.

Children need  range of positive role models

​These same children often lack regular contact with people who are able to nurture a healthy and happy child. This may be due to lack of resources, ideas or the necessary skillsets to create positive growth experiences for children.

Over time this can all influence the growing child's mental health, development of psychosocial skills, and dreams for their futures. For some this can even lead to anti-social behavior, and major challenges with relationships, education and future employment.  



Children need enriched experiences

Opportunities to learn, play and expand horizons are rare for too many children. 

These same children often lack support to help process hard experiences and regulate their emotions.


Simple pleasures vital for health and well-being are hard to come by: fresh air, smiles, hugs, and opportunities to run freely, explore and laugh out loud. 

An absence of these enriched diverse experiences limit the repertoire of a child's options. Options for their own behaviour and responses to the world as well as dreams for their futures. 

It is every child’s right to PLAY! 

We all know that fun and playful environments make life far more enjoyable and learning easier and more enduring. In fact, Play is widely recognised as a vital component of every child’s development and well-being. The Right to Play and Recreation is enshrined in Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child (1989) but still it is one of the most neglected childhood activities. In addition to building relationships and social and emotional skills research suggests Play cultivates curiosity, creativity and a growth mind set which are acknowledged as key attributes for a positive future.

With our philosophy of CONNECTING THROUGH PLAY we foster positive connections and a felt sense of safety, empower and build resilience and stimulate intrinsic motivation for learning.

Our Approach


We increase opportunities for children to connect with positive role models in their homes, community and greater society. By being in trusted, safe relationships children get to develop social and emotional skills and grow in confidence. 



We spark the imagination and stimulate a desire to learn and explore. This will contribute to self-knowledge, a growth mindset, and a drive for the future. 


We nurture confidence, and innovative thinking and celebrate an 'I can do it' attitude.  This contributes to resilience, problem solving and positive self-worth. 

Our programmes

Our Play Programmes (Fun Days, Play@home and Circles) unite people of different ages, backgrounds and cultures and help children develop confidence, curiosity and creativity.  Through our Play Ambassador and Volunteer programmes we enable youth and adults from across Cape Town to uncover an interest in sharing of their time and life learnings with children. We work with them to build their ideas on how to CONNECT THROUGH PLAY. These opportunities enable children to have stimulating, enjoyable and varied experiences in their homes with their families, in the community with their neighbours and in other parts of Cape Town with their broader South African family.

Our Team

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Nicky Seymour

Director, co-founder

​​I am an Occupational therapist with a Masters in rehabilitation. I am passionate about creating opportunities for vulnerable and disempowered members of society to develop their self-belief and grow their potential.

I have worked in international development for 16 years and bring an in-depth understanding of inclusive community development as well as the disability, health systems and social development. 

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Melanie Lippert

Program Coordinator

I support all Sisanda Play Programmes and lead the Storytime programme. My experience includes administration and event management in the corporate sector and delivering  childrens creative programmes in the non-for-profit space. I enjoy networking and have a great enthusiasm for creative expression through various mediums, ie arts & crafts and storytelling. I am particularly passionate about empowering young and old in our more vulnerable Cape Town communities. 

Our Team

Nkulee Gwele

Programme Facilitator

I first connected with Sisanda FunDaytion in 2014 as a beneficiary and soon became a  young volunteer helping to lead activities. This is when I discovered my love for kids. I now lead the Fun Day programme.

I am a music facilitator and youth mentor believing “it’s better to build boys and girls than to repair man and woman”. I love encouraging children and young people to believe that they can have, and also reach, their life’s goals.


Leesa Bright

Fun Day Manager

I’m Canadian and have been living in Cape Town for 18yrs. I started volunteering with Sisanda in 2009 and found the experience so enriching that it helped me fall in love with this city and it’s people. I thoroughly enjoy working with children, connecting with people, affecting positive change and having fun together as one community. I am passionate about creating uplifting experiences of togetherness and I love being creative with arts & activities both indoors and outdoors.  Creating volunteer opportunities for people to be active citizens and positive role models brings me great joy. I believe in the motto, ‘what a difference a day makes’ and what a person can bring just by giving a little of themselves.

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Young people from the communities we work in are crucial and vibrant members of our team. Click here to learn more Play Ambassadors

Our Board

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Our Board

Martha Evans

Trustee & Co-Founder

I am passionate about history, eradicating poverty and the environment. I love storytelling – in all formats – magic, wonder, dance and art. I believe that happy childhoods make happy and responsible adults and it is everybody’s responsibility to ensure that children have access to equal opportunities.

I have worked as an editor for educational and trade publishers, a communication campaign designer for an educational NGO and a media studies lecturer at the University of Cape Town.


Nicky Seymour

Director, co-founder

Hear how we started and meet our 4th co-founder Daniella Meyersfeld

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Melissa Wallace

Trustee & Co-Founder

I am a Health Psychologist with a special research interest in adolescents, particularly those managing chronic conditions, as well as in working towards steering adolescents away from harmful behaviours and building resilience. As a psychologist I am also familiar with the vital role of play in learning, and I love that Sisanda Fundaytion aims to address this fundamental but often overlooked part of healthy development. I have over 12 years’ experience working in the NGO sector in the field of research.  
I believe that positive, inspiring experiences contribute towards nurturing resilience, and that with resilience, our children can reach their potential and thrive. 

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