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Our Impact

Planting the Seed, Growing Together

With our focus on empowering positive role models we are able to have a greater more enduring impact for vulnerable children in the areas we work. Bringing our skills, methods and networks to our partners often opens new opportunities making our impact more enduring.


From our start in 2009 until the start of the COVID 19 Pandemic in March 2020 we ran a Fun Day every month. Thousands of children have been supported with the help of our volunteers to opportunities where they are free, where they have access to the beauty of our country and where they feel important, cared for and inspired.


Our focus is connection …..and this has had spin-offs such as volunteers and sponsoring organisations providing Christmas presents, food parcels, infrastructure upliftment, work experience and even in one case leading to an adoption.

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Impact + Benefits 

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Our BeneficiAries

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Since 2009 we have connected with over 50 partners throughout the Western Cape. The range includes children’s Homes, Educare Centres, Community Centres and Schools. We work to create positive, fun and transformational experiences for the children in their care. We provide play and recreational opportunities to complement their work to help inspire children, lift their mental health and connect them with new people, places and ideas.


Since 2020 we have focused 60% of our work in the Gugulethu community of Cape Town.
Our events are aimed at enabling 5 to 14 year olds have richer life experiences however our programmes focus on building families and positive role models and so include younger children and adolecents.

Creating the joy of being a child

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Our Start

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It all started when one of Sisanda’s founding trustees, Daniella, was working at an HIV clinic. The clinic was under-resourced and in dire need of equipment and improved facilities - the children's area had no chairs, no toys and no psychologist.  There, she met a group of 12 children who were HIV positive, who were living in an impoverished environment and had been exposed to many traumatic experiences. The convener asked them to share their biggest wish for Christmas, no matter how big or impossible. She listened, quietly, at the back of the room as 8 of the 12 children said that they wished to go to the beach. This was preposterous! It was the height of summer and they were only 20 minutes from the nearest beach.
She sent out an emotional cry on Facebook to ask for people to donate so that she could help the clinic and help the children realise their dream. The response was phenomenal. Not only did the donations transform the clinic’s environment by redecorating, providing food, buying chairs and toys, hiring a psychologist and training two youth counsellors but it also left enough money to take 37 children to the beach for the day.

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This day in March 2009 was supposed to be a simple day, but we could never have predicted the impact it would have, not only on the children whose joy was palpable, but the 14 'volunteers' who experienced what it means to give to another in this country. It was transformative for all and that one outing led to the start of our small organisation, Sisanda FunDaytion. 
Sisanda FunDaytion is named after one little girl, Sisanda, who we met along the way and is a name that in Xhosa means ‘We are still growing’. Which is what we intended to do after registering as an NPO in July 2010 and taking on our first employee in August.

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We have continued to do  many days like this – in fact until the COVID 19 Pandemic we did 1 Fun Day every month since 2009 - with thousands of children from more than 50 different clinics, orphanages and community centers in the Western Cape with the help of our volunteers. The children we have worked with are incredibly impoverished, largely HIV-positive and simply do not experience the kind of days we are able to give them - days where they are free, days where they have access to the beauty of our country and days where they feel deeply cared for. 
There have been spin-offs - Christmas gifts, food parcels, teen movie nights, work experience and an adoption.

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OUR TEAM: Who We  Are

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Melanie Lippert
Program Coordinator

I run the Sisanda Storytime programme and assist with additional programmes bringing play and the ability to play to adolescents and adults with the aim of nurturing the healthy growth of children. Most of my adult working life has been in corporate and then through a change in life circumstances, transitioned into working with children and volunteering for NGO’s. This combined work experience brings along with it an understanding of field workers experience and back of house admin requirements. The past 6 years has found me connecting and networking with like-minded individuals and organisations operating in marginalised communities. I’ve always had a great enthusiasm for creative expression through various mediums, dance, singing, arts & crafts and storytelling.

Loves
I am passionate about Inspiring and Empowering young and old in my local and neighbouring communities through Stories, Creative Expression and Play. I believe that within all of us we hold the ability to share stories and express ourselves creatively.

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Nicky Seymour
Director and Co-founder

I am an Occupational therapist with a Masters in rehabilitation. I have a keen interest in creating opportunities for the disadvantaged and disempowered parts of our society  to develop their self-belief and grow their potential. In particular I believe in equity and inclusion and facilitating the potential of all children and young people to be happy and thrive.

 

I have worked in international development sector for 16 years and bring an in-depth understanding of inclusive community development as well as the health, social welfare and the not-for -profit sectors. 

Jump to Nicky's TEDX Talk
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Nkulee Gwelo
Programme Facilitator

Nkulee connected with us in 2014 as a beneficiary in our programme and quickly became a key young volunteer helping to lead activities. She says this was when she discovered her love for kids. She is a music facilitator and youth mentor believing “it’s better to build boys and girls than to repair man and woman”. She is from Gugulethu and speaks Isixhosa and English. She loves encouraging children and young people to help them believe they can have and reach their life’s goals. She joined Sisanda FunDaytion again in 2020 as a Project Facilitator.

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Bonga Myekeni
Play@Home Coordinator

Bonga has been with us since 2013. He started as a beneficiary, then became facilitator helping with our programmes and is now leading our Play@home program in Gugulethu. He is passionate about making children smile. With his love of sports and music he brings his team player attitude and all his effort to make a difference in the lives of children in South Africa.

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Our Start

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It all started when one of Sisanda’s founding trustees, Daniella, was working at an HIV clinic. The clinic was under-resourced and in dire need of equipment and improved facilities - the children's area had no chairs, no toys and no psychologist.  There, she met a group of 12 children who were HIV positive, who were living in an impoverished environment and had been exposed to many traumatic experiences. The convener asked them to share their biggest wish for Christmas, no matter how big or impossible. She listened, quietly, at the back of the room as 8 of the 12 children said that they wished to go to the beach. This was preposterous! It was the height of summer and they were only 20 minutes from the nearest beach.
She sent out an emotional cry on Facebook to ask for people to donate so that she could help the clinic and help the children realise their dream. The response was phenomenal. Not only did the donations transform the clinic’s environment by redecorating, providing food, buying chairs and toys, hiring a psychologist and training two youth counsellors but it also left enough money to take 37 children to the beach for the day.

Stroke White.png

This day in March 2009 was supposed to be a simple day, but we could never have predicted the impact it would have, not only on the children whose joy was palpable, but the 14 'volunteers' who experienced what it means to give to another in this country. It was transformative for all and that one outing led to the start of our small organisation, Sisanda FunDaytion. 
Sisanda FunDaytion is named after one little girl, Sisanda, who we met along the way and is a name that in Xhosa means ‘We are still growing’. Which is what we intended to do after registering as an NPO in July 2010 and taking on our first employee in August.

Stroke White.png

We have continued to do  many days like this – in fact until the COVID 19 Pandemic we did 1 Fun Day every month since 2009 - with thousands of children from more than 50 different clinics, orphanages and community centers in the Western Cape with the help of our volunteers. The children we have worked with are incredibly impoverished, largely HIV-positive and simply do not experience the kind of days we are able to give them - days where they are free, days where they have access to the beauty of our country and days where they feel deeply cared for. 
There have been spin-offs - Christmas gifts, food parcels, teen movie nights, work experience and an adoption.

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Our Journey Test

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2010

Sisanda NPO Founded

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2009

First Fun Day

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2011

First Birthday

2010

Sisanda NPO Founded

2011

First Birthday

Our Journey Test

2009-2017

Our Journey

July 2010 {Founding of Sisanda NPO} and first staff member August

 1st Bday (link to Video) 

 

2011 Our first of many connections with Red Cross Childrens hospital 

 

June 2012 {First Circle}…Volunteers start taking us on a journey and giving more of their time to connect and inspire. This started with Zakiya (testimonial)

 

Sept 2012 TEDx talk (link to video) 

 

2012 Nov    50th Fun Day and our second birthday –Interviewed on SABC 

 

2014 March Our first charity Argus Cycle tour which we continued in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

 

2013 June {First Youth Connect} starting our journey with connecting primary school and secondary school children from across cultural and economic areas

 

2014 Activity leader programme runs for one year – Young people from the low resourced communities start helping us to run our Fun Day programmes

 

2013 Sept - St Josephs Home Carnival with children with disabilities and chronic illnesses. We have also connected with Tygerburg Hospital and Red Cross Childrens Hospital 

 

First connection with International Volunteer Organisations and recruitment of volunteers through University programmes

2017-2021

 

2017 Our First National Lottery funding 

 

 

100th Fun Day 

2018 ‘Service days’ with international volunteers were conducted to numerous

homes and institutions to

work together to beautify

play areas

 

2019 March {10th Birthday}  (link to video)

 

2020 April 1st Storytime session inspired by the need to connect due to isolation caused by the pandemic

 

2020 June 1st Play@home program and initiation of the Play Ambassador Programme

Our Board

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Martha Evans
Trustee & Co-Founder

Martha is a Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of Cape Town. She has worked as a Freelance Journalist, Copywriter, Editor and Researcher, and as a Care Worker in the United Kingdom.

Loves
Laughter, sunshine, dancing, music and reading

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Nicky Seymour 
Trustee & Co-Founder

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Melissa Wallace 
Trustee & Co-Founder

Melissa is Head of Research at CANSA (the Cancer Association of South Africa). Her PhD research was on adolescents facing challenges of chronic illness.

Loves
sunsets, cats, hot yoga, travel, dancing and sushi

Watch Learn more about Nicky's Journey

2009-2017

Our Journey

 

March 2009: [First ever Sisanda Fun Day]

 

2011 Our first of many connections with Red Cross Childrens hospital 

 

July 2010 {Founding of Sisanda NPO} and first staff member August

 

1st Bday (link to Video) 

 

June 2012 {First Circle}…Volunteers start taking us on a journey and giving more of their time to connect and inspire. This started with Zakiya (testimonial)

 

Sept 2012 TEDx talk (link to video) 

 

2012 Nov    50th Fun Day and our second birthday –Interviewed on SABC 

 

2014 March Our first charity Argus Cycle tour which we continued in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

 

2013 June {First Youth Connect} starting our journey with connecting primary school and secondary school children from across cultural and economic areas

 

2014 Activity leader programme runs for one year – Young people from the low resourced communities start helping us to run our Fun Day programmes

 

2013 Sept - St Josephs Home Carnival with children with disabilities and chronic illnesses. We have also connected with Tygerburg Hospital and Red Cross Childrens Hospital 

 

First connection with International Volunteer Organisations and recruitment of volunteers through University programmes

2017-2021

 

2017 Our First National Lottery funding 

 

 

100th Fun Day 

2018 ‘Service days’ with international volunteers were conducted to numerous

homes and institutions to

work together to beautify

play areas

 

2019 March {10th Birthday}  (link to video)

 

2020 April 1st Storytime session inspired by the need to connect due to isolation caused by the pandemic

 

2020 June 1st Play@home program and initiation of the Play Ambassador Programme