Partner Updates

Lockdown in South Africa: CUSP Partner Update

South Africa entered a nationwide three-week lockdown on Friday, March 27th. Their 57 million inhabitants will be confined to their homes with a few exceptions. Cases of COVID-19 in South Africa are much lower than in the United States and Europe, but they do have the most cases in sub-Saharan Africa. Cases have primarily affected suburban areas, and the government-imposed lockdown aims to prevent the spread of coronavirus to crowded townships and settlements.

Officials confirmed the first cases of coronavirus in two townships in the Western Cape, but so far there have been no known cases among the communities CUSP Foundation partners serve. Read more about how the coronavirus crisis is affecting South Africa with the initial decision to go into lockdown here and one week in here.

Angels’ Care Centre has remained open for their food program during the lockdown, but both they and Thembelihle Primary School have discontinued education programs. Read more updates from our partners below.

March 31: Day 5 of Lockdown Update from Angels’ Care

Update from Georgie Purdon, via Angels’ Care’s Facebook Page

Despite numerous challenges our staff at Angels Care relentlessly continue helping the most vulnerable children in our community. We are so sorry we have been a little quiet lately but we promise we are still here fighting for our precious children.

Just a quick update: we have added together all our data on who we have been supporting during the National Lockdown. So far we have sent out approximately 944 daily children food parcels (containing two sandwiches, fruit and yogurt), as well as 68 family weekly food parcels. The 68 food parcels have reached 175 people (children and some adults) and have provided around 952 meals. We are hoping to continue reaching around 200 children a day (Monday to Friday) and plan to send out around 40 weekly family food parcels. We are also assisting children with healthcare issues and ensuring they are staying as healthy as possible. We are doing our very best in very uncertain times.

A HUGE thank you to every single person who has donated over this time, this would not be possible without your support. Please continue to share our stories and encourage friends and family to help if that is at all possible. We apologize for the delay in Thank You letters but as soon as we get a moment we will be sending those out. Please also let us know if you would like any additional information.

Stay safe, stay home and let’s beat this together.


April 1: Village Talk Newspaper featured Angels’ Care Centre’s Work

Feature from Village Talk’s Facebook Page

About 200 children are being given food parcels every day through Angels’ Care Centre in Howick during the National 21 day lockdown. Food parcels are also sent out to needy families twice a week. Most of these families and children come from Shiyabazali Informal Settlement. “We try to help as many vulnerable children and their families at this time of the pandemic,” said Georgina Purdon of Angel’s Care. The Centre has adhered to all Government Regulations during this time ensuring good levels of hygiene and social distancing, along with only a limited number of children entering the premises during lockdown to ensure that they are kept safe distances apart.

Since the closure of Schools, Angels’ Care reported yesterday (Day 5 of lockdown) that they had sent out more than 944 food parcels to children as well as 68 family food parcels which reached a further 175 people. “We hope to continue reaching 200 children a day and be able to send out 40 weekly food parcels to families,” said Purdon.

“We want to ensure that all children stay as physically and mentally healthy as possible and have access to care in times of crisis and possible abuse.” – Georgie Purdon

Angels’ Care also assists children with healthcare through their nursing sister and social worker.

April 4: One Week of Lockdown Update from Angels’ Care

Update from Georgie Purdon, via Angels’ Care’s Facebook Page

The first week of lockdown is complete.

Angels Care and our amazing staff have certainly learnt to be creative, change and adapt, while still keeping the children’s health and wellbeing as our priority.

A huge shout out to all the staff for their dedication and tireless determination to work on the “frontline” against all odds!!! We have distributed almost 1500 food parcels, in the informal settlement and from our Centre, to individual children and 95 weekly food parcels that will help sustain 250 people. We have also handed out clothing to children in desperate need as the days have been cold and attended to children that have been in need of some medical attention.

Thank you to EVERYONE who is helping us reach the most vulnerable in our community, we could not do this without you. A special thank you to WOOLWORTHS Howick, Southern Lodestar Foundation, Fairfield Dairy, Wonder Bag.

Please continue to support us if you can as we still have two weeks to go. We are desperate for underwear for children under the age of 7 as we cannot buy them at the moment. If you have any suggestions please let us know.


How YOU Can Help:

Consider giving online to support the CUSP Foundation, where every dollar you give directly supports our partners in South Africa. Your generosity will have an important impact on the children our partners serve and their families during this uncertain time around the globe.

Visit our Online Giving page for options to support CUSP.

Thank you!


CUSP Response to COVID-19 in South Africa

While here in the USA we are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, our children in South Africa face even greater challenges. Our biggest concern is that Thembelihle and Angels Care schools are now closed until after Easter. In a recent meeting of the CUSP board of directors we decided that our immediate focus should be on helping our partners in South Africa with the basic needs of these children while the schools are closed as well as the immediate future. Primarily, we are requesting donations to supplement the food and medical demands stressing Angels Care Center currently. Angels Care will be the focal point of support while the children are out of school with added feeding programs, food parcels for the most desperate families and special care for higher risk children. We asked Dr. Carolyn Hancock to give us an assessment of what the staff at Angels Care are doing to respond to the pandemic.

For Our Friends at CUSP and CUSP Supporters:


A special thanks for your relentless work being done by CUSP, your donors and for your ongoing support of both Thembelihle and Angels Care.

The recent gift of $10,000 from CUSP for the feeding program could not come a better time with the crisis we all face with the global pandemic. Every day we hope and pray that the virus will not reach the informal settlements, or if it does (which is probably sadly, inevitable) that the love, care and basic necessities like food, hygiene products etc. we provide will go some way in promoting the mental and physical health of all our children and their families.

This past week, we have stepped up our provisions to include a food parcel for every child who comes to the Centre (Monday – Friday), all 300 – 350 children on a Saturday – the under 5’s where they would normally catch the taxi from, and the older children at the Centre (they gain access a few at a time). We were a little concerned that this would prove difficult as there may be too many arriving at once, but they actually arrived in “batches” of 5 -10 children at a time which is perfect. Next Saturday we plan to start at 7:45 a.m. and run until 10:00 a.m. Doing this we should easily be able to make sure their hands are cleaned and they each receive a food parcel (which our staff are now preparing on a Friday afternoon so it is ready for distribution).

Our nursing sister is providing ongoing lessons to the children on hygiene and what they can do to ensure their health and well-being. Hopefully next week we can issue everyone with a bar of soap along with their food parcel (if we can access the stock). The community caregivers are also identifying key families in the settlement who are in desperate need of food parcels and basic provisions and they will receive a weekly parcel for their family (we have started a database of this so we can keep track of what aid we provide). 

The government has been quite proactive in closing our borders, urging people to stay at home and banning public gatherings greater than 100 (preferably only 50) in the hopes it may assist in “flattening the curve”. We know you are all living under even more extreme circumstances in the USA. We are grateful it is still warm here and everyone is able to keep their houses (even shacks) well ventilated and the laundry clean and dry. All this helps… We are hopeful the government will allow charities which provide social services such as Angels Care to remain open, along with medical centres. 

One initiative we want to continue is providing daily care for our disabled children (4 of them). Just before all our schools were forced to shut, we employed a delightful social auxiliary worker who is very happy to continue caring for them at this time. We can give them access to a daily shower, food and some mental stimulation. We have spoken to their taxi driver and he is willing to fetch them and bring them to the centre Monday – Friday. We are hopeful we will be able to do this as they are extremely “at risk” as with cerebral palsy they are prone to respiratory problems.

In these very uncertain times we are taking each day and week as it comes and will continue to provide aid in what will probably need to be new and creative ways! 

Please pass on our news and sincere appreciation to all who are offering prayers for our children and have donated towards our children through CUSP. We are truly blessed to have you all as partners with us!

With much love and thanks,


Featured Project: Thembelihle Expansion

We are actively engaged in fundraising for an expansion to Thembelihle Primary School. Click here for more information on the school. 

This expansion not only doubles the number of children at the school but enhances the programs offered.  Among the improvements are the addition of:

  • Math, science and technology center
  • Multipurpose building for assembly, performing arts, indoor sports and a food services center
  • Dedicated chapel for worship
  • Seven new classrooms

On January 8th of this year CUSP board members, Hugh and Lynn Queener, were able to attend the first of two official groundbreaking ceremonies for the Thembelihle School expansion.  This ceremony focused our attention on the School Governing Body (SGB).  Speakers included:

  • Rev. John Stack – Retired Methodist Minister and SGB member
  • Mr. Damon Shaw – Principal
  • Dr. Carolyn Hancock – SGB Chairman
  • Mr. Hugh Queener – SGB member and CUSP Foundation Chairman

This project is now “officially” underway with the construction drawings almost complete and ground work beginning this month. We anticipate a 9-12 month construction schedule. Of note is the new class of 1st graders began classes in January. The school will admit 30 new children each year for the next six years going from 210 children to 420 by 2024.


We need your help to complete the building project. Although, our first year of fundraising (2017) was very successful we still need to cross the finish line. The overall project will cost 12,500,000 South African Rand (or about $1,150,000).

In accordance with our mission to create unity between our supporters and partner organizations, the financing plan calls for this project to fund jointly from South African sources and supporters in the U.S. So our capital goal is $600,000.

We are about 75% there.  Please consider a commitment over a three year period to help us.  The CUSP Foundation is a qualified 501(c)(3) and approved by the Internal Revenue Service – any gifts are tax deductible.  If you are interested in receiving more information or would like to make a pledge please contact us.


Featured Partner: Angels’ Care

This center provides a diverse level of services to children that come from extreme poverty, most of them in households that live on less than two dollars per day per person.  In addition the communities they live in have no running water, sewer systems or electricity and crime is very high especially against children. You can learn more here.

Angels Care Center offers services and a safe haven for as many as 500 children per week.  The center houses and runs a crises center for child victims of abuse, a weekly feeding program for 300 children, an early childhood development center and other education programs focused on children and their parents.

The school is in need of operating funds for staff salaries and program expansion.