The Umoya Project – South Africa


The Umoya Project began in 2013 as a collaborative project between the Edmund Rice Network of South Africa and St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Rondebosch. Since then, it has grown dramatically and over time has become extremely special to all those involved.

The Umoya project takes numerous volunteers to a Sisters of Charity home in Khayelitsha on a regular basis to interact with the many residents in the home. The 70+ residents at the Sisters of Charity home have various mental and physical disabilities and have little or no contact with their families. The project plans fun activities with the residents in order to provide a space for them to have fun and form positive relationships with the volunteers.

The first Umoya session for the took place on the 14th February 2015. The day started with a breakfast organised for volunteers, followed with a reflection and prayer session facilitated by the SJ&AD. The breakfast  was a lovely opportunity for volunteers to reconnect after the long Christmas break. New volunteers were also given the opportunity to meet returning volunteers and share what “called them” to give up their time to volunteer with us at Umoya.

On arrival at The Missionaries of Charity home in Khayelitsha, volunteers were enthusiastically welcomed by the Sisters and residents of the home. Cheers rang out as volunteers and residents reunited after what “seemed like years, when only it was a few weeks!”

As the theme for our first session was “Sharing our Valentine’s Day Love”, the activities for the day included creating valentine’s day cards and wire and wool décor pieces. The activities created the opportunity for all for catch up, bond and share moments of friendship and joy.

Feedback from volunteers during debrief included excitement for the many sessions to come, as well as joy at the fact that we were back after our break!

The Umoya project will continue to be a blessing in the lives of our many volunteers and the residents at the Sisters of Charity home.

–  Edmund Rice Network South Africa