It has been a busy first term at our Uphawu Reading Club in the Samora Machel informal settlement! A generous donation of shining new school shoes, collected by STBB Helderberg, was shared with children in the Reading Club and in their respective schools.

In addition, STBB as well as a private sponsor from Australia, donated funds with which we purchased and donated 150 of the required calculators for matric maths. The matriculants otherwise have to share the use of one such calculator amongst 30 or more learners in one class which makes maths so much more challenging! The high schools involved were Zwelivumile High school, Zola Business School and the Matthew Gonie High School.

The first term outing to the Green Point Urban Park was a high point, as always. Arriving at 10h00, the children enjoyed face painting, games on the lawns, playing on the jungle gyms and a Kentucky treat for lunch. By 18h00, the children still wanted to stay longer and the exhausted volunteer child minders had to put foot down.

Speaking of feet … Each STBB branch will on Mandela Day this year host an awareness of our No More Bare Feet campaign the plight of those without school shoes. We will collect shoes and school stationery in the branches to help gear up the children in our Uphawu Reading Club with the things they need in their school day. Please take part in your branch’s efforts in this regard.


One important and longstanding arm of STBB4GOOD is the Uphawu programme.

The Uphawu Reading Club came about when Mondeka Mabibini, an employee in our Cape Town office, approached our managing partners for assistance with a project that she had been running herself in the Samora Machell and Philippi informal settlements. She had established a reading and learning programme to accommodate children who hang around in these settlements after school as they often have nowhere to go until their parents come home, and have very little to eat after school.

STBB became involved and has now, for some 7 years already, sponsored the rental of an after-school space as well as lunch for the 70 – 100 children that attend during the week. STBB is also supporting Mondeka to qualify as an early childhood development teacher and she spends her time towards studies and running this project.

The Reading Club is more than just an after-school place of comfort. Volunteers help children with their homework, teach them how to do traditional dances, take them on outings and STBB sponsors the very popular yearly Uphawu camp. Many of the children have never been to the sea or Table Mountain, despite living so close to these beautiful places. With donations and efforts, the children get to explore areas outside of the school and the informal settlement where they live.

Part of the Uphawu Reading Club’s efforts is to collect school shoes for children who do not have shoes to wear to school. Look out for the No More Bare Feet campaign 2023 this year and do become involved!

Reading Club: Phillippi Informal Settlement

The Uphawu Community Development initiative was established by STBB employee Mondeka Mabibini and has as members three other STBB employees.

Uphawu this year launched a new project, the Fundani Reading Club (‘fundani’ meaning ‘Let’s read!’) for the youth of the Samora Machel informal settlement in Philippi.

Mondeka’s research shows that children from impoverished communities such as this would greatly benefit from productive ways to pass their time after school in the afternoons engaged in meaningful activities, the lack of which can leave these children vulnerable to negative elements like gangs, illegal drugs and sexual abuse. Improving their reading skills, providing access to literature, and creating a love for reading and a reading culture in these children gives them a sense of self and their place in the world and helps them to complete their formal education.

To create the first of hopefully many reading rooms, they need

  • a large converted shipping container, which will be stocked with
  • books , toys and shelving;
  • chairs and large cushions to sit on;
  • paint and carpets/mats to make it cozy;
  • a pc or laptop with internet access; and
  • nutrition such as sandwiches and soup.

The success of this project relies on your generosity. Mondeka has applied for a NPO certificate to enable donors to declare their donations for tax purposes. If you would like to make a donation or would like to get involved in other ways, please contact Mondeka Mabibini on or Maryna Botha on


Approximately 7 million children in South Africa don’t own school shoes. School shoes play a major role in shaping a learner’s confidence.

An initiative close to our hearts is the UPhawu Community Development NO MORE BARE FEET campaign, where we ask our staff, our clients and the public who are interested in participating to donate either good condition, second hand or new school shoes for underprivileged children in specific rural and urban areas.

If you would like to donate shoes, please drop them off at any STBB branch reception.

Any and all donations are most welcome and appreciated.

UPhawu Community Development is a registered NPO. For any further information, email Mondeka on or call her on +27 21 406 9100.