South Africa

A powerful message of hope

Our international programs began in South Africa as a response to the devastation of the AIDS pandemic. At the time, our commitment was to provide food and technical assistance to people who were living with HIV/AIDS in Guguletu, a township located outside of Cape Town.

Since then, our partnerships have continued to grow — thanks to the tremendous generosity and dedication of our volunteers and donors — and now include the following organizations and projects:

J.L. Zwane Community Centre

The J.L. Zwane Community Centre is located in Guguletu. Open Arms sponsors a daily hot meal for members of the center’s HIV/AIDS support group and their families and caregivers. It also provides a meal for students participating in the Rainbow After School Program. Through private donations, Open Arms covers food and transportation costs, as well as a portion of the cook’s salary.

Ikamva Labantu

Ikamva Labantu (IL) has over 1,000 projects serving children, families and seniors with emergency food relief. IL’s home-based care program serves hundreds of homebound patients living with TB and HIV/AIDS. In addition, Ikamva Labantu’s Food Garden Project helps provide community training in gardening, as well as fresh vegetables and good nutrition for hundreds of township residents.

Open Arms supports the community garden project through technical assistance and funding support, which Ikamva Labantu uses to employ five gardeners. Gardeners oversee 10 food gardens throughout the townships, producing fresh vegetables for senior centers, daycare centers and foster families.


Monkeybiz is a nonprofit bead project that focuses on empowering women in the most economically under-resourced areas of South Africa through sustainable employment and health services. This inspirational project provides more than 450 disadvantaged people with materials, which they then use to create bead art and generate income.

All Monkeybiz profits are reinvested back into community services. Open Arms purchases the hand-beaded artwork and sells the pieces in the United States; 100% of the profits are invested in our international programs.


Streetwires is a Certified Fair Trade organization of many people who work together to design, create and market the finest wire and bead craft art. All Streetwires crafts are hand-made by over 60 permanently employed artists that work full time from the Streetwires art studios in Cape Town, South Africa.

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