Nearly a third of children in the Western Cape live in poverty. According to the 2012 General Household Survey 30.6% of children (more than half a million) in the Western Cape are living in households with monthly per capita income of less than R575. One in 10 households goes hungry, which increases children’s chances of growth faltering, as well as being underweight and nutritionally at risk. Many also suffer from tuberculosis. Some of the Western Cape’s poorest families are found in the large township of Khayelitsha.

In 2004, our founder, Vivian Zilo, was assisting with a research program conducted by the Desmond Tutu TB Center at the University of Stellenbosch. The researchers’ goal was to discover why patients were defaulting from their treatment. Vivian conducted a survey in the Khayelitsha suburb of Site C and found that patients could not afford a meal to have together with their treatment.

To counteract this, Vivian identified the need for a soup kitchen in the community. She decided to quit her job and started a Food Nutrition Program. In May 2007, the Iliso Care Society was registered as Non Profit Organization 055/182. Iliso is also registered as a Public Benefit Organisation with Section 18a approval from SARS, which means donations to Iliso are tax deductible in South Africa.

Iliso is 100 percent BEE compliant.

Iliso has been issued with a Certificate of Acceptability for Food Premises.