In the Western Cape, nearly a third of children 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 a monthly per capita income of less than R575 ($48 USD). One in 10 households goes hungry, which increases children’s chances of growth faltering, as well as being underweight and nutritionally at risk. Medical issues such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are also prevalent. One of the most impoverished townships in the Western Cape is known as Khayelitsha, which means “our new home” in isiXhosa.


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 she found that patients could not afford a meal to have together with their treatment. It was in this area that Vivian saw the greatest need for community outreach. 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.


While Iliso Care Society began as a soup kitchen, we have since expanded our project into various programs to empower and nurture disadvantaged women and children in Khayelitsha. These various programs include projects such as having established a sewing project for women for enterprise development. We have tutors working throughout primary and high schools in Khayelitsha. We have started a kindergarten program during the weekdays, along with establishing a growing community library. We also have growing social work initiatives that work to provide intervention and support in the lives of those in the community.


Above all, Iliso Care Society’s mission is to empower, enable skill acquisition, and to provide the most basic needs for the people of our community. We aim to build a caring community that takes action to overcome their challenges. At Iliso Care Society, we are working to create a community that is compassionate and warm towards others.


Iliso is 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.