Charity is an peculiar thing. It can mean a donation, or time, even a service. But it also costs as little as a smile; in essence, all it is, is an act of kindness towards someone in need. And there are so many people in need here in South Africa and elsewhere: on the streets, in old-age homes or in the squatter camps that pepper the periphery of suburbs and townships. There is so much to do, and fix.
But where do you start? And who do you trust? Crucially, how do you help. Well, you can start here. The DAILY VOX TEAM has rounded up eight organisations across South Africa that deserve your time, effort and money, and if you can; your dedication.
1. FEED (Feed, Empower, Educate, Develop), Johannesburg
As well as feeding people through food drives, FEED also aims to empower children, especially girls, across Johannesburg. The organisation has created self-sustaining gardens and has hosted film screenings to raise money for basic essentials, like sanitary towels and school shoes. At the Adelaide Tambo School for disabled kids, FEED has even raised funds to build classrooms.
Admin costs are kept to a bare minimum; aside from the cooking and rental for a property, all income received is used for the greater good of the organisation. FEED asks for goods to be donated for projects though cash donations, as well as more volunteers to help with the growing demand, are always welcomed.  Aaisha Dadi Patel
How to help FEED
Contact Farida Meer, 082 786 0413
Banking details: FEED, Absa Rosebank, Acc no.: 9267387561, Ref: type of donation (Zakaat, Lillah, Sadqa)
2. Trinity Clinic, Johannesburg 
Located in inner city Johannesburg, Trinity Clinic was established in 2004 by a group of medical students who saw a need for healthcare among the homeless in the inner city, and founded Trinity Health Services together with the  Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Braamfontein.
Some years later, the clinic closed down due to registration issues. These have since been resolved and the clinic is now reopening.
Organisers say it will provide health care to the homeless in Braamfontein through a student-run initiative. The clinic will operate on  Monday from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, concurrently with the church’s weekly soup kitchen; services such as free healthcare and access to social workers will be available. Medical students will take comprehensive medical histories, do an examination of each person, perform basic bedside investigations, clean wounds, offer first aid, and refer those who require more attention to a free primary healthcare facility.
As the clinic is restarting, it still needs to secure sponsorship. Trinity Clinic needs funds to buy basic materials such as gloves, needles, syringes, dressings, sutures and to pay for waste disposal and maintenance. All donation whether cash or in materials will go directly to the clinic. Most importantly, the clinic needs volunteers without them, it won’t be able to run. Aaisha Dadi Patel
How to help Trinity Clinic
Call Kathy Tambudze on 082 094 2864, e-mail them or contact Trinity Health Services on Facebook.

3. Madressa Zia-ul-Badr (MZB) Mothers Home, Johannesburg
The MZB Mothers Home in Jeppestown caters for elderly Muslim women who have nobody left to look after them in their old age – some have no family here, while others have been abandoned by their families.
Founder Qari Moosa Seedat’s vision for the mothers was for them to be taken care of in a Muslim institution, where their needs can be met. The home currently looks after nine grandmothers, who have staff to assist with any and everything they need. Nafisa Akabor
How to help MZB Mothers Home
MZB has secured a property opposite its current location in order to expand. They are looking to raise funds to cover the expansion, in the form of a charity dinner. If you are interested in attending, call Qari Moosa Seedat on 093 786 4221 or visit the website. Alternatively, you can make a donation.
Banking details:
Name: MZB Frailcare Bank: Standard bank Branch: Johannesburg Branch Code: 002005 MZB Frailcare Account: 00 030 7823
4. The Durban Child and Youth Care Centre, Durban

Previously known as the Durban Childrens’ Home, the Durban Child and Youth Centre is a charity organisation that caters for children from two to 18 years old. Children who cannot live with their biological families for a variety of reasons are welcomed into this place of safety. The caretakers ensure that they make this second home as “homely” as possible.
The home is partially subsidised by the department of social development, which contributes 45% to 50% of their costs. The shortfall has to be raised through fundraising and donations.
“Any donations are welcome. In terms of food, we gladly welcome provisions because we have to feed breakfast, lunch  and supper to 82 kids every day,” says Thina Hlophe, resource developer at the home.
The home also welcomes volunteers. The volunteers are not assigned tasks, but given the chance to choose how they want to contribute, so they can help out while doing something that they enjoy. Zilungile Mnisi
How to help the Durban Child and Youth Care Centre
Call Thina Hlophe on 031 201 1301 or send her an email.
5) Open Air School, Durban
Based in Glenwood, the Open Air School caters for physically challenged learners. Learners with special needs have been given hope by this school for the past 94 years. The school is open to assistance of all types, including volunteering and donations.
“We have got academic, social and financial challenges; we do get volunteers but it is normally students who are doing their community service”, says Sithembiso Gabela, the deputy-principal.
Open Air has produced great talent and its learners are excelling in sports, including para-cycling and rowing. Dudu Mceleni, a grade 12 learner at the school, is currently representing South Africa in wheelchair basketball.
“As a team, we normally approach two sponsors a year, but it would be great if we get more sponsors because we will be representing South Africa in Algeria, I think any kind of help will be very effective,” she says.  Zilungile Mnisi
How to help Open Air School
Call Sithembiso Gabela, deputy principal, on 031 205 1277 or mail her.

6. Institute for Learning and Motivation (ILM), Durban

The Institute for Learning and Motivation South Africa (ILM-SA) is a non-profit organisation involved in socio-economic development through various programmes including non-refundable bursaries, emergency grants, and food and clothing relief.
“Our philosophy at ILM-SA, is not only that the lives of society’s downtrodden need to be changed, but rather, that changing their lives is the responsibility of each and every one of us – love and togetherness is a central part of giving,” says trustee Fatima Asmal.
The organisation’s small team ventures into supporting refugees (they were one of the organisations assisting the Chatsworth camp for displaced foreigners), assisting children with their education needs, and even supporting township cricket.
“We support KZN Cricket’s Township Development Programme – providing nutritional support to the kids, and kit support, as well as an annual cricket party for them when the season ends,” says Asmal.
As a faith-based organisation, ILM also supports Muslim religious schools in disadvantaged areas, helping volunteers to provide textbooks and even meals.
During the Muslim festival of Eid, ILM hosts its flagship event “Eid with a Difference” at Essenwood Park in Durban. “It is very colourful with lots of praying, playing and treats for the children donated by the community,” Asmal says.
Like all charity organisations, ILM could do with volunteers as well as financial donations.” The Daily Vox team
How to help the Institute for Learning and Motivation-South Africa (ILM-SA)
Call Fatima Asmal on 083 271 4500 or 031 207 6155 or email
Bank details: Name of Account holder: Institute for Learning and Motivation – South Africa
Bank: FNB Branch Code:  222826 Account number: 62143281905
You can also visit the organisation’s website.
7. Philippi Children’s Centre, Cape Town
In the heart of Philippi’s agricultural district, a children’s centre is providing care and learning opportunities for at least 240 children of farm workers each day. Although staff do what they can for the little ones, the centre is grappling to provide what the children need.
The children, aged between three months and six years come from the Philippi farmlands, and informal settlements in the area. Some parents in Mitchelle’s Plain, a nearby township, also send their kids to the centre. While parents are busy at work, the centre ensures their children are looked after, and receive care that parents are unable to provide due to poverty at home.
“Most of the children don’t come with food; they don’t have a snack for snack time. The children sometimes don’t have nappies,” says Shamiela Schippes, the centre’s administrator. “The child will have a soiled nappy on from the night before, because they come from underprivileged areas.”
The centre is filled with children energetically chasing each other around the jungle gym outside, while the babies sleep in cots in the classrooms. There are no beds for toddlers during nap time, so the centre makes do with thin mattresses.
The departments of education and social development subsidise the centre, but more is needed for the children to receive better care.
Among the greatest needs are volunteers to either work at the centre or sponsor a child for his/her R270 monthly school fees. The centre also needs nappies, wet wipes, baby powder, sanitary creams, second-hand clothing, first aid supplies, cutlery, food (vegetarian or halaal for Muslim children), stationary for arts and crafts, and donations for a security system that will protect the centre from theft. – Raeesa Pather
How to help Philippi Children’s Centre
Call Shamiela Schippers on 021 370 0039 or e-mail herYou can also visit the website for more information.
Banking details: Nedbank Account name: Philippi Children’s Centre.Account no: 103 703 6395. Branch: Claremont.
Branch Code: 104609. Swift code: NEDSZAJJ. Physical address: Weltevreden Road Philippi 7785.
8. Khayelitsha Special School, Cape Town
Children with mental and physical challenges are often marginalised in South African society. Care for these children is expensive, and in townships financial constraints mean provision for care is dire. The Khayelitsha Special School aims to empower children with physical and mental disabilities, by tending to their needs and providing a specialised curriculum to safeguard their futures.
Some learners have severe mental challenges, and some are wheelchair bound, while others suffer hearing problems or cannot speak. The school’s deputy principal, Busi Velebayi, says that because of their challenges many of the students have been stigmatised in their community.
“These learners have been hidden, their parents didn’t want to accept their disabilities. What is necessary, is to help them be included in the community an for them to not be disadvantaged in terms of education,” she says.
Many of the learners live with their grandmothers or come from children’s homes around Khayelitsha and surrounding townships, such as Delft.
With 202 students, the school can only afford to provide learners with one bowl of porridge a day.
The school prepares students for the job world, teaching them soft skills such as beading, woodwork, sanding, and producing leather belts. The kids begin at the school from age seven and at the age of 18, they attend a graduation ceremony.
The school has shown success, with one of its past learners now working at a store in the tourist hub of Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront shopping mall.
But to produce more success stories, the school needs nutritious food, wheelchairs, donations for a school bus and added shelter to protect children from the rain during assemblies, which can only take place outside. The school is also hoping to build a dining hall for its students. – Raeesa Pather
How to help Khayelitsha Special School
Call Busi Velebayi on 078 945 2808 or 082 206 1273 or visit the website.
Banking details: First National Bank (Symphony Walk) Account Number: 6202 322 6104. Branch Code: 250040 Physical address: Makabeni Road Khayelitsha.
Journalists Raeesa Pather, Aaisha Dadi Patel, Zilungile Mnisi and Nafisa Akabor contributed to this special feature.
*Editor’s Note: This is not an exhaustive list and there are many organisations doing great work. Know an organisation that ought to be on this list? Add it in the comments below.