About us

Masicorp was founded in 1999 by John and Carol Thompson who were soon joined by their close friend Jane Philippi. All three are US citizens living in the Eastern US. They frequently visit SA and Masiphumelele.

Our work is for the people of the Masiphumelele Township which according to the 2011 Government census has a population of 21,904. Earlier research for a PhD thesis suggests that the population is closer to 38,000.

What is undisputed is how the community has been severely disadvantaged by the historical legacy of apartheid and the slow pace of reform since 1994.

Our approach has always been to first ask the community where and how they need support – never to arrive with pre-conceived assumptions. From this approach, we know residents want a hand up not a handout and all agree that education is the route out of poverty.

In 2009, after giving 10 years of active involvement in Masicorp, the original USA team handed over to a South African Board. John and Carol Thompson and Jane Philippi continue to be involved in overseas fund raising activities and keep in close touch with the SA team.

Since 2009 Masicorp has grown; we have developed most of our established programmes and projects and added many new; the total number of beneficiaries have gone up from approximately 1500 to over 5300 each year and we have established some highly effective partnerships. All this has been made possible through our growing teams of volunteers [now over 65] and staff [now over 30] working together in the township and our support teams helping to raise funds in US, SA and UK. And, of course, nothing could be achieved without our generous donors.

South Africa is probably the most economically unequal country world-wide and despite the legacy of Mandela, too little has been done since 1994 to correct this situation – true reconciliation and long-term peace in this country is at risk.

Because Masicorp is staffed with a mixture of paid and volunteer staff, all its projects and programmes deliver on-the-ground practical examples of the ‘haves’ helping the ‘have-nots’. This is a cross-cutting additional benefit of our work which, in its small way, promotes reconciliation and peace.


  • Everyone in Masiphumelele will have access to quality education, training, advice and support


  • To work with the people of Masiphumelele, and key partners, offering opportunities, through education to help residents progress out of poverty towards a sustainable livelihood


  • Utmost respect for those we serve and for each other
  • Participation in decision making by all those affected by our actions
  • Empowering all involved to take ownership of their own development
  • Integrity and transparency in all our operations
  • Long-term sustainability