About us

Masicorpwas 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 most recent Government censushas 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.

A better future - thanks to Masicorp

A better future - thanks to Masicorp

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 8000 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 mix of paid and volunteer, black and white, 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
The City of Cape Town

Masiphumelele's library was built in 2003 by Masicorp and opened its doors on 15 September 2003 as a satellite of Fish Hoek Library. It has since been extended twice and was handed over to City of Cape Town in 2008. Library space is still provided to us free of charge to use for our programmes. (Masicorp continues to provide the equipment and human resources for its educational programmes.)

We also work closely with the City on our Early Childhood Development (ECD) projects and in Ukhanyo Primary School

Department of Social Development (DSD)
We are working with South Africa's Department of Social Development (DSD) to improve the standard of all pre-school facilities in Masiphumelele by provision of staff training and improvements to nutrition, with the aim of getting facilities registered with the DSD so that they can receive financial subsidies for infant daycare
Evangeline Ministries

At the Chasmay Road site, Masicorp, working in partnership with Evangeline Ministries, provides a ‘Life Skills’ course for women with little or no previous education. The course takes six months and teaches Basic English, Computer and Sewing Skills. All these topics are highly relevant to the women’s everyday lives and the course helps them gain self-confidence and a pride in their own work. Successful students receive a new sewing machine at graduation.

Fish Hoek High School

Fish Hoek High School have provided facilities for Masicorp to run after school maths lessons for learners from Masiphumelele High School. The success of the program can be seen by the 15% increase in the Maths pass rate by matrics in 2016 at Masiphumelele High School.

Gap Year SA
Gap Year SA provides projects for volunteers in communities such as Masiphumelele. Some of Masicorp’s education projects have benefitted from their volunteers who are able to stay in the community on a long-term basis.
Hokisa (Community support)

HOKISA (Homes for Kids in South Africa) is a Cape Town based NGO that began working in Masiphumelele in 2002. They provide community support to the families of the learners on our educational programmes.

Ikhamva Youth

HOKISA (Homes for Kids in South Africa) is a Cape Town based NGO that began working in Masiphumelele in 2002. They provide community support to the families of the learners on our educational programmes.

Joint Aid Management

JAM partners with Masicorp to provide healthy food to pre-school children in Masiphumelele. JAM supports more than 1,700 pre-schools in seven provinces of South Africa. As of January 2014, JAM SA introduced nutritional assessments to measure the impact of their programmes.

Knowledge 2 Share Foundation

Knowledge 2 Share bring world-class entrepreneurship training, mentorship and business assistance to disadvantaged communities in developing areas. Together with Masicorp they deliver structured business training at our Business Hub.

Find out more about Knowledge 2 Share Foundation's work here

Living Hope

Living Hope is a Christian charity working in Masiphumelele to improve the living conditions of the residents. Masicorp has worked together with them particularly on ECD projects.

Find out more about Living Hope's work in Masiphumelele here

Mellon Educate

Mellon Educate is an Irish-based African development charity founded by developer & philanthropist Niall Mellon. Since 2002 the charity, thanks to the enormous collective effort of some 25,000 volunteers, has built houses for 125,000 homeless people in Africa’s poorest townships.

Find out more about Mellon Educate's work here


MercyNet provides disaster relief to communities during natural or man-made disasters. Masicorp has worked with MercyNet to support the families of learners affected by disasters (e.g. fires and floods) in the township.

Find out more about MercyNet's work here

The Principals Academy Trust

The Principals Academy Trust administrates donor funding for an executive management programme for school leaders, with the goal to turn schools into centres of excellence in underperforming areas. In Masiphumelele they are providing funding and mentorship to Ukhano Primary School Headmaster, Michael Thyali to attend the Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice for School Leaders at UCT. Masicorp has encouraged Michael to undertake the course and is also helping him progress with the aim of seeing long term benefits to the school’s administration and management.

Find out more about the Principals Academy Trust here

The Sewing Café
This skills training centre operates free of charge to unemployed and unskilled members of our community with the aim to equip students with the skills necessary to join the job market or start a small business. Find out more about the work of The Sewing Café here
The Unlimited Child

The Unlimited Child directly supports and promotes quality ECD by providing an integrated, rapid impact programme that trains crèche caregivers in disadvantaged areas Several ECD teachers at pre-schools receiving help from Masicorp are currently being trained by The Unlimited Child.

Find out more about The Unlimited Child here

Valley Development Projects (VDP)

Valley Development Projects (VDP) seeks to improve the lives of people in the Ocean View and Masiphumelele communities. Masicorp has worked together with them particularly on ECD projects.

Find out more about Valley Development Projects here


The children of Masiphumelele are generally not well prepared for learning how to read and write when they start formal schooling; their parents want to help, but often do not know how.

The children's first school is the township school, where they are taught in their mother tongue, Xhosa, for the first three years. After that, they have to make the switch-over to English. The children who attend schools outside Masiphumelele face the task of learning to read and write in English, their second language, right from the start.

Help is needed! And it comes in the form of a wonderfully effective English literacy and language programme from our NGO partner Wordworks SA - the Early Literacy Programme. This highly effective and established programme helps establish good English language and literacy skills in our youngest students.

Volunteers link up with children from Grade 1-3 and work through an organized reading enrichment programme.

Parent Programme:
Wordworks has trained library volunteers and staff to run a seven week programme helping mothers to get their toddlers school-ready.

School Readiness programme for Grade R:
Trained volunteers prepare Grade R classes from the local crèches with skills for Grade 1.

Work for Love (Early Childhood Development)
Work for Love is a community-based organization that is active in connecting and uplifting local communities through initiatives focused on education and health care. Work for Love operates across the South Pennisula in Cape Town, but is most active in Masiphumelele. Masicorp has worked together with them particularly on ECD projects. Find out more about Work for Love here

Meet the Team

Masicorp has been helping the people of Masiphumelele to help themselves since 1999.