I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy Rabindranath Tagore

Ekukhanyeni Relief Project champions poverty alleviation and sustainable community development through complementary community-based programmes that improve the capacity of marginalised and poor communities in urban and informal settlement environments to provide effective early childhood care and education to its children and adult support network and to achieve and sustain food and nutrition security.

Since 2005, the organisation has been working from within communities to build resilience to a multitude of social challenges through its Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Food Security programmes with a strong emphasis on the promotion of local community mobilisation and engagement to

both encourage upliftment and resilience, as well as to develop social capital and community-based resources.  Each of our interventions aims to broaden the organisation’s effort in weaving together an holistic, family oriented approach to community development that promotes social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being from the grass roots level on up.

Our approach is further rooted in love, service and compassion in a sphere of trust, respect, and shared responsibility with our programme beneficiaries.

Interventions are mainly operational in the City of Johannesburg, Region G with Food Security initiatives extending further afield.

Our Founder

Liza Rossi

From working as a diplomat for the South African government in Munich to shaping the minds and brightening the futures of vulnerable children in South Africa, Liza Rossi grew up with a calling to make a difference and has created a lasting and growing legacy through the upliftment of poverty stricken informal settlements close to Johannesburg.

Her life changing journey started after returning to South Africa to nurse her ill mother. Shortly after, with a new outlook on life Liza left her job and started volunteering in various impoverished communities, helping children with HIV in Johannesburg, Kawzulu-Natal and Limpopo.

It was during one of these initiatives that she identified a tremendous need for self-development and empowerment in the Lawley informal settlement of Johannesburg.

In an effort to empower the community to be self-sufficient, she registered her Ekukhanyeni and stayed in the Lawley community for three months, experiencing life through the eyes of its inhabitants and ensuring that she grasped the extent of their needs.

From there the first Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme was born and has grown to 16 established centers in Lawley. The ECD initiative also led to an expansive food and nutrition security programme coupled with community food security initiatives and food garden establishment training and mentoring.

The journey, however, did not end there and Liza is continuously evolving the community upliftment project of Ekukhanyeni and ensuring that the programmes impact reaches far and wide into impoverished communities across South Africa.

Our Board

Liza Rossi

Liza Rossi Executive Director & Founder

Dr Khulu Mbatha Chairperson

Nonhanhla Morekure Director

Biddy-Rose Tiernan Director

Operations Team

Michelle Mulley-Nagel Operations Head

Kelebogile Phakedi Administrative Operations Head