Get to know the Tshemba Foundation

“Our mission is to benefit the region’s overall healthcare system and provide volunteers with a stimulating and challenging skills-sharing and networking environment. We’re changing lives, including your own.”

— Neil Tabatznik

How it all began...

Our story starts in 2014, on a game drive in Hoedspruit, South Africa. Tshemba’s lead founder, Neil Tabatznik, was approached by the tracker of the drive to help with the slow build of his daughter’s satellite primary school. Neil agreed to build the entire school, but still wanted to do more.

After meeting with the Chief of the surrounding area to understand the community’s needs in more detail and after much research, he came to a sobering realisation: while the medical infrastructure of the area was somewhat in place; there were just not enough qualified healthcare professionals to support it.

A unique medical volunteering programme is born

The Tshemba Foundation is a non-profit organisation with a vision of fair and equal healthcare for all people in South Africa’s rural northeast. This unique medical volunteering programme provides the opportunity for healthcare professionals to treat, teach and learn, while also finding refuge in the quiet and beauty of a private game reserve.

Giving back to under-resourced communities

Tshemba’s aim is to attract health professionals from a wide range of disciplines, to volunteer their time and expertise for short- or long-term stays. Services include direct patient care, postgraduate support, skills development and formal teaching. We do not take direct responsibility for healthcare delivery but rather add our volunteers to existing services, to support and complement the work of local staff.

While providing a platform for health and allied professionals to give back to under-resourced communities, Tshemba is also a place where like-minded volunteers can exchange ideas, create healthcare solutions for the challenges they experience, and generally connect with peers from around the world.

Meet our people

Neil Tabatznik
Founder
Godfrey Phillips
Director
Barbara McGorian
CEO
Prof. John Gear
Medical Director
Melanie Vafaie
Senior Consultant
Lexi Cohen
Project Specialist
Rhian Twine
Volunteer coordinator
Inez Allin
Clinics coordinator
Clarissa Liebertrau
Volunteer centre manager
Cliff Munyani
outreach co-ordinator