Tshemba Foundation, 2022

Celebrating 5 Years of Tshemba

June 2022
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Volunteer story

In 2022, we celebrate 5 years since Tshemba’s first volunteer arrived and we began uplifting and supporting rural healthcare in South Africa.
Read our story...

Tshemba welcomed its first volunteer in 2017, but our story truly begins back in 2014 on a game drive in Hoedspruit, South Africa. Our 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, but still wanted to do more. After meeting with the Chief of the surrounding area to understand the community’s needs and 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.

In 2015, we started building our tranquil Volunteer Centre, which today is offered as accommodation to Tshemba’s volunteers free of charge. The Centre was envisioned as the perfect escape from a hard day’s work. We offer a scenic hideaway and true bushveld refuge surrounded by an array of game, bird species and the great outdoors.

In 2017, Tshemba signed an MOU with the Mpumalanga Department of Health that allows us to place healthcare professionals in outlying hospitals and clinics within the province. Volunteers are primarily placed at Tintswalo Hospital, a government-run hospital which serves the 300 000 plus residents of Acornhoek, Mpumalanga. Volunteers can also choose to help out at many of the satellite clinics in the area.

In 2017, Tshemba appointed Barbara McGorian as CEO and, long-time leader in public health, Professor John Gear as Medical Director. Both have dedicated immense passion and commitment to Tshemba’s vision, and have helped us grow over the last 5 years. Featured here with the CEO of Tintswalo Hospital, Merriam Moyimane, and Nursing Services Manager Adelaide Ubisi.

In 2017, we welcomed our very first Tshemba volunteer: Dr. Kathleen Meyer from the United Kingdom. Kate spent 4 months at Tshemba: “I loved every moment of it. It was a privilege to have participated in the project, which I think is an incredible gift to the community.”

On 7 July 2017, Tshemba opened the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic, which we funded and built, a pioneering healthcare infrastructure project dedicated to promoting women’s health, and the only one of its kind in the region. Our volunteers continue to assist and work out of the clinic, ensuring that women’s health is supported and prioritised in the region. Featured here: Sonja Botha, Neil Tabatznik and Sr Busisiwe Moroane.

In 2017, our first year of welcoming volunteers, we were privileged to have 9 volunteers give of their time. Volunteers joined us from South Africa, the UK, Australia and the Netherlands. In 2022, 5 years later, we celebrate having welcomed over 200 volunteers to Tshemba.