About Us

All Buddhas take the mind of great compassion
as their substance
- from the Avatamsaka Sutra

The Khuphuka Project (NPO No: 077-880) is an initiative of Dharmagiri outreach.  We are a HIV and AIDS community outreach program serving the Mqatsheni, KwaPitela and KwaThunzi tribal areas falling within the Kwa Sani municipality, KwaZulu-Natal.  These communities face huge problems including high HIV infection rates, high levels of unemployment, many orphans and ‘at risk’ children and associated poverty. There were large numbers of families close to starvation when the project began.

Skhumbuzo MlibenI (L) is our Programmes Manager.  He previously studied Environmental Education and worked on youth projects with WLTP.  He taught adults with the Dept. Education and worked for the Dept. Sports and Recreation on youth programmes.  Skhumbuzo joined Khuphuka as the Youth Co-ordinator and became Programmes Manager in 2010. He is currently studying advanced management with the foundation for professional development and community development with UNISA'.

Nomkhosi P Majozi (R) is our Community Care Manager, is originally from Durban and moved to Mqatsheni to be with her husband.  She studied fashion design at the NBS Academy in Durban.  She joined the Khuphuka Project in 2009 and has led the Community Care Programme ever since.  She is currently studying advanced management with the foundation for professional development.

The Khuphuka project operates throughout the 7 tribal wards within the Mqatsheni area and the two nearby areas of Kwapitela and Kwathunzi, and more recently in the adjoining area of Stepmore. There is currently no electricity or running water and poor quality roads mean that gaining access to some areas is dependent upon weather conditions. The initial target group has a combined population of 9000 people. (Information and advocacy services and HIV/AIDS awareness and youth work satellite services will also operate in other areas as the project develops). Statistics in 2008 show that 30% of patients presenting at the nearest clinic in Underberg are HIV+.  Research indicates that infection rates in rural areas such as uMqatsheni can be dramatically higher (early statistics show that of our clients which know their status, 70% are HIV+).

The Khuphuka Project has developed a positive relationship with the tribal leaders at Mqatsheni who support the development of the project. We are purchasing land within the community to construct a Community Outreach Centre from which to deliver the services, work on which is planned for early 2011.  Until the completion of the centre the team are working from a temporary office upon the site.

Services began on the ground in February 2009.  The Khuphuka Project is directed by Jacqueline Healy and Matt York with Sister Abigail Ntleko as Chairperson of the steering committee.

Jacqueline Healy holds a law degree from the National University of Ireland, Galway and has a masters degree in Human Rights and Democratization from the University of Padua, Italy.  Over the last 10 years she has worked in the area of Human Rights focusing primarily on the area of asylum and migration.  She has been Deputy Director of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) before coming to South Africa to co-direct the Khuphuka Project.

Abigail Ntleko is a widely respected nursing sister who spent decades co-ordinating local responses to the AIDS pandemic.  She founded and continues to manage the Clouds of Hope children's home which currently houses 80 orphaned children.  Her commitment to service and strength of spirit is an inspiration to all who meet her.  Sister Abigail has recently been honoured with an award from the Dalai Lama in San Fransisco in recognition of her selfless work and compassion.

Matt York is a registered nurse and also spent years working in the fields of homelesness and mental health in the UK.  He is the founder and current trustee of the Mandala Trust, a UK based NGO working with vulnerable children in Asia and Africa and also a coordinator of Dharmagiri Outreach.  He has practiced and studied the Buddhist path in Europe, Asia and Africa and currently lives in Dharmagiri Buddhist Hermitage in KwaZulu Natal.

The Managers, Community Care workers, information and advocacy workers, child support workers and youth worker have all been sourced from the local communities.