Msizi Africa

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Msizi Africa
Founded 6 June 2007 (2007-06-06)
Founder Lucy Elizabeth Caslon
Type UK registered charity
Registration no. 1119525
Focus Msizi Africa gives children in Africa access to nutritious food and shelter.
  • 19 Kirkstall Road, London SW2 4HD, UK
Coordinates 51°26′34″N 0°07′40″W / 51.442897°N 0.127915°W / 51.442897; -0.127915
Area served
Lesotho, South Africa, Tanzania
Product Nutrition, Health, Housing, Education
Key people
Lucy Herron nee Caslon, Founder and Director (June 2007 - March 2013)
Jennifer Miles, Operations Director (Vodafone World of Difference sponsored volunteer, March - June 2013, part-time);[1]
Trustees: Lucy Elizabeth Herron (Founding Trustee), Matthew Dresch (Treasurer), Rhea Varma (Projects), Jennifer Miles (Communications), Magid El Amin (Fundraiser, since 1 April 2014), John Clark (Fundraiser, since 10 July 2014), and Johnnie Seidler (Organizational Development, since 26 September 2014) [2]
Mission to advance education, preserve and protect the health and relieve the financial hardship of children and young people in Africa by assisting in the provision of grants and money, goods, services or facilities.
Formerly called
Mants'ase Children's Home UK

Msizi Africa is an international charitable organisation set up by Lucy Caslon in 2007. Msizi means 'helper' in Zulu. The charity, based in South London and originally named Mants'ase Children's Home UK, is registered with the UK Charity commission[2] and provides children in Lesotho, South Africa and Tanzania with nutritious food, shelter and access to education. Msizi Africa actively supports and closely works with a number of local projects and collaborates with Letsema, a network of service providers working with orphans and vulnerable children in Lesotho.[3]


Lucy Caslon first heard about Mants'ase Children's Home, an orphanage in Lesotho, in news reports of Prince Harry's visit to the home.[4] At the end of an extensive trip through Africa in 2006 she decided to work at the orphanage as a volunteer. During this time she recognized that while the children in the home were feed, the food was not optimal in terms of nutrition and healthiness especially taking into consideration that many of the 50 children living in the home suffered from HIV/AIDS infection and other health issues. She received financial help from family and friends back in the UK which allowed her to buy fruit, vegetables, meat and fish to complement the children's normal diet of maize meals and cabbage.[5] Realizing the positive effects of this healthier nutrition on the children's wellbeing Lucy Caslon founded the Mants'ase Children's Home UK charity after she arrived back in London. It was first set up specifically to benefit the lives of the children at the Mants'ase orphanage. Later the charity was re-branded as Msizi Africa as the support was extended to children in South Africa and Zambia.

Within three months after receiving her registration number in June 2007 Lucy Caslon was able to raise £30,000 from corporate sponsors despite running the charity in her spare time while working as PA for a large property firm.[6] Msizi Africa grew significantly after Lucy Caslon became one of eight winners of Vodafones 2008’s World of Difference programme[7] which allowed her to work full-time for her charity.[8] Impressed by her success one of her corporate supporters decided to match Vodafone's scheme and continue to pay her salary for 2010 and 2011[9] enabling the charity in the following years to help to relieve the hardship of around thousand children in Africa, where the AIDS pandemic has left many without parents or an extended family. Besides providing food Msizi Africa also repairs the houses of children who live on their own to ensure safer living conditions for them.[9]

In 2008 the Cape Town charity Beautiful Gate had to care for additional several hundred mothers with babies and young children due to the xenophobic attacks aimed towards foreign nationals living in South Africa which erupted in May and June of that year. Msizi Africa donated funds to feed these families for several days.

Msizi Africa has in the past also supported Umthombo, a non-profit organisation based in Durban, South Africa, by providing three meals a day for hundreds of homeless children in the city.[10]


Lucy Caslon attended the Christ's Hospital school from 1992 to 1999[11] and started organising fundraising events as a student. After graduating from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2003 with a BA in History she worked in the charity sector for three years, first in the events team at Marie Curie Cancer Care and eighteen months later as corporate fundraiser with FSID.

Lucy Caslon waiting to receive the Olympic flame (Photo: helejo)

In 2006 she spent three months traveling East, Central and Southern Africa before volunteering for four months, from August to December, at the Mants'ase Children's Home. After her return to London in 2007 she founded a charity in order to raise money to continue the food improvement project she had started during her time in Lesotho. She spend her evenings and weekends to raise funds while working full-time for eighteen months as Team Secretary EMEA Hospitality for DTZ.

Besides winning 2008 the World of Difference initiative of the Vodafone Foundation[12] she was 2009 finalist of Clarins 'Most Dynamisante Woman of the Year' competition in 2009[13] and shortlisted for the Red and Cosmopolitan magazine 'Woman of the Year' awards in the same year. In 2011 Lucy Caslon was shortlisted for the Dods and Scottish Widows 'Women in Public Life Awards' in the category "Voluntary Sector Achiever of the Year".[14]

Lucy Caslon shares her experiences to help other prospective founders by giving talks like for the Royal Holloway Entrepreneurs[9] or as speaker at the Institute of Fundraising's National Convention 2012[15] and by writing articles.[16] She has also published video tutorials about setting up a charity with the 'KnowHow NonProfit StudyZone', which is part of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.[17]

Caslon was selected to carry the Olympic Torch on 23 July 2012 in Sutton[18] on Croydon Road (A232) from the junction with The Manor Way by the Wallington County Grammar School to the beginning of Acre Lane. In order to raise money for her charity she put her torch up for sale[19] for an amount of ₤40000.00 which is needed to feed the 50 orphans of Mants'ase Children's Home for one year.[20]

In March 2013 Caslon returned to the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity as Senior Corporate Account Manager[21] but remains a trustee with Msizi Africa.

In April 2014 she married Michael Herron.

Supported projects[edit]

Mophato oa Mants'ase Children's Home[edit]

The Mants'ase Children's Home was started in 1979 as home for unwanted girls by Father Patrick M. Maekane, a retired Anglican priest and founder of the Mophato oa Mants'ase Society. After the initial buildings have been built by local women the first child was admitted in February 1980.[22][23] The Home is located in Qhalasi in the Mohale's Hoek district of the Kingdom of Lesotho.

Rondavel which housed orphanes at Mants'ase Children's Home before the new dormitory was built. (Photo: Greg Nusz)

The orphanage is the residential care facility of the Mophato oa Mants'ase Society whose patron is Queen 'Masenate Mohato Seeiso of Lesotho. It was one of the social projects visited by Prince Harry in 2004 during his first visit to the country. At a later visit in 2006[24] he launched there together with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho the Sentebale foundation[4] which continues to assist the Society. Msizi Africa supports the children's home by providing financial help to buy food, build housing and pay for staff salary. The orphanes lived in round houses (rondavels), a typical type of building in that region, which were in a state of disrepair and Msizi Africa funded the building of a new dormitory complete with ablution blocks. Since 2014 the orphanage receives their food support from local organisations inside Lesotho.[25]

Lucy Caslon was from 2010 until 2013 a member of the Board of Trustees of Mants'ase Children's Home and was its temporary manager for a short while in 2011.[26][27]

Testimony and Majapereng feeding programmes[edit]

Msizi Africa provides food to couples in villages surrounding the Mants'ase Children's Home who cook for local orphans and distribute food parcels.[28] This project supports 160 children not only with food but also with school uniforms and medical care. The Testimony Feeding Programme (covering Ha Potsane, Qalakheng and Kubake) and the Majapereng Feeding Programme are located in nearby villages in the Mohale's Hoek district.

iZulu Orphan Projects[edit]

In 2000 Chadd Bain returned to his native KwaZulu-Natal from the UK and started with two Zulu friends to educate and feed poor people in the rural area he had grown up in. He became involved with an orphanage called 'Nkosnathi' which he supported. In 2002 he met his later wife Kate and they started iZulu Orphan Projects (IOP), a non profit organisation which deals with orphans and widows affected by HIV and AIDS. From originally 80 orphans attending the 'Annual Orphan Christmas party', IOP supports now over 1600 children.[29] After Chadd Bain's tragic death in a motorcycle accident in December 2009[30] the project was in danger of failing and Msizi Africa pledged to feed 250 of the children and became Kate Bains biggest supporter enabling her to continue with the charity.[31] Lucy Caslon climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in September 2010 in order to raise money for that project.[32][33][34]

Peace Matunda School and Orphanage[edit]

Msizi Africa helps to fund the feeding programme of the Peace Matunda project founded in 2005 by Unambwe Zephania Kaaya.[28] It consists of an orphanage with 24 children and a school and Kindergarten with over 200 pupils located in the rainforest of Mount Meru in Northern Tanzania, about 15 km from the city of Arusha.[35]


The 28 Fund[edit]

The 28 Fund is a campaign started by Msizi Africa in 2011 which aims to gain donation by direct debit accounts set up by supporters for 28 pence (or multiples of that amount) as it costs Msizi Africa 28 pence to feed one child for a day. The project is aimed at businesses as well as individuals.[36]


  1. ^ Vodafone World of Difference UK, winners
  2. ^ a b Charity Commission, Msizi Africa account report 2015
  3. ^ Letsema
  4. ^ a b Prince Harry
  5. ^ Mants'ase Childrens Home - History
  6. ^ Loveless, Helen (12 July 2009). "Work for charity for a year, all expenses paid". This is Money, Daily Mail. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  7. ^ Jordan, Hannah (19 June 2009). "Vodafone Foundation offers bursaries to fund charity workers overseas". Third Sector Online. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "Last call for Vodafone charity dream jobs abroad applications". The Belfast Telegraph. 21 June 2009. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c King, Paul (12 November 2010). "Lucy Caslon (Msizi Africa) podcast". Royal Holloway Entrepreneurs. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  10. ^ Millar, Laura (30 May 2010). "The forgotten children". Fabulous. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "Welcome to the CHOBA e-newsletter for March 2012" (PDF). Christ's Hospital Old Blues' Association. March 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "Vodafone Announce The ‘World of Difference’ Winners". Female First magazine. 11 September 2008. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  13. ^ Fairley, Josephine (22 July 2009). "YOU Clarins award winner: 'My school has changed lives'". Mail Online. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "Women in Public Life Awards - Shortlist". Dods Parliamentary Communications Ltd. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  15. ^ National Convention 2012
  16. ^ Caslon, Lucy (September 2011). "Once Upon A Time" (PDF). Lightworker Magazine. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  17. ^ "Setting up a charity". KnowHow NonProfit. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  18. ^ Official site of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
  19. ^ "Calling all philanthropists!". Giving Lots. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  20. ^ "A Lot To Ask". Giving Lots. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  21. ^ EDF Energy announces three year charity partnership with Marie Curie Cancer Care
  22. ^ The Mophato oa Mants'ase Society - History
  23. ^ Dictionary of African Christian Biography
  24. ^ Prince Harry and the Mants'ase Children's Home
  25. ^ Thank you so much Msizi Africa
  26. ^ The Mophato oa Mants'ase Society - 2013 Board
  27. ^ The Mophato oa Mants'ase Society - 2014 Board
  28. ^ a b Msizi Africa
  29. ^ iZulu Orphan Projects
  30. ^ "The world loses Chadd Bain". NSRMTB. 8 December 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  31. ^ "Women in Public Life Awards - Lucy Caslon, Director, Msizi Africa". Dods Parliamentary Communications Ltd. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  32. ^ "A mountain to climb for African's orphans" (PDF). lambeth life. 15 October 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  33. ^ "Attitude over altitude as Lucy reaches Uhuru peak" (PDF). lambeth life. 15 November 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  34. ^ "Kilimanjaro Climb". THE BLUE, A Year in the life of Christ's Hospital School. 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  35. ^ "Supporting Education & Child Welfare in Tanzania". Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  36. ^ "We talk to Msizi Africa about their new campaign". Vodafone. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 

External links[edit]