The Zelda la Grange Foundation is a registered NPC that provides a referral system to assist children in foster care to develop to their optimum.

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During her employment working for Nelson Mandela, Zelda had first hand experience about the impact small acts of kindness can have. She saw Nelson Mandela doing good, every day of his life.

During his Presidency Zelda was tasked to take over the children’s Christmas party, an annual event hosted by Mr Mandela at his farm at Qunu in the rural Eastern Cape as well as his annual visit to Creches to hand out spoils for underprivileged children. She project managed the day from sourcing sponsors to working with the communities and arranging President Mandela’s appearance. These events started as a casual affair hosted by Mr Mandela and in 2002 he invited Ms Oprah Winfrey to join them in the Eastern Cape and spread her Christmas kindness of that season. Around 50 000 children arrived for probably the only gift and proper meal to be received on Christmas.

It was decided that due to the size of the project both the party in Qunu and the annual creche visits should be decentralised to the Nelson Mandela Children’s fund. To this day, Mr Mandela’s eldest grandson and the traditional leader of the family, Mandla Zwelivelile (MP) hosts annual Christmas parties in Mvezo, where Mr Mandela was born.

In 2010 Zelda established an annual motorbike ride under the umbrella of the wider Mandela day campaign. The ride would consist of a group of motorbike enthusiasts that travelled across the country to the most rural areas where they focused on bringing about change and sowing seeds of hope in communities where it is most needed. By 2015 several groups had branched out of the original initiative and due to work pressure Zelda handed over the baton to groups who voluntarily organised themselves to continue the initiative.

Through these initiatives Zelda inherited the love for working with children. With no children of her own she extends her maternal instinct through reaching out and working with children in foster homes and safe houses. Supporting the Bryan Habana Foundation and the Kolisi foundation during Covid and in celebration of her 50th birthday Zelda got involved with a foster care home in her own community and fed more than 27,000 people through her philanthropic network.

She has discovered that most children in foster care are brilliantly cared for in terms of basic needs. They are clothed and fed and they go to school. However, most children in foster care and similar environments are traumatised and have experienced abuse, neglect, and separation from their families. They need so much more. The trauma they have endured has a long lasting impact on their emotional, psychological and cognitive development. Although civil society focuses on the vast population of children in and around city centres, little support is given to children in far off or rural towns in the foster care system.

The charities that oversee the children in foster care are often challenged and stretched to the limit as far as providing the basic needs for the children and clear need for additional support and development was identified. To succeed in life, children and in particular vulnerable children need tools and assistance to overcome trauma and develop skills and strengths.

The Zelda la Grange Foundation (ZLGF) was born which aims to evaluate children where needed in foster care following a holistic approach to support them. The ZLG Foundation recognizes that each child is unique and that their experiences and needs are different. Being in foster care creates a safe and nurturing environment but often children need a little extra help for emotional support, development of skill and talent and exposure to a world beyond the foster care so that each child can thrive.

The foundation will do emotional intelligence testing, aptitude testing and skill assessment through a network of professionals in the community. Standardized assessments are used to identify areas of strength and areas that need development. An individual plan will be created for each child to focus on their unique needs and strengths.

In addition to developing talents and strengths, the charity recognizes the importance of teaching soft skills to children. Soft skills are the personal attributes that enable people to interact effectively with others. These may include and are not limited to communication skills, teamwork and problem solving.

Through excursions and exposure to the world we hope to introduce these children in rural communities to circumstances other than neglect and trauma, in which they can learn to function and thrive.

The Zelda la Grange Foundation also sets up a referral network in communities where they work, to make use of retired professionals to provide psychological, practical and personal guidance to every child in foster care in rural communities. Through the ZLGF Zelda hopes to disseminate the lessons learnt from Mr Mandela to help children to become compassionate, healthy children who can dream and have hope again like any other child in the world.

The Zelda la Grange Foundation is a non-profit company with registration number 2019/627229/08.

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First National Bank, Name: Zelda la Grange Foundation, Account nr: 62839700003, Branch code: 200412, Swift: FIRNZAJJ