Non-profit helps needy pupils

Minds of Good Health, a non-profit, has started its Ricemas-Tree campaign at Sinenjongo High School in Joe Slovo Park

A Bloubergstrand non-profit organisation has taken some needy pupils from Sinenjongo High School under its wing.

The non-profit, Minds of Good Health, was founded by Chris Thwala, of Bloubergstrand, in 2017, after he had suffered with depression after losing his parents at a young age.

Mr Thwala shared his memories of two failed suicide attempts and said he believed that his life was spared to help and encourage others.

“There is more to life,” said Mr Thwala, and he hopes to pass along this message.

He said while various organisations and mental-health specialists were around to help him during his battle with depression, not many of them stuck around and he was prescribed anti-depressants in the hope that he would recover.

But he believes that one doesn’t fully recover and now Mr Thwala has vowed to help pupils at Sinenjongo High School through difficult times, adhering to the principles of his non-profit organisation.

He wants to raise awareness about depression, including those living with it and those affected by it.

“The organisation has been helping many people in these surrounding communities,” said Mr Thwala.

Friday November 25 was the start of the NPO’s Ricemas-Tree campaign to collect food for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Ten boys and ten girls at Sinenjongo High School were identified by their life-orientation head teacher, Luvuyo Zulu, to be beneficiaries of the campaign.

The pupils received goodie bags containing non-perishable foods and some sweet treats that they could take home with them.

Mr Zulu said the pupils from Grades 8 to 12 were identified by their teachers who noticed that their grades had dropped, they did not have proper school uniforms and they were unable to bring something to eat every day.

He said the children were vulnerable and risked dropping out of school.

“The organisation is here as a preventative measure for kids battling with various issues at home and at school,” said Mr Zulu.

Minds of Good Health will be running the Ricemas-Tree campaign throughout the festive season, with the hope of reaching out to many poor communities in the city.

Apart from its humanitarian work, the organisation also offers support to people going through difficult times by advising them where they can get help.

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) is the country’s largest mental health support and advocacy group and is involved in counselling, outreach and capacity building work throughout South Africa.

Anyone with battling with any anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide can call Sadag on its helpline at 0800 567 567 or SMS 31393

Contact Minds of Good Health at 081 813 3446 or

Back, from left, are Minds of Good Health members Naledi Pindani, Denise Walken and Francis Gwatidzo. Front Minds of Good Health founder Chris Thwala and life-orientation head teacher Luvuyo Zulu.
Mathanba Madasa, 13, was happy to accept her goodie bag from Francis Gwatidzo