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Socio-economic empowerment of persons with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities

Requested by

Cape Mental Health

Who are you trying to help? What issue are you trying to address?

Cape Mental Health’s (est. 1913) Fountain House & Training Workshops Unlimited (TWU) projects provide skills development, job-creation, entrepreneurship, job placement, job-coaching & poverty alleviation programmes for over 700 persons with intellectual & psychiatric disabilities. According to the Employment Equity Report (2011-2012), persons with disabilities in South Africa make up approximately 0.8% of the total workforce. Access to skills development & employment for persons with mental disabilities remains inadequate & deprives them of taking their rightful place in the socio-economic life of South Africa & retains them in the poverty cycle.
The largest minority group in South Africa is that of people with mental ill-health & mental disability.
This group is less likely to:
• Enjoy safe & suitable housing
• Access public transport & amenities
• Receive effective support & care
• Obtain appropriate, quality education
• Generate income & be employed
This group is more likely to be:
• Poor and reliant on social security
• Socially isolated & rejected
• Neglected, abused & denied justice
• Deprived of play & leisure activities
• Denied a say in matters that affect them

All the beneficiaries of the 2 projects are disabled, with over 98% residing in South Africa’s previously disadvantaged communities.
Issues we seek to address:
> lack of access to skills development
> unemployment
> stigmatization, isolation & discrimination

What is your project and how will it help?

Fountain House:
Fountain House is a community-based rehabilitation & vocational centre that provides services to over 100 persons with psychiatric disability in order to facilitate their reintegration into society & the work place. Fountain House beneficiaries are 100% disabled & 71% Black. It is the only programme of its kind in South Africa & has been recognized by the Office on the Status of Disabled Persons as a ‘best practice’ model. The underlying philosophy of the programme is to empower people with psychiatric disability to determine their own goals & make their own decisions in the following four life areas: community living, learning, working, & socializing. The programme includes a combination of life-skills & work-skills training courses & a work-ordered day, with employment opportunities &/or income generating initiatives such as the Transitional Employment Programme, Supported or Independent Employment opportunities & Learnerships.

TWU is a skills development, job creation, job- coaching & poverty alleviation project for over 590 persons with intellectual disability. TWU beneficiaries are 75% youth & 100% black. The TWU model of transformation for persons with intellectual disability is unique in the Western Cape & South Africa & was identified as a best-practice model by the Department of Social Development, the National Youth Development Agency & the South African Federation for Mental Health. TWU provides its trainees with a Career Path that equips them with the necessary skills for income generation or employment on the Open Labour Market. The training programmes are specifically developed to accommodate different levels of functionality & literacy, & to facilitate active participation & development towards optimal levels of independence. Integration initiatives like our Enclave Teams, Community Service Placements & Siyakwazi Integration Company, provide trainees with opportunities to work alongside non-disabled persons in a realistic & competitive work environment. These programmes also succeed in increasing the trainees’ confidence & assertiveness, & assist them in fulfilling their roles in their families & communities.

Fountain House & Training Workshops Unlimited provide beneficiaries with skills development, employment & poverty alleviation opportunities, as well as platforms to challenge societal stigmatization, isolation & discrimination.

How can other people partner with you on your project?

Provide financial support for our two projects as well as sharing best-practices.

Please detail the resources that you need.

Financial support for Fountain House & Training Workshops Unlimited. $50,000 Any donation is welcome and appreciated.

Further information

Contact details

Only organisations who have exchanged contact details may view this.


Partnership types

Doing business with the poor; Project funding

Regions / countries / territories

Africa: South Africa

Global issues

Children, youth and family welfare; Community development; Disability issues; all (5)


  • Contact details exchanged
    15 Jan 2016 10:28 GMT

    Chicago School of Professional Psychology
    Unverified non-profit organisation

    Maria J. Frisch says: I'm a doctoral student in International Psychology seeking an international organization that could use my free services as a researcher. I would like to support your organization (specifically Fountain House) by helping you to conduct research on your program outcomes. I would use the data as part of my dissertation, but my intent would be to benefit your organization directly. I could self-fund a two-week visit to your organization and I could dedicate 6-9 months working from the US on the project at no cost to you. My thinking is that research outcomes from your efforts will allow you to better apply for funding from donors because you'll have an empirically demonstrated summary of your effectiveness. Please contact me if you're interested. I'm available to start right away. Email is the best way to contact me.

  • Contact details exchanged
    30 Jun 2019 03:27 GMT

    Unverified non-profit organisation

    SIR. LORD MARMON KNIGHT says: Goodday. Sir.
    Am somuch interested to partners with your organization to help mental disable people in my country Nigeria West Africa. So the will becomes useful to the societies. Pls i may wish you to contact me for more partnrship disscusions. Thanks. Best regard.