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Mihlali House

Mihlali House is a project of Penuel Children's Foundation based in Gqeberha, South Africa

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About the project

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Our first home, “Mihlali House” is based in Gqeberha, South Africa. Our aim is to run early intervention projects, for vulnerable children. Working hand in hand with the South African Department of Social Development, we welcome, love and care for each child until they are safely established into a family or alternative place of long-term care. 

Our aim is to see vulnerable children rescued from unsafe environments marked by severe poverty. We welcome each child into a family environment in our Temporary Place of Safety. Here they receive love and care to meet all of their diverse needs until a “forever family” is found for each child. 

Penuel Childrens' Foundation in South Africa

In the Eastern Cape:

  • There is a 42% unemployment rate.

  • There are 12,000 child-headed households.

  • There are 408,000 orphans.


Gqeberha is known as ‘the friendly city’. It is the largest city in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Gqeberha and its surrounding area have a population of 1.3 million people. 180,700 of this population live in informal settlements made up of shacks and matchbox houses. The HIV/Aids rate in the Eastern Cape is 36.55%. Children born with HIV have a life expectancy of 6 years of age, due to poverty. Every year 8500 under 11 year olds drop out of school due to poverty, malnutrition and HIV/Aids. The home situations of many children become too dangerous for them to continue living there.

We run an established haven in Gqeberha, South Africa. The haven is capable of looking after up to 6 children at any one time. Children are placed with us on a temporary court order until a forever family can be found. Normally, a child should stay with us for around 9 months. Social Workers place these children into our care & we are responsible for them until a "forever home" is found.


Our vision is to see vulnerable children who have been identified by Social Workers, welcomed into a loving family environment. We work hand in hand with Social Workers to find a permanent solution for each child. Depending on each child’s unique set of circumstances, they will either be reunited with biological parents, fostered by a biological family member (like an aunt or granny), placed into foster care with non-family foster parents, adopted or placed into a government children’s home.


We believe that each child has infinite value as a beloved son or daughter. Poverty related issues rob many children of their childhood, value & worth. We treat each child with dignity and honour, as princes and princesses, just as any parent would their own child.

1 Samuel chapter 2 says that God “raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honour.” God refers to Himself throughout the Bible as “the Father to the fatherless”. Therefore we desire to see each child experience their true worth as princes and princesses. We honour each child as the apple of God’s eye. Values of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5 verse 22) are central in how we treat each child brought into our care & each other. Each child who arrives into Mihlali House has 4 attributes chosen by us, which are then made into an art piece for the wall. In this way, the whole world gets to see that child’s true identity, value and character.

We adhere at all times to the UN Rights of the Child, and comply with the South African Children’s Act.

How can I help


Pray for areas highlighted by Penuel in our newsletter and on twitter or facebook.


Volunteer your time and expertise, either in our project overseas or at home.

To volunteer please email us at

Practical needs…

  • Nappies

       £10 can buy enough nappies for 1 child for 2 weeks.

      Give £10 a month. »

  • Feeding a Child

    £20 can feed a child living in the haven for a month.

    Give £20 a month. »

  • Medical Care

    £30 can cover the cost of a child’s unforeseen medical bills each month.

    Give £30 a month. »

  • Baby food and formula

    £50 can cover the cost of formula and baby food used by 3 babies in one month.

    Give £50 a month. »

  • Water and Electricity

    £100 can help cover the cost of the water and electricity supply to the haven for a month.

    Give £100 a month. »

  • Providing a Bed

    It takes £600 per month to cover all the costs of looking after a child for 1 month. This includes: rent, consumables (e.g nappies, formula, food), medical care, salaries (24 hour care), electricity, communications, security, & petrol costs.

    Give £600 a month. »

  • One time donation

    All one time donations are gratefully received. Thank you for your generosity.

    Give a one time donation »

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Temporary Safe Haven?

In the UK, private individuals can foster children for ‘emergency’, ‘short term’, ‘long term’ or ‘respite’ periods of time. In South Africa however, private foster carers can only provide ‘long term care’ (until the child is 18 years of age).

Our South African project is a “temporary safe haven” providing emergency short term care for children who have been removed from difficult situations by Social Workers or the Police. Temporary Safe Care Havens provide 24-hour care for children until the Social Workers find a long term solution of a foster family, adoptive family, government children’s home or reunification with biological/extended family.

For how long will a child stay in a haven?

Every child’s case is unique. In general, children stay with us for anything from three months, to a year & sometimes longer. This all depends on the child’s situation, & how speedily their case progresses.

Where do the children go, when they leave the haven?

Each child transitions to a forever family . Depending on each child’s unique set of circumstances, they are reunited with biological families, fostered by a biological family member (like an aunt or a granny), placed in foster care with non-family foster parents, adopted or placed in a children’s home.

How many children live in the haven at any one time?

We look after 6 children at any one time. The average length of time each child lives in a haven is 9 months.

Who are these children?

The Eastern Cape has the highest number of Aids orphans in South Africa (more than 171,000). It also has the highest infant mortality rate in South Africa. 35% of Port Elizabeth’s population are HIV+. In the Eastern Cape, a child born with HIV has a life expectancy of 6 years of age. This is due to extreme poverty. There are 80,000 child headed families in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Within this context, there are children who due to abuse, neglect, abandonment or having been orphaned, require intervention.

How will a child come to live in a haven?

Children are placed into our care by the South African police or various welfare organisations in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Bay. Each child is allocated a Social Worker and will have all the necessary legal documentation issued by the Children’s Court.

Penuel Governance 

UK Board of Trustees

South Africa Trustees

  • Peter O’Halloran (Chair)

  • Keely Mosley

  • Alex Mosley

  • Gunther Storbeck (Treasurer)

  • Alison Templeton ( Secretary)

  • Richie Cathcart 

  • Claire Gonzalez


Penuel Children’s Foundation UK is a charity (NI00146 & NIC101028) registered in the UK.

  • Jason Leach (Chair)

  • Richie Cathcart

  • Cheryl Cupido (Secretary)

  • Gail Pedersen

  • Andrew Lindstrom

  • Megan Lindstrom

  • Adri Schilder (Treasurer)


Penuel Children’s Foundation SA is an NPO (181- 800 NPO) and a Section 18a PBO (REF: 930050398).

The Trustees are responsible for seeing that all donations received go towards furthering the aims of the Foundation. In every country where there are Penuel projects, there will also be a local Board of Trustees. This Board will handle the everyday running of the projects. Project managers will be accountable to both the local Board of Trustees, and the Board of Trustees based in Northern Ireland.
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