News & Events

Christmas Outing

When Sonia and Viv visited in Sept/October 2015 they took 27 of the Vine children for a Christmas treat to the cinema.  They took the local bus in groups, met together at the Mall in Richards Bay and enjoyed a movie followed by burger and chips.  For some of them this was their first trip to the cinema.  The outing was sponsored by one of our firm supporters in South Africa and was certainly a day out to remember.  

Finding Employment

Norton Rose Fulbright have always supported us and once again they've come up trumps.  Two of their lawyers in the Durban office have been mentoring two of our final year University students.  Sfiso, who is studying Accountancy and Ntokozo, who is studying Geography and Environmental Studies have spent time in the office discussing interview techniques, CVs, and presentation, with a view to finding employment for next year.  The photo shows Sfiso prior to an interview getting last minute advice.  As a result Ntokozo has got a job offer in the Eshowe municipality and Sfiso feels very positive about his future.

Many thanks to Johnny and Malcolm from the Durban office for all their help.    

Phumlani, Our First Graduate

Earlier this year Phumlani Gumede was our first student to graduate from University.  He got his degree in transport and logistics.  It was not easy for him and we are very proud of him.  He is now working in Pietermaritzburg in transport policy and planning with a four year contract.  Wonderful!

He wrote us an email of gratitude and thanks in which he said " I have been waiting for this moment and finally I'm here sitting in my own office with my own phone number and my own email address.  It is unbelievable but it has happened and it is all thanks to the Vine Project"

Excerpts from a letter written by one of our students

Dear Vine Project,

After losing my parents I never thought I will ever in my lifetime go to University.....

My dreams were once shattered but now you've made them shine.... now I have big dreams and I see myself acheiving great things in life.

Words can never fully describe the way I am being appreciative.....

The Vine Project has become my pillar of strength my light in every darkness.  I will forever be thankfull and wish one day I can get the honour to own my own non profit organisation to help children like me.

That says it all  !!!

Our Achievements May 2013-14

Achievements May 2013-2014


The Project continues to establish its reputation and commitment within the Township with the addition of another school bringing the total to 5 whose staff refer their vulnerable children to us.  This increase in responsibility has subsequently lead to an increase in expenditure covering food vouchers, school uniforms, transport costs and home maintenance, all rising inline with inflation.

Education has always been the projects main objective and we are now being rewarded by the academic achievements of the children's results in this past year. With two new University entrants bringing the current total to seven.  Two entering full time employment and two attendees at college. One student attained high enough results at college to convert the college certificate into a degree course.

 A need to replace a hut that was falling down was achieved by some of the boys helping the builder therefore gaining practical experience in house building.  In addition to this 11 children obtained seasonal work experience positions with the Spar Supermarket which lead to two obtaining full time employment.

Without the work of the Charity in this township non of the children would have been able to complete their basic education and without the payment of school fees and the correct school uniform their examination results would have been withheld.

Vine Project AGM 2014

This year's AGM will take place , 18th June, at 5pm

Please meet at Sonia's, 40 Sandhurst Rd, Didsbury 

All welcome

2014 Walk for Life - In Memory of Julie Stephenson

"Always so lovely & worried about others"


"A great lady"


"One of life’s true ladies"



These were some of the tributes paid to our dear friend Julie Stephenson who sadly passed away, too soon,  in 2013.


Julie devoted her life to helping others both in her profession as a social worker and in her own time when she regularly organised fundraising events for charities supporting people living with HIV and for local community initiatives.  Despite being an excellent fundraiser money was not particularly important to Julie herself and she would always put others’ needs first  


Her generosity of spirit was also shown through the time and commitment she gave, her expertise and creativity that she so willingly shared and the unquestioning support she offered both to those she loved together with people she’d never met.


If Julie had been blessed with children perhaps they might have followed in her footsteps and taken on a fundraising event as a tribute to her memory.  However, as people who knew her, loved her and maybe benefitted from her fundraising efforts we can take this opportunity to raise money for a charity that was very important to Julie – The Vine Project – by participating in the Terence Higgins Trust 2014 Walk for Life.


Julie, every step we take, every pound we make, we’ll be missing you.


A group of friends of a lady called Julie have decided to register as a Vine team in this years Walk for Life in London which is on the 8th June.  The collection at her funeral was already donated to the project and was for £1000.  The group wanted one of us to join them on the walk, and Pat has agreed to represent the project in London.  The walk is 10K and is around some of London's iconic areas starting in Bloomsbury.

THT are the organisers and 25% of the money raised will go to them. There is a website for sponsorship and I will let you know it in a later update.  Isaac who is heading the team has done a great deal to set everything up for us and get his friends to join in.

New supporters in the USA, the WIHSKI ski club

On a recent visit to the USA, Kate was describing VINE and the work that we do with vulnerable children to members of the WIHSKI ski club who she met on a cross country skiing holiday in the mountains north of Seattle.  Inspired by our work, the ski club members have donated an extremely generous £575 to VINE in memory of their past President Dan Casey who died in late 2013.  Dan was a South African, born and raised in Cape Town who moved to the west coast of the USA some years ago.  Dan is survived by his wife Connie and three children.  We are extremely grateful to Connie and the ski club members for their support.

Ascot Ladies' Lunch Coming Soon! Thursay, 19th June, 12:30pm The Parsonage Didsbury

Get your glad rags out and dust off your hats ladies, this year the Vine Project are putting on a Ladies Ascot Lunch!

Thursday, 19th June, 12:30pm The Parsonage Didsbury,  Tickets £25

This includes a wonderful lunch, a glass of champagne on arrival, and a glass of wine with your meal.  There will also be live classical music, horse racing to place bets on and a raffle.

Oh and there's a prize for the best hat!

Please contact Sonia for tickets 07900 273774

Fund Raising Event in Siena

Our VINE representative in Italy, Barbara Curtis, recently organised a sale of home-made cakes, biscuits, tarts and jams in her area near Siena, Tuscany and raised a total of £500. Part of this amount will be used to fund the two Giuseppe Orsini awards, in the name of her husband who died in August 2012, which will be awarded in in January/February. These awards will be for a) the student who has made most improvement at school, college or university in the last academic year; b) the student who has given most help to others. (Barbara is the person wearing the rust-coloured hat). Many thanks to all who supported and took part.