Umthombo weMpilo

UPDATE: Covid-19 Response, April 2020

Women in sex work are particularly exposed to health risks due to the nature of their work. Being cut off from care and support would leave them even more vulnerable. During the Covid-19 crisis, the Umthombo weMpilo team continue to provide essential support, prayer, and counselling to the women they care for via phone. They are delivering care packages of basic necessities to the women they support.


Many of Hillbrow’s 74,000 residents are recent immigrants to Johannesburg from either rural South Africa or surrounding African countries. Many have immigrated illegally and therefore receive little protection from South African authorities. Some, mainly women, have been lured to South Africa by human traffickers promising employment. Their passports have been confiscated and they have been forced into prostitution.

Amidst the crime and chaos, the local church is seeking to meet the great needs of their community. Through the Umthombo weMpilo project which was established in 2005, Anglican Aid partners with Christ Church Hillbrow as its members reach out to women involved in Hillbrow’s booming sex industry. Umthombo weMpilo means 'Well of Life'.

The project aims to meet the womens' immediate needs and provide them with opportunities to leave the sex industry with education about their rights and offering them places in skills-based workshops. Women who wish to return to their country of origin receive assistance with travel arrangements and documents. The safety of staff and participants is ensured through ongoing relationships with police and other agencies.

All donations to this project are tax deductible.

ABN 28 525 237 517

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