In many communities on the Cape Flats, children are growing up surrounded by poverty, domestic violence, sexual abuse, HIV/Aids, substance abuse and gang-related crimes. In response to this, three mothers banded together in 2008 to form Mothers Unite (#WDC336), with the goal of giving 30 children in their neighbourhood at least one meal a day, which they were not receiving at home. Now, the non-profit organisation attends to the nutritional, educational and emotional needs of approximately 179 children in disadvantaged communities.

Recognised as a World Design Capital (WDC) Cape Town 2014 project for its use of design to transform lives, Mothers Unite employs ‘urban acupuncture’ – a socio-environmental theory that combines contemporary urban design with traditional Chinese acupuncture by using small-scale interventions to transform the larger urban context – to weave healing and support into the fabric of communities torn apart by social ills.

The work of Mothers Unite is designed to help the children they serve to see that they have another alternative to a life of crime and poverty. By meeting their nutritional and educational needs and supporting them in their endeavours, these children will foster a sense of self-respect which will have an immeasurable impact on the course of their own lives, not to mention the effect on generations to come

This year the project intends to take its methodology to other problem-ridden areas by establishing Mothers Unite incubation sites. “We would like to extend the potential impact that a project such as Mothers Unite can have in vulnerable communities because we have witnessed that solutions to problems germinate in the communities themselves,” says Director, Gerry Gordon.

For more information about the Mothers Unite and other WDC projects, go to 

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