iKhethelo was founded about 20 years ago in a private home in Durban in response to the plight of street children. As the AIDS pandemic grew, so did the need for a residential home for orphaned and vulnerable children, and the project moved to larger premises in a semi-rural area. Then in 1995 a 50 acre farm was purchased with funds raised by the Rotary Club of Hillcrest to establish a permanent home.
At first the original farm house was renovated, and then three small cottages and one medium size cottage were built. The project was named The Makaphutu Children’s Village in 2001 and by 2004 a further seven larger cottages were constructed. Despite some well-meaning people, corruption crept into Makaphutu and the children there were being mistreated rather than loved. So, in 2006 Makaphutu Children’s Village was taken over by Lily of the Valley and began to receive support from LoVE USA. Since then Makaphutu has been renamed iKhethelo because the name Makaphutu means “Mother of Phuthu” which is a staple food of the poor. This reminded the children and staff of a soup kitchen rather than the loving home it has come to represent. iKhethelo means "The Chosen Ones" and these children truly are unique and chosen by God and by us!
At iKhethelo we rescue orphaned and vulnerable children from a place of danger and neglect and give them a place of safety and unconditional love in our family. In this loving community we teach and model a new set of values based on Christian character – including kindness, integrity, joy, courage, service and a love of learning. On this foundation a sense of confidence and self-worth and dreams grow! We lovingly coach and encourage our children to reach their full potential while providing them quality education, life skills and learning opportunities so that they become productive citizens and leaders within their sphere of influence. Our aim is to be a resource and model of how to love and nurture vulnerable children – to our community, government, other NGOs, and the Church. We desire to partner with others to be a catalyst for justice and compassion for the poor and needy.