Coco’s Foundation

Coco’s Foundation

Kids Just Recycle would like to you introduce you to Chris Connors, founder of Coco’s Foundation, who works closely with us. In this short interview, you can see the immense positive impact Chris and his team have on the children they support.

What is the aim of Cocos Foundation?

For the past 12 years, Coco’s Foundation has been helping improve the lives of orphan children in some of the poorest parts of South Africa and now Uganda, by providing food, clothes and shelter and emotional support.

How was the charity founded?

I founded the charity in 2010 after an unforgettable trip to the KwaZulu Natal region in South Africa, which had a profound effect on me personally. In this region alone, there are 9,000 orphans and a chance meeting with one orphan, Thabiso, made me vow to come back and make a difference to his life and others like him. You can read more about my journey here:

What regional areas have you provided support to the orphans?

We work in primarily South Africa Port Elizabeth, Durban, Mduku, Hluhluwe, Sodwana bay, Mselani, Mozambique, Zanzibar, and Uganda.

Tell us more about Build4TheFuture?

Build4TheFuture provides homes and shelter for child-headed families in the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa. This is where our volunteers can make a real difference to these orphans’ lives. Since 2010, we have taken over 500 volunteers out to build 73 houses for 300 orphans. It’s a truly rewarding experience for everyone involved.

How does the Food4Life scheme work?

Coco’s Foundation is currently funding the desperate children and children-headed families of Mduku and Mnqobokazi in the Kwa Zulu Natal region, the Mandiwa and Bhekamangwane school in Port Elizabeth. We’re feeding 1,000 children every day with nutritious regular meals.

Coco’s now also have two ground coordinators growing vegetables in the community gardens and passing on their invaluable cultivation skills and knowledge to the next generation. We also have a farm in Uganda that supports 101 vulnerable children through the crops that we grow and then take to market.

child cocos foundation

What does Skills4Life provide for the children?

Our psychological social support (PSS) workshops support orphans dealing with the emotional issues arising from their bereavements and life as an orphan. The Foundation works with social workers and funds the PSS workshops on the Lulisandla Kumntwana programme, which also teaches life skills. Around 9,000 orphans in this region learn ways to cope with death and bereavement.

The children are divided into groups according to their age, with materials provided and activities designed to be appropriate for that age group. Broader topics are gradually introduced including relationships, communication, resolving conflicts, drugs, sex, alcohol, and good and bad touching. Finally, any adults involved in the care of the children are invited to join in a group session working through issues raised by the children.

The programme involves plenty of activities and games and the children have a lot of fun. In fact, some have commented that the PSS workshops are the only time they really get to play properly and be children again, as much of the time they have other responsibilities.

How do children benefit from your Clothes4Clothes initiative?

Your old clothes can mean a new start for the orphans we help in South Africa, and we don’t just mean by putting clothes on their back.

One of our trustees was visiting one of the afterschool workshops that the Coco’s Foundation helps run, which supports these orphans in coming to terms with their emotions as well as helping them in their day-to-day tasks like homework; it’s a role most parents would fill.

children cocos foundationThey got talking to one child, Xolani, and observed what appeared to be belt marks on the child’s body. It transpired that he had been beaten by some children in the neighbourhood where he lived because of his poor state of dress. As hard as it is to grasp, young children are often singled out because of how poorly dressed and scruffy they are and bullied as a result. That night our Trustee just couldn’t’t get Xolani out of her head and we devised a plan to help him. The next morning, armed with a trusty piece of string we measured Xolani’s waist and used a piece of paper to draw around his feet to ascertain his shoe size. We picked 4 other children that day and measured them too. The following day we arrived at the school to hand out new clothes and shoes. As I bent down to tie the shoes laces of Xolani who had been so savagely treated by his peers, he whispered into my ear "Thank you, you are a very kind man.”  As a result, someone else had to tie his other shoe as I felt overcome with humbling emotion.

The students looked immaculate in their new uniforms and their smiles of pride were the best reward for this simple act. All of a sudden, their status had been elevated to the smartest in the school and their self-esteem was elevated to new levels. Experiencing something that could easily be made right, we set up Clothes4Clothes. We ask people in the UK to donate their unwanted clothes to us and in return we generate funds by either selling the best bits on eBay or exchanging them through a national textile recycling initiative, which give us £400 for every ton of clothes we collect. The money is then changed into South African Ran and used to buy school uniforms, shoes, and beds from the local town, supporting the local economy.

Kids Just Recycle support us greatly with this and to date we have clothed over 3,500 children!

If you would like to support us with this scheme, please email

What is Cocos Foundation biggest achievement to date?

We’ve:Built 73 houses

  • Provided shelter for 300 orphans
  • Provided 6 million meals to orphaned and vulnerable children

How will you continue to offer support?

Many of the children we have helped over the last 12 years, are now at the age to attend college and start looking for a job to support themselves and their families. We hope that the skills we have taught them will help them to be self-sufficient and make their own incomes.

Our next dream is to develop and make a success of Foundation Lodge in the heart of Sodwana Bay on the East Coast of South Africa in the region of Kwa Zulu Natal. This region is one of the most infected areas of HIV in the world and consequently there are almost 15,000 orphans in this area.

We would like the opportunity to develop Foundation Lodge and create a team of many young local orphans who we have supported through our Skills4Life Program and supported through college.

Supported by us, they would run the Lodge and it would be a place where our volunteers can stay when building the houses for the orphans. It would also be a place where they could market the Lodge to worldwide Dives and Fishing communities operating accommodation that would generate a profitable income, investing it back into the community to be able to build one house a month for other desperate orphans creating a culture of not having to rely constantly on donations for their survival.

We need support to purchase Foundation Lodge at £100,000 and are working hard to fundraise to help the young orphans to be self-sufficient and have purpose.

How can people get involved and support the charity?

We welcome students, businesses and individuals alike to join us on this life-changing experience. By joining us on a journey to build homes and improve lives for these young people is so valuable. Call our team today on 01403 738800 or email us at

children cocos foundation

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