About Empilweni


Empilweni (“Place of Healing”) is a small nongovernmental organisation housed in the Metropolitan Life Building, Spine Road, Ilitha Park, Khayelitsha, Cape Town. A satellite service is provided in the nearby growing township of Mfuleni

Empilweni was established in 1994 at the request of the Khayelitsha community, and has been providing psychological counselling to troubled children and their parents for the past 24 years

Empilweni employs and trains social workers and social auxiliary workers to provide assessments and counselling for children and youth with mental health problems. The counsellors receive regular supervision from a clinical psychologist. Empilweni is a special place because it is the only community-based centre for child and adolescent mental health counselling in Khayelitsha and Mfuleni, and the only facility which provides counselling in isiXhosa. Empilweni has a transfer payment agreement with the Provincial Department for Social Development which partially subsidises our services

About our clients

Of approximately 600 children and youth referred to us every year, 300 are found to be in need of our 3-month counselling programme. The programme includes individual counselling sessions, visits to the home and schools of our clients, and working with parents and teachers. Following their individual therapy our young clients are then placed in appropriate groups that run throughout the year.

Anxiety, depression, grief, suicidal tendencies, behavioural disorders, learning difficulties and neglect make up much of the mental health burden we help these young people with. Life is hard in Khayelitsha and Mfuleni, and families, and therefore children, struggle with multiple stresses and even fewer resources. At Empilweni we try to bring relief to suffering through professional care, and to restore hope and direction so that our clients can forge a better future for themselves.

Working together in the community

Empilweni collaborates with many NPOs in the community, including Child Welfare, Child Line, Wola Nani, Nonceba, Illitha Labantu, Simamalene, and RAPCAN, among many others. Empilweni also works closely with primary and high schools in the Khayelitsha and Mfuleni community and runs outreach programmes in these areas. Many schools refer troubled students to Empilweni.