Who We Are

The Umkhumbane Schools Project is a unique partnership with and among the five secondary schools in the Umkhumbane (Cato Manor) informal settlement and township area on the outskirts of Durban, South Africa.

What We Do

Since 2012,  we have provided our community of schools with programs and resources to enable students to reach their full potential and find a ladder up out of poverty, opening doors to higher learning and access to well-paid employment. We structure our programs so as to optimize the opportunities for resource-sharing, economies of scale, and benefits of community that our on-site presence within a cluster of schools allows. 


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Our educational program content focuses on the following areas:

Science Enrichment
Environmental Education
Career and Academic Guidance
Arts and Humanities
Life Skills
Community Engagement & Study Abroad

Our Model: ERGO

With our unique model, the USP has introduced a new kind of corporate entity into the education landscape, one designed to equip small groups of disadvantaged, struggling schools with their own, specialised workhorse constituted in the nonprofit sector. As such, the USP is the working prototype of a new variety of NGO which we have named an “ERGO,” for “Educational Resource Generating Organization.” The sole purpose for which an individual ERGO is chartered is to work within a cluster of schools for the benefit of that cluster of schools. To read more about this model and our work to advance the ERGO concept.
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Our Partner Schools

Bonela Secondary, Chesterville Secondary, Mayville Secondary, Umkhumbane Secondary and Wiggins Secondary

How To Get Involved

We are always excited to work with people and organizations that share our vision of education equity and a brighter, more just and prosperous future for us all. If you have a learning program which you would like to bring to our schools, please click on the Program Partners box.  If your company’s CSI goals could be furthered through the USP, please click on the Funding Partners box, to the right. If you would like to volunteer in one of our existing programs, please click on the Volunteers box.  If you would like to offer your individual financial support, please click on the Donate box.

Equity and Sustainability

Our NGO model and our program content reflect a commitment to the ideals of sustainability and its three interlinked aspects:  social, economic, and environmental.  These ideals apply to all societies of the world, both rich and poor, developed and less-developed.  Through our unique community-of-schools approach, we seek to advance locally-responsive and globally-relevant ideas and programs that could be implemented in disadvantaged settings anywhere, for the advancement of social transformation and inclusion,  the upliftment of marginalised communities out of poverty, and the protection of our shared natural environment.


About Cato Manor

While the Cato Manor community faces the many challenges associated with deep poverty and the legacies of aparthied, there is a vibrant spirit of resilience here that makes this a wonderful community in which to invest time and energy. The Umkhumbane Schools Project is fortunate to be working in this place and among this group of schools. Together with our learners, their teachers, the schools’ leadership teams, and an array of supportive community partners from near and far, we are excited to be continuing in the long tradition of helping something vibrant and lasting take root in this place along the banks of the Umkhumbane River. There is great promise and potential here.
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