Marotholi Outreach is a registered non-profit public benefit organisation founded in 2017, aimed at addressing the alarmingly high number of malnourished children in vulnerable communities. Four weekly, we have a screening program based at the premises of an NGO, Revelation 21 House, in Motsoaledi (Soweto) where we discuss appropriate infant feeding with parents and caregivers, as well as weigh and measure children under 5 years old for signs of malnutrition – The aim of which is early identification of at-risk children. As part of our ongoing efforts to improve the health outcomes of the children we serve, we have recently introduced ready-to-use therapeutic foods as a treatment for acute malnutrition in children over six months. These highly nutritious and energy-dense foods are specifically formulated to aid in the rehabilitation of malnourished children and give them a better chance of catching up on their growth. On average, we screen 40 – 50 children per visit, and this number is growing as the community becomes more accustomed to and trusting of us. We have established a screening site in Tembisa on the premises of the Moriting School starting February 2022. Our mission is to identify at-risk children from vulnerable communities with signs of growth faltering early and to rehabilitate them nutritionally before they progress to established malnutrition.
We perform nutritional screenings on children under 5 years using anthropometry and nutritional histories every 6 weeks. All at-risk children receive one-on-one nutritional counseling and rehabilitation by a pediatric doctor or dietician and receive fortified foods. Since our first screening in May 2017, we have performed over 500 screenings on more than 300 children in the informal settlement of Motsoaledi, Soweto. As found in our recent descriptive analysis conducted in May 2021, we found a malnutrition prevalence of over 20% in children under 5 years old in that same community. We have demonstrated catch-up growth in many of the children diagnosed with growth faltering at our outreach and receiving nutritional rehabilitation at our outreach. We have also noted an increase in the community awareness around appropriate infant and child feeding, as evidenced by the question-and answer sessions we have with caregivers prior to every outreach. Given the COVID19 pandemic, we have also noted an increased need for services such as ours as food insecurity increases
MEET THE TEAM
Dr Keketso Mopeli-Tshehla
Chairperson and Co-founder
MBBCH (WITS) FC Paed (SA), Mmed Paed (WITS)
Chairperson of Marotholi Outreach, Dr Keketso Mopeli is a Wits trained paediatrician who currently practices at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.
This role involves providing care for the sick children of Soweto and the referral areas that send patients to Bara, as well as teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students.
She is currently studying further in the field of paediatric pulmonology but since the days of her specialist training has had a special interest and concern in the high numbers of children suffering from malnutrition and it’s related consequences.
She grappled with this issue of childhood malnutrition and has engaged several entities on possible solutions since 2015, but it was in 2017 at leadership network forum run by the Letsema Foundation that the idea to start Marotholi came to life. “Marotholi is an opportunity for us to be those droplets of water that nurture seedlings which are God’s children to thrive in the world and reach for the sun. For me it is love in action.”
Dr Lesego Ndhlovu
Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder
MBBCH (WITS), DCH (SA), FCPaed (SA), MMed Paed (WITS)
Lesego Ndhlovu is a Paediatrician and a Paediatric Gastroenterologist. Her experience looking after malnourished children in the North-West Province, Limpopo, and Gauteng ignited her interest in childhood malnutrition prevention. Whilst working in Mahikeng in 2014, she and her then colleagues founded a nutritional screening program at the premises of a childcare centre, where they screened children for malnutrition and other illnesses for 2 years. Then in 2017, owing to a shared passion for malnutrition prevention with colleague-turned friend Dr Keketso Mopeli-Tshehla, Marotholi Outreach was founded in Johannesburg in to address the alarmingly high malnutrition prevalence among children under 5 years. Through this organisation, she aims to increase awareness about childhood malnutrition, educate and empower caregivers on appropriate feeding practices, as well as to prevent as many children from the devastating effects of childhood malnutrition through early identification and rehabilitation at a community level.
Mr Maloba G Tshehla
Systems and Sustainability Officer
BScEng (Chemical Eng)(Honours)(UCT) PGD Sustainable Development (Cum Laude) (Stellenbosch), MPhil Sustainable Development (Stellenbosch)
Mr Maloba Tshehla is our Director for Sustainability, a portfolio that includes ensuring we have systems in place to operate most efficiently, so we can do more for our kiddies, and do the most with generous donations from Friends of Marotholi. As an engineer by training, he enjoys the use and optimisation of systems, and once that is done is happily found leading dances at our outreaches, face painting the kiddies or manning the food station. Being part of the Marotholi team was a matter of fate for Maloba , as he was present in its formulation stages and is married to the Powerhouse behind our organisation.
Dr Chuene Maponya
Administration and Public Relations
Chuene is an emergency medicine doctor in private sector. It was fate that led her to cross paths with Dr Keke in 2017 through a mutual relationship and a friendship was forged between the two. Joining Marotholi fulfilled her wish to use her skills in a meaningful manner to serve the underprivileged. Chuene, in her capacity as administrator and public relations manager for Marotholi Outreach is in charge of various tasks not limited to but including capturing stats of outreaches and running the social media accounts. Her greatest pride and joy are her two little boys.
Dr Kitso-Lesedi Mrubata
Planning And Development Manager
MBChB(UCT), DCh(SA), Fcpaed(SA), Mmed(WITS)
Kitso is a paediatrician who is currently engaged in a fellowship programme to subspecialise as a paediatric pulmonologist through the Discovery Award Foundation and Wits university’s department of paediatric pulmonology.
She is firmly rooted in the belief that “our mission in life is to serve life, each other and in so doing leave the world better than we found it.” This belief ,her passion caregiver education and for the wholistic well-being of children inspired her to join the Marotholi team in their mission to see all children thrive to their fullest potential!
Through the portfolio of Planning and Development she hopes to assist in the innovation and planning of projects which will assist in the success and viability of the organisation.
Ms Margot Bradfield
Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics (UP), Master of Therapeutic Nutrition (SU)
Currently furthering her studies in Public Health and Nutrition and working at Edenvale Regional Hospital, she was introduced to Keke by one of the Dietitians at Bara in April 2019. She attended her first Outreach in August 2019 and has been a regular ever since! “Being a dietitian, I have a passion for nutrition and a special interest in maternal, infant, and young child feeding. I also have an interest and volunteer experience in humanitarian and disaster relief with the Gift of the Givers. Working in the public sector and being exposed to the devastating effects of malnutrition I have always wanted to try and improve this situation by preventing malnutrition, creating community awareness as well as providing education on nutrition and feeding practices. Being part of Marotholi has been a privilege and has ignited the spark to try harder to improve the nutritional status of our children”.
Lindokuhle Mzanywa, our Projects Coordinator, who holds a degree in Development Studies and is passionate about making an effective contribution in the community at large. She has volunteered with multiple organizations before and she believes that joining Marotholi Outreach will be both an opportunity to learn and to fulfill her purpose. As Project Coordinator, she is in charge of various tasks including general administration, assisting with the organizations operational day to day activities, as well as content creation and posting on social media.