Cast of Characters

Key Players

The main connection in this project, between the WPI Safe House Team and the sponsor Sizakuyenza was the liaison, Mr. Gershwin Kohler. It was crucial in all aspects of planning and execution this connection remained fluid despite geographical and cultural separation.

WPI Safe House Team: The Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) team consisted of five third year students with a variety of majors: Samantha Ervin (MG/IN), Julia LaValley (PSS/BE), Jonathan Mirabito (CE/PW), Jacob Mercier (ME), and Christina Noyes (BIO). The team worked very closely with the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division (IGSD) in order to effectively link WPI and Cape Town, South Africa communities to complete the multi-layered social project.

Scott Jiusto & Stephen McCauley: As two advisors for the project, both Professor Jiusto (PhD) and Professor McCauley (PhD) aided in establishing the project, procuring funds, and proving immense project guidance.

Mr. Gershwin Kohler: As the liaison to the project and financier of Sizakuyenza, Mr. Kohler facilitated the communication and connection between the WPI project team and the Sizakuyenza organization. He provided supervision, guidance, prioritization of goals, and allocated funds for the WPI team.

Sizakuyenza: As the parent organization of the Safe House, this non-profit NGO was created to assist in the rehabilitation of victims of domestic violence, combat drug abuse, protect children, and ensure community well-being. Sizakuyenza was the sponsor for this project.

Safe House Residents: The women and children living in the safe house played a crucial role in providing input for the project. The projects and their prioritization came from residents because they are able to utilize the resources best.

Blue Sky Recycling Plant: The recycling plant that a previous WPI project took place at. Due to the proximity to the Safe House, the center requested assistance on what the past project had left to complete. The plant was also a resource for recycled material such as tyres.

John: Director of Blue Sky. Source of advice and knowledgea in many areas of repair work and upgrading. He was able to procure tires and other recycled materials.

Golden: Caretaker and handyman of the Safe House. His experience was helpful with large projects and acquiring tools.

Robert Raw: Financial manager at Sizakuyenza. He was invaluable to procuring funding.

Mama Pilisani: The house mother of the Sizakuyenza Safe House. She is responsible for day to day operation of the and assisting the women in their recovery and reintegration into society.

Andisiwe: The Safe House employs a full time social worker to create programs and satisfy overarching needs. For the WPI team, the social worker will aide in making sure actions are appropriate toward the women and children and will be perceived without harm. The social worker also has an assistant, with similar job and correlation to the students.

Mama Gloria: The second House Mother that works weekends at the Safe House. She was directly involved in many projects in a physical rather than managerial sense.

Mama Nomntu: Works in the garden at the Safe House. She educates women on gardening practices and teaches them to grow their own food and be self-sufficient. She was a good resource on gardening processes and designs.

Silvia: Works with Mama Nomntu and speaks good English. She was a valuable resource for translation and gardening assistance.

Nontembiso: Manager of the Sizakuyenza.  She was a great resource for connecting with others outside of the Safe House as well as getting to know the key players in the organization.