info@twp.org.za ( 27) 83 426 5402 1192 Calcrete Street, PO Box 134, LUTZVILLE, 8165

A few words about Trans Wellness Project

In 2014, I lost my job as community coordinator at Gender DynamiX. Devastated as I was at that time, I didn’t let that broke me as I very soon realise that the trans and gender diverse people, especially those in the rural areas needed an organisation that can; while fighting and advocating for their human rights; also give services to them on the ground.

I started to have conversations with other activist, and everyone thought that I is a great plan as everyone saw the need for such an organisation. While working for six months in 2015 for AIDS Legal Network (ALN), I on the side start working on getting the organisation registered. With an indept conversation with my sister and confident, Leigh Ann van der Merwe: executive director of S.H.E, I decided to call the organisation the Protea Psychosocial Support Project for Transgender People (PPSTP). And so, the organisation was registered in August 2015 as PPSTP.

The first board was elected with the following structure. Tina West (chairperson), Maharani Peters (Vicechair), Leigh Davis (secretory), Sifiso Dladla (treasurer) who passed on in 2016 and was replaced by Nelly Mahloko, Brian Sibeko and Carol Musikanth as MC board members. At a strategic planning meeting in 2016 which was funded by The Other Foundation and facilitated by Liesl Theron; founder and first executive director of Gender DynamiX, these board members and several community members decide that the name should change to Trans Wellness Project (TWP) as that name will speak more to our vision and mission

TWP started off with a needs assessment in Kimberley, Taung, Soweto, Pietermaritzburg which was financially support by Gender DynamiX with Sibusiso Kheswa as executive director at that time. As time goes on, we get funding from HIVOS (now known as Hlanganisa Institute for Development in South Africa) to do some outreach work in Bredasdorp. We also received our second portion of money from The Other Foundation to do safe space groups and training with community educators in towns like Sibokeng (Gauteng), Calvinia Northern – Cape), Taung North West, Kuruman Northern Cape, Bredasdorp (Western Cape), Lutzville (Western Cape) and Mangaung (Free State). We also start being part of the South African Trans Forum (SATF).

In 2017/2018, the organisation goes through a real difficult time with changing of board members and not having funding to do work (funding currently a challenge) and in 2019 a whole new board was elected. Slowly but surely things are started to follow into place for the organisation and as the founder and executive director, I can see the big change happened in the organisation as from the start.

Many people asked me if I started the organisation because I was angry with Gender DynamiX. The answer is: of course, I was devastated to lose my job and income, but I was never angry. As a rural trans identified person myself, I know that trans and other gender diverse people are left out of programmes and projects because the distances to travel are too much for organisations. Our voices are not really heard, and we kept on being at the back log.

Services in the rural areas are full of discrimination as organisations and departments tend to think that people do not know their basic human rights. In the rural areas people in positions still think they are the almighty and can treat people as how they which to especially our trans and gender diverse people. Our community die of AIDS and suicide because of the discrimination and until today it is still the case AND THAT HAS TO STOP.

For the future, we are planning great things for the organisation and forming new partnerships and strengthening the current partnerships. I want to thank everyone who assist me in my dream and helping Trans Wellness Project to be the best organisation it can ever be. I especially want to thank my family for keeping up with me and my sister for given me an office space to do this very important job as because of the lack of funding, we still do not have an office.

My motto in life is: “everything starts with the ability to dream.”
Dankwa, Dankie, Thank you, Siyabonga, Enkosi.

Trans Wellness are operating in the rural and remote areas of South Africa. We holistically work with issues faced by trans and gender diverse people. We do this work by supporting trans and gender diverse people, their parents, siblings, partners and the greater communities by raising awareness, creating safe spaces and assist them to get in contact with service providers for gender affirming health care, psychosocial and legal support and support in general.

We want to make sure that the rural and remote areas in South Africa are safe environments for trans and gender diverse people as we believe that everyone has the right to live their lives according to their gender identity and gender expression in a safe environment as enshrined in the Constitution of South Africa.

Our services include, but are not limited:

  • Research
  • Access to hormones and surgeries
  • HIV/AIDS and TB Management
  • Health and Productivity Management
  • Wellness Management
  • Partnership Development
  • Financially Viability

Mission statement

Our mission is to take a holistic approach in the health and wellness of trans and gender diverse people in the rural areas of South Africa.

Vision Statement

Trans Wellness Project envision a South Africa where the needs and challenges of trans and gender divers’ people in rural and remote areas are included in programming, research and policies and procedures.

Objectives

Putting our energy in rural and remote areas of South Africa and focusing on trans and gender diverse people in a holistic way, we want to focus on: Research, Access to hormones and surgeries, HIV/AIDS and TB Management, Health and Productivity Management, Wellness Management, Partnership Development and Financially Viability

Board Members


Brian Bongani Sibeko
Brian Bongani Sibeko
Secretary

What do you get when you take a politician, a community developer, and a youth activist? In short, you get Brian Sibeko. This young man is passionate about the plight of marginalized communities, especially the LGBTI community.

He works directly with the communities making it easy for him to carry out his passion to those he cares about most – the marginalized communities.

After studying for a BA Politics, he realised he could not stop running and answered the calling. Not that kind of calling, but a calling nonetheless. Brian drooped out of politics to pursue a Social Work Degree and he is at his happiest.

Community oriented and a people’s person, he engages with his work as though it’s a hobby. He’s quick to spread the word on safe sex and self-love and he never misses an opportunity to speak of such. He lives the words he speaks and calls work. He is a young gay man who has dedicated his life to changing the perceptions of general society towards same-sex loving individuals, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, and the broader LGBTI community.

Looking at him, he reminds us that while there are people who are fine with what life gives them, there are people who will dedicate their lives to making sure that not only he gets the benefit but others benefit too. As we deal with all forms of homophobia, it is the likes of Bongani Sibeko, at the forefront of the battle against proposed injustices that remind us that we all have a role to play. “We might not be at the marches (though we should be), but through living our lives as best we can, we are being activists.”

Brian serves as the Secretary on the board of Trans Wellness Project.

Sampras Noel Kaweesi
Sampras Noel Kaweesi
Treasurer

Sampras Noel Kaweesi was born and bred in Uganda and has been living Cape Town South Africa since 2009. Holds a Diploma in Development Studies, a Bachelor in Accounting Sciences in Financial Accounting with UNISA and a Certified Chartered Accountant registered with Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). He is a strong human rights fighter for the marginalized community especially the LGBTQI and sex workers. He has been working in Non Profit Sector for more than 7 years, dedicating four years to SWEAT and concentrating on SISONKE for one year and eight months as the finance officer.

He has have a strong passion for community development and implementation of community upliftment programs and projects, a strong advocate of social justice, a strong believer in the power of knowledge especially in the context of an individual and societal development as a whole.

He is also a board Treasurer of a non-profit organization (Pakhama) which feeds the underprivileged and develops survival skills to the youth to enable them make something out of their life in Gugulethu and Langa (South Africa).

Akani Shimange
Akani Shimange
Administration and Governance

Akani Shimange (They/Them) is a black, agender, queer person that has been involved in SOGIESC work for the last decade. Over the last five years they have worked specifically with organisations and for organisations that work directly with Transgender and Gender Expansive communities across the region. Akani is currently the Director of Matimba, an organisation they founded in 2018 that works with Transgender youth in South Africa and the coordinator of the African Trans Network. They are driven by their passion for improving the lives of transgender and gender expansive individuals, especially young trans people from the region. Akani truly enjoys organizing around gender diversity to affect social change.

“I have many passions in this life but at the top of that list is questioning the relevance of binary, cis-hetro normative systems and learning from children. Matimba allows me to do both those things every day.”

Gita November CER
Gita November CER
Chair of the Board

Wits RHI Operations Coordinator Cape Town: Key Populations Programme

A former professional sex worker by profession. Gita entered the HIV prevention world ten years ago and has been working around the clock against the fight against HIV and Aids. She is the Founding member of Trans Tec SA working in the Cape Winelands and Garden Route to provide Technical support to Trans gender and Gender non-conforming organisations and individuals. She is also serving as Chair of the Board at the Trans Wellness Project working with Transgender women in the rural areas of the West Coast and five other provinces. She is committed to bring change in the Transgender Community and believes without commitment you will never start and without consistency you will never finish.


Team


Staff


Whitney Quanita Booysen
Whitney Quanita Booysen
Director of TWP

Whitney Quanita Booysen aka Sindiswa Speelman aka Lerato Khumalo is a trans identified person from Lutzville in the Western Cape of South Africa. She’s been involved in the LGBTIQA++ movement since 2011 when she started to work at Gender DynamiX as the Outreach Coordinator. She gave birth to the Trans Wellness Project after losing her job at Gender DynamiX when it was clear to her that there is a big need for an organisation working on transgender and gender diverse issues in the rural and remote areas of South Africa. Her experience as a rural transgender female who experience lots of backlog and discrimination made her aware of the fact that trans and gender diverse people are left out of programming and their voices are not heard because of the distance to travel to those areas. Whitney finished her studies in Life and Business Coaching through SACAP, N6 Public Management through West Coast College and are busy with a course to obtain a diploma in Social Studies and Counselling through International Foundation for the Advancement of Reflective Learning and Teaching (ARLT). Whitney’s motto in life is: “Everything starts with the possibility to dream.”


Volunteers


Shenaaz Cupido – Lutzville West
Shenaaz Cupido – Lutzville West
Voluteer
Elvino Jantjies – Klawer
Elvino Jantjies – Klawer
Volunteer
Goddeline Lewies – Lutzville Uitkyk
Goddeline Lewies – Lutzville Uitkyk
Volunteer
Miss Kardi B – Vanrhynsdorp
Miss Kardi B – Vanrhynsdorp
Volunteer
Cyprian Wildschutte – Vredendal
Cyprian Wildschutte – Vredendal
Volunteer
Judhley Muller: Calvinia
Judhley Muller: Calvinia
Volunteer
Refilwe Dikitlane: Taung
Refilwe Dikitlane: Taung
Volunteer
Jacky Corell: Bredasdorp
Jacky Corell: Bredasdorp
Volunteer
Kaelo: Kuruman
Kaelo: Kuruman
Volunteer
Pearl Xhaxhosa: Sibokeng
Pearl Xhaxhosa: Sibokeng
Volunteer
Gleo Booysen: Free State
Gleo Booysen: Free State
Volunteer

Our Partners



Our funders and financial contributors


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