Since 1986 MES Johannesburg has been fulfilling the needs of the marginal and destitute communities in and around Johannesburg. MES Johannesburg works on a holistic approach of intake, intervention and exit. All programmes are structured to successfully help each client one-step at a time. MES Johannesburg covers all services to ensure each client will have an exit opportunity with a successful outcome of becoming a sustainable citizen.

MES Johannesburg believes in a space where hope is possible, where values and norms are nurtured, where the disempowered are empowered, where human potential is developed and where dignity is restored. MES Johannesburg provides services regardless of age, religion or sexual orientation.


Poverty alleviation includes social relief and outreaches, which play an imperative role in the first contact (intake phase) and building trust within our community. Outreaches are conducted on the streets, in dilapidated buildings and within the communities where MES operates and once a relationship is established, the clients are referred to the Assessment Centre. When the need arises for further assistance, the client is referred to the Social Services Department for an initial needs analysis, which could lead to more in-depth assessments and referrals in the intervention phase. These programmes enable our community to have access to supportive and spiritual care in order to be empowered to lead constructive and meaningful lives. Our programmes include Residential Care, GROW (God Restores Our World) and Youth Enrichment Programme.


The Residential Care Programme covers two very important and basic needs of the homeless community and youth in training. Firstly, MES is providing safe and secure accommodation to the homeless and vulnerable community in our overnight shelters, especially during winter months. Secondly, MES supports students, with no other option but to live on the streets, with accommodation during their Skills Development Programme, in order to enhance sustainable exits from their training programme. Having a safe place to stay restores hope and dignity.

The MES GROW (God Restores Our World) Job Rehabilitation Project provides an alternative to aggressive begging and crime by offering clients the opportunity to participate in social development and job rehabilitation activities. Work includes cleaning services, weeding, storm water drain cleaning, graffiti removal and other services required by the immediate community. A developmental and incentive process is followed with increased responsibility for each job rehabilitation level. This programme is strongly supported by the social work and Occupational Therapy Services and provides a means of screening for clients to progress to formal training programmes. Cash in hand means that a client is given the opportunity to pay for overnight shelter, meals or cover other basic needs. The programme also provides an opportunity for the practical implementation of theoretical in-house training. GROW instils pride and uplifts these clients with hope for a better future.

The heart of the city of Johannesburg is increasingly characterised by the presence of dysfunctional children and youth. They roam the streets, are undisciplined and have little or no schooling. Drugs, sex and crime become pitfalls to these young people, because of unstable home environments. Currently there are not many opportunities for after school care in the inner city and this poses a real threat to the safety and development of the children/youth growing up in the inner city environment. MES offers a safe haven to these children through empowering children and the youth not to fall victim to their circumstances by establishing and nurturing a spirit of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity through spiritual, social, academic and art programmes. The second aspect is to encourage a culture of volunteerism amongst the youth of South Africa. The Joshua Programme gives this opportunity to young servant leaders, who play a key role within the youth enrichment activities, such as holiday programmes, after school centres and the uplifting, encouraging and mentoring of future generations.


Skills development and job creation have been a focus of our country for many years and emphasis has been placed on skills development programmes, learnerships and internships to specifically address the skills shortage that we are experiencing.Amongst the homeless and poorest of the poor, education and skills development opportunities are fewer and they face more challenges. In many cases, the provision of skills development programmes alone will not ensure that a person reaches a stage of employment and earning a sustainable income. In most of these individuals’ lives are hidden scars of trauma, social injustices, abuse (physical, emotional and substance) and insufficient education. MES provides a holistic, wrap-around service to address each individual’s needs, furthering him or her on a journey towards sustainability. MES develops, facilitates, presents and coordinates relevant skills development and job placement services that will contribute to a sustainable intervention and exit for unskilled/unemployed community members leading to independent living.

MES’s crèches provide high-quality early childhood development and care, ensuring that when children exit into primary school; they are physically, mentally, emotionally and socially school ready. For some children the crèches offer the only nutritious meal for the day. The crèches work closely with our social work services and should the need for assistance arise, the relevant assistance (support to parents who are unable to afford the crèche fees and assistance with food parcels) is provided after an assessment of the clients’ circumstances is done. The crèches follow the CAPS curriculum and boost the children’s development through various activities, such as music, gymnastics and computer classes. MES currently has three crèches, two in Hillbrow and one in Fleurhof (Roodepoort). In total MES offers a safe, healthy and educational environment to 346 children, aged between six months and six years.


This is the first point of entry into the MES programme after outreach. The first step is the Helpdesk Assessment. If deemed necessary and based on the outcome the client is referred for further assessment. Once a client has gone through the intake phase, a multi-disciplinary team does a thorough assessment, after which a Care Plan is established in conjunction with the client. An Individual Development Plan (IDP) is then drawn up to ensure the implementation of the Care Plan. From the assessment, clients are referred to different services within the organisation as part of the intervention phase of the model. Assessing and drawing up IDPs for individuals and families empower them to have the necessary coping skills, which will enable them to function optimally and to develop their future potential.

MES Social Work Sevices delivers faith based social services contributing to healthy social functioning of children and families. Family/child care and protection services are being offered through various interventions, such as the prevention of family disintegration, care for children infected and affected by HIV and AIDS, child protection, HIV/AIDS and grief counselling, family re-unification services, relating statutory services and forensic assessment of children (this includes all child and family services, such as abandoned, orphaned, neglected, sexually and physically abused children). The MES Social Work Services forms an important part of healing, restoring and empowering our communities to live normal, healthy lives.

MES Impilo sustains health and wellness in the communities we serve in and around Johannesburg. Impilo cares for the homeless and destitute people with chronic or advanced illness in the in-patient unit and pays equal attention to medical, social and spiritual well-being implemented through the MES model. Varieties of services include home based care services, in-patient services and health education services. All these services work together through internal referrals to ensure that each patient receives the healthcare that they need. MES Impilo’s core business is home based care in the community and TB contact tracing. In addition we render palliative care in the 15 bed hospice (in-patient unit), but we also render treatment to common, acute and chronic illnesses and injuries.

Help MES reunite Gogo with family and empower the skills acquired

MES is appealing to prospective donors and individual volunteers to assist in reuniting our granny, who has been part of a Knitting and Crocheting Project by the ladies living at our Impilo shelter since Covid-19 level-5 lockdown in Jeppestown, Johannesburg.  The knitting project has evolved to represent an opportunity for personal growth while developing valuable entrepreneurship skills.

To get involved, please contact Tarryn on 011 725 6531 or email tarryn@mes.org.za or donatejhb@mes.org.za.