1979 to 1986

The vision of MES is born. Street work and people-centred outreach programmes start from the Johannesburg Dutch Reformed Church.


The first person is appointed to work for MES-aksie and the Ministry Programme expands.


MES-aksie is the first organisation to launch a service year programme for students.


MES achieves Section 21 Status with a Board of Directors. Named: Middestad Evangelisasie en Sending Aksie, in short: MES-aksie.


MES-aksie programmes focus on the homeless, the elderly, children, food provision, a trauma centre and discipleship.


The Poor and Needy Programme, addressing the needs of the homeless, is launched.


MES moves its headquarters to 27 Esselen Street, Hillbrow.


The Roly Poly Crèche opens.


The Othandweni Street Youth Programme is launched and the first group of school going street youth is taken off the streets.


The first intake for Othandweni Entrepreneurial Training occurs.

The Community Care Programme is launced.


Othandweni becomes part of an awareness campaign through the SABC’s Missing Link drama.

The Mobile Clinic is launched.


Othandweni establishes a diversion option with courts.

The first Container Clinic is launched.

The Community Care Programme takes the elderly on their first trip to the sea.

The first Christmas Serenade is held on the streets of Hillbrow.

The Ministry Programme starts care groups amongst the MES personnel.


MES moves to its current offices at the Hillbrow Theatre.

The Roly Poly Crèche moves to its a bigger facility and is able to accommodate 150 children (used to accommodate 60 children).

The Ekuthuleni Transitional House opens.


MES-aksie is shortened to MES (Metropolitan Evangelical Services – Metro Evangeliese Sorg).

Ekuthuleni Day Care Centre opens.

Ekuthuleni and Othandweni receive Impumelelo Awards.

The MES Milan team starts playing in a soccer league.

The Community Based Care Nurses Unit starts with outreaches to the community.

A Health Education Unit is established.

The Ministry Programme organises an All Africa Games outreach.


The first Christmas meal is served to the community on Christmas Day.

The Winterhoop National Campaign is launched – the campaign originated from the Rapport MES Hulpfonds.

Othandweni and Ekuthuleni receive international nominations for best practices programmes.

Ekhaya overnight shelter opens.

The Entuthukweni Training and Job Creation Programme is launched and opens its first computer centre with a total of five computers in cooperation with RAU.

The first intake of female street youth for the Othandweni Entrepreneurial Programme takes place.

Madiba visits Othandweni.

The first facility for patients who need hospice care opens with 15 patients.

Community Care starts an Extensive Family Care Programme and Youth Development Centre in Bertrams and establishes a Helpmekaarklub for the elderly.

The Ministry Programme opens a Bible School and starts Youth Clubs at IH Harris School.


MES is instrumental in the move and social relief of Drill Hall residents after a fire at Drill Hall.

The Tswelopele Job Creation Project is launched.

The Othandweni Multi-purpose Drop-in Centre opens.

The Zaziwe Hope for Life Care Centre for homeless AIDS patients is launched.

The first Youth Development Centre for school going children at Irene is launched.


MES becomes a registered NPO.

The Poor and Needy Programme establishes a forum between MES, local businesses and the Metro Police and opens a helpdesk for homeless adults.

The Impilo Health Programme becomes a separate programme – initially it fell under the Othandweni Programme.

Community Care opens the Genesis building – foothold in the community and establishes a Youth Development Centre in Bertrams.


To change the heart of the city, becomes the vision of MES.

The Homeless Talk Crèche is incorporated into Roly Poly.

The Zaziwe Care Centre becomes part of the Hospice Association (an 80-bed facility, with 35 operational beds).


MES’s name is shortened to Metro Evangelical Services – Metro Evangeliese Sorg.

A partnership with the Department of Social Development is forged – Integrated Social Development Plan.

Roly Poly accommodates a record number of 150 children and opens a baby section.

Entuthukweni expands the computer centre and establishes a second centre with 36 computers in Bertrams.

A second Container Clinic (education and counselling) is opened.

A Wellness Clinic that does VCT and ART roll-out, opens.

Entuthukweni launches its first formal assessment and planning centre for all beneficiaries.

MES starts a sister company, Madulammoho Housing Association, with a special focus to develop affordable housing in the inner-city.

The first intake of 12 City Year students for a service year at MES is received.


The Joshua Youth Development and Services Programme is launched, incorporating the youth work, youth development centres and services programme. This programme takes in its first 32 matriculants for an in-service training programme by MES for one year.

MES centralises all PR and marketing activities in a separate programme.


Coenie de Villiers becomes the official Patron of MES and the first MES Unplugged Annual Concert takes place.

The opening of Dinaledi Pre-school and crèche takes place (bringing the total number of children in the MES ECD programmes to 300).

The Johannesburg CMR is incorporated into MES.

Opening of Lufononi Home for Mothers and Babies (which is linked to a training programme) takes place.

Opening of Life Haven (a home for school going street youth) takes place.

The Maranatha Programme is established.


A worldwide financial recession starts and has a major impact on the country and especially NGOs.

MES receives a platinum Impumelelo Award from Impumelelo and the Halala Award for making an impact in the city of Johannesburg.

MES National is born. Services expand to Cape Town and Port Elizabeth – the Programme of MES, the MES Cape Town branch and the MES Port Elizabeth branch are constituted on 1 March 2008, 12 November 2008 and 13 November 2008 respectively.

The Maranatha Programme is approved to become an official MES programme on 1 March 2008.

The Port Elizabeth building of MES is registered in MES’s name on 30 July 2008.

The Helpdesk at MES Cape Town provides additional screening services to social relief and outreaches.


A MES Assessment Centre opens in Hillbrow.

A shelter is purchased in Port Elizabeth.

MES Kempton Park becomes a programme of MES on 23 June 2009.

MES Heartbeat is launched – a set of operational values for the company to serve as a blueprint for the way it does business.

MES Kempton Park operates and manages a feeding scheme from the premises of the Full Gospel Church in Maxwell Street.

In Cape Town a job rehabilitation programme, Caring Enough, that provides income earning opportunities, is started in Bellville.

2008 to 2010

A strategic review of MES’s structure, vision, mission and core business is done. This results in a new structure containing three service units, namely Poverty Alleviation and Spiritual and Community Enrichment, Education and Skills Development (including residential care) and Professional Health and Social Work Services being launched in 2010. The Othandweni Programme is consequently integrated into the broader MES.

2009 to 2011

On 1 August 2010, MES Kempton Park, opens its offices at the DR Church Kempton Park’s Parsonage at 6 Kempton Road. A clothing bank and an overnight shelter for the homeless community is opened, while the feeding scheme is moved to the new premises.

The first Business Breakfast in partnership with AHI is hosted in Cape Town.

MES Tswelopele Job Creation Project becomes Waste to Wow and is registered as a separate NPO.

The MES Feeding Programme is centralised at the BG Alexander Complex.

All MES services are integrated to be managed more effectively.

Hospital Sanctuary starts in June 2010.


On 1 August 2010, MES Kempton Park, opens its offices at the NG Church Kempton Park’s Parsonage at 6 Kempton Road. A clothing bank and an overnight shelter for the homeless community is opened, while the feeding scheme is moved to the new premises.

The first Business Breakfast in partnership with AHI is hosted in Cape Town.

MES Tswelopele Job Creation Project becomes Waste to Wow and is registered as a separate NPO.

The MES Feeding Programme is centralised at the BG Alexander Complex.

All MES services are integrated to be managed more effectively.

Hospital Sanctuary starts in June 2010.


The MES name is shortened to just MES with the tagline Mould, Empower and Serve to highlight the core services of MES.

The logo of MES is adjusted to accommodate the other branches.

A national Constitution is adopted.

The MES central database is launched to enhance monitoring and evaluation.

The Wellness Centre at Impilo is closed down due to the Department taking over the ART role in the programme.

MES starts to give out food parcels to poor and needy families that live in the inner city of Kempton Park.

Cape Town SLA with the Tygerberg AHI.

The first Youth Enrichment Musical takes place.

Hospital Sanctuary continues.

2012 to 2013

The ECDOHS approves an application from MES Port Elizabeth for funding to the amount of R7 304 430. The funding agreement between MES and the ECDOHS is signed on 24 January 2012. R3 600 000 of the funds are allocated towards the repayment of the finance for the purchase of the building and R3 704 430 remains available for the renovation and upgrading of the night shelter.

Throughout the renovations and upgrades, MES Port Elizabeth continues to render services and the night shelter accommodation remains open.

At the end of September 2013 the renovations are finalised and the contractor hands the completed building to MES.

The new building is furnished with the help of the Port Elizabeth community.


Kids Academy Crèche opens with 110 children attending, while the Our Kids Crèche at Forest Hill is closed.

The first Bellville Survivor Sleep-over is held.

In Cape Town, Occupational Intelligence is incorporated into the development strategy and the second phase of accommodation services is implemented.

An after-school centre is opened in a mobile container.

The first Kempton Park Kids Festival takes place as a fundraising event for the MES Kempton Park branch.

A housing subsidy to develop and renovate the 120-bed shelter and offices in Port Elizabeth is approved by the Department of Social Development.

MES Khula Sustainability Trust is registered on 1 November 2012.

Hospital Sanctuary ends in June 2012.


Linatex Managed Care opens.

The Othandweni Drop-in Centre is transformed into a women’s shelter.

The new ECD Kids Academy Crèche in Fleurhof is opened.

All accommodation and residential care programmes are consolidated.

The Lufononi Mother and Child Care Programme is closed.

A Residential Care Programme that serves vulnerable students studying at the Central Johannesburg College is implemented.

The Ekuthuleni Transitional House is managed as a decant facility on behalf of the City of Johannesburg, providing accommodation and social work services to evicted clients in the city.

The Performing Arts Programme is developed to include the “Hold on” production by the Joshuas and A2J team.

An after-school programme for 20 children and a helpdesk that assists clients are established in Kempton Park.

The Job Rehabilitation Programme is transformed (with OPHELP principles) into a fully fledged MES GROW Job Rehabilitation Programme, incorporating developmental services. The programme is rolled out in Bellville, Parow and Brackenfell.

The Meal Voucher Programme is stared as part of the Give Responsibly Campaign.

The LECA: MES Social Enterprise is established. It is instrumental in the establishment of the socio-economic task team of the GTP.

2013 to 2014

Throughout 2013 and 2014 existing projects at MES Kempton Park are developed even further and outreaches are expanded. The numbers of volunteers increase.

The new house in Kempton Road becomes available and is renovated.

The branch manager, Gert Lotz announces his retirement and Lilly Franks starts as the new branch manager on 1 September 2014.


SLA with VRCID for cleaning top-up services (supporting GROW Job Rehabilitation Programme).

At MES Cape Town occupational therapy and social work services are incorporated into service offering to clients.

The staff training, according to the JDX Discipleship Model, forms part of the Harm Reduction Outreach Programme.

MES enters into various service agreements with other NPOs, businesses, individuals, etc.

The night shelter population increases to more than 85 people per night.

Social services and arts and crafts are expanded.

The social work services, family protection and assessment centre are integrated into one service unit.

The functions of MES National and the Johannesburg branch are separated. MES National now only functions on a national level.

Reverent Nicodemus Setshedi is appointed manager of the Johannesburg branch on 1 October 2014.


MES Training Centre receives its accreditation with the Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP SETA) that enables MES to offer accredited learning programmes.

Dinaledi Pre-school and Kids Academy receive their registration.

The MES GROW teams are launched and the traditional meal-feeding programme is closed.

The CEO of MES, Reverend Johan Krige, announces his retirement in February to come into effect on 31 December 2015.

Reverend Alan Childs is appointed as the new CEO of MES from 1 January 2016. He starts on 15 October 2015.

MES Kempton officially becomes independent from the MES Johannesburg structure.

The MES GROW Project is implemented at the Kempton Park branch on 6 March 2015 and the staff at the branch nearly doubles. The feeding scheme at the branch is also changed into a canteen.

MES Kempton Park and MES Johannesburg personnel are trained to enable the national roll-out of the GROW Job Rehabilitation Programme.

An in-house training programme with Free to Grow life skills, cleaning, cooking and first aid offerings, is rolled out.

In Cape Town, outreach and job rehabilitation services are rolled out to Durbanville.

The MES One-stop Dream-centre is established.



Appointed CEO: Rev. Alan Childs • Give a little Campaign – World Homeless Day/Hunger month .185 staff


Stepping stone Pre-school project cancelled. Increased numbers at Othandweni Women shelter with an extra 20 beds: From 40-60. Withdrew from Linatex Management due to nonpayment of COJ. Hosted 947 Charity Cycling team, 20th Golf Day, Hillbrow Unplugged – Life on the street is no picnic. Five children received their provincial colours for gymnastics in partnership with Visions Gymnastics . Musical: Priceless. Hosted 10 Days of Hope.


MES Cape Town opened the doors to our step-down shelter, The Safe Space, which has been addressing an enormous accommodation need for street people (46 men, and18 female).


Ian Landman retired as branch manager and Phindiswa Hallam took over as branch manager.

Diamonds are Forever&Golf Day events hosted

Feeding children at Masifunde ASP and Morewag Primary Schoolreplaced the ASP on site.

Solar panelswere installed on the roof as part ofsocial enterprise development in

partnership with Fed Group.


Started recycling and gardening to add to GROW service

The shelter programme increased to 49 clients(10 females and 39 males)

The canteen caters for an average of 60 clients per day

Kempton Kids Festival

2018 -2019


Moved from 9 programmes to 4 Focus Groups with Support Services during strategy review.

Theories of Change developed for each focus group.

192 staff.


2018-Opening computer room at Dinaledi to avoid transporting Children at Roly Poly.

Hosted 10 Days of Hope.

Hillbrow Unplugged: Winter Wander.


MES Cape Town opened the doors to our step-down shelter, The Safe Space,

which has been addressing an enormous accommodation need for street people (46men and 18 female).

The MES Bellville Safe Space was awarded a Bronze Certificate for Social

Innovation in November 2018. The Impumelelo Social Innovations Award

Centre is a leading awards programme in South Africa, rewarding excellence and innovators who find creative solutions to public problems on 28th November 2018. Closure of LECA farm – start process of partnership for new initiative.

Lilly Franks stepped down as branch manager and Jaco Leeuwner was


Holiday Programmes at Belhar & Scotsdene introduced.

Celebrate 10 yrs – Gala event – Life on the street is no picnic


Service centre was opened in the shelter for the elderly due to the shortage of accommodation for elderly in the city.

2nd Hand shop officially opened as a social enterprise.

Masked Ball Gala event hosted to celebrate 10yrs ofs ervice delivery


•Kempton Kids Festival.

Kempton Golf Day.


MES National

Leona Pienaar appointed as CEO in January.

Focus Group & Support Functions defined in the action hand and the support hand.

Covid19 impact – Shelter model adjusted for stay-in shelter during lockdown.

Service disruption due to lock down.

New collaborations formed, government relationships strengthened, international support strengthened..

140 staff.


Unplugged- MES Sunset Rooftop Soiree.

No musical and 10 Days due to Covid.

Opening Impilo as Shelter – closed Lufunoni –increased number of beds again to 60.

Simply Unique Knitting&Sewing social entreprise started at Impilo Shelter.

Start vegetable garden as therapeutic project for shelter clients

5 Focus Group strategy rolled-out.

Reorganise services within Covid regulations – Covid Emergency Response.

Start recycling as part of GROW


2020 brought its own challenge and we quickly had to respond with the opening of emergency kitchens and shelters to cope with Covid-19 Lock down levels.

Strong collaborations formed and was part of the Cost of Homelessness study in Cape Town.

Reorganise services within Covid regulations – Covid Emergency Response.

End of 2020we established our Parow and Durbanville Drop-in Centres.


Theresa Jacquire took over in an acting capacity as branch manager and Ronny Naude was appointed later in 2020 as the branch manager.

Safe Space was opened to increase the service offering of the branch and to provide a more affordable shelter option to the community.

Reorganise services within Covid regulations – Covid Emergency Response.

MES Kempton

MES Kempton purchased its property at 6 Kempton Road.

Following COVID-19, MES Kempton Park has become a stay-in shelter, catering currently for 40 males. The females were integrated with JHB shelter.

The ASP changed into a school feeding project due to shelter residents now being on the premises all day.

Reorganise services within Covid regulations – Covid Emergency Response.

Find out more about our journey from 1986 to 2021