About Us



Zimele means “people stand on their own feet” in Zulu. This encapsulates our vision of breaking the cycle of "hand-out dependency" and helping communities achieve self-reliance. In the remote areas of KwaZulu Natal where Zimele works, women are often of the most marginalised members of society. Female empowerment is thus at the heart of our programmes, which provide women with business skills such as product design, marketing and basic finance skills. Unlocking business opportunities help to develop the women's independence and in turn their ability to support others, thereby disseminating the benefits throughout their communities. Zimele is guiding the way to personal empowerment – self-discovery, self-awareness, self-realisation, self-sufficiency, self-fulfilment.

Our Vision


To confront the root causes of poverty and break down the barriers to economic independence for women in South Africa’s rural communities.

Our Mission

To empower women with the skills, resources, and support networks to start businesses and social service projects to sustain themselves, their families and their communities.

Zimele is a family of organisations. It’s operating organisation is Zimele- Developing Community Self-Reliance, a registered non-profit based in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Zimele UK’s role in the Zimele community is to:

  • Fundraise for projects in South Africa.
  • Tackle the traditional, pessimistic view of African development by focusing instead on the rich culture, vibrant communities and inspirational responses to adversity.
  • Highlight the importance of genuine development projects, rather than more traditional views of charity.
  • Search for outlets for the Fairtrade craft produced through the project.