We connect good people like you to the rural town of Memel to make it healthier, more prosperous, and a better place for everybody.
More than 20 years after historic democratic elections in South Africa, the rural town of Memel, and the adjacent township of Zamani, bear the scars of poverty and apartheid. Unemployment approaches 75%, and families and the elderly live in uninsulated shacks, despite the frigid winters. Nutrition is poor. Until very recently, the still-segregated schools offered few extracurricular activities, which were only for boys. This is representative of much of rural South Africa.
Memel.Global was formed in response to these pressing issues. Seeing that one program would not be enough, we began working in all parts of the community. We’ve begun construction of new housing. We work with the schools. We grow and sell organic vegetables. We provide job training. And we support micro-enterprises. Our list of programs continues to grow.
Learn more about Memel.Global
Through listening and community involvement, Memel.Global strives to connect the people of Memel and Zamani with ideas, skills, and talented people from all around the world. By selecting international best practices that are most appropriate for this rural South African community and combining them with the talent and resources already present, we believe Memel and Zamani will grow into vibrant communities that provide jobs today and opportunity for young people tomorrow.
Memel, Zamani, and Memel.Global welcome visitors who wish to connect with the community or learn more about the work of our organization. Come and stay in one of the guest houses and enjoy this corner of the Drakensberg mountains. Or volunteer your skills and time to work on one of our programs. Perhaps you’d even like to invest in the community by starting a new enterprise or building a vacation home. We can guide you in the full range of activities that help us help Memel.
Apartheid still casts a heavy shadow on this part of South Africa. Memel, with its shops and broad streets, was only for white people. Zamani, with its metal shacks, dirt streets, and open sewers, was only for black people. Today the restrictions of apartheid are gone, but the town and the township remain separated geographically and economically.
The local government is working hard to break down the separation of town and township. Memel.Global is introducing cohousing and new construction techniques in Zamani, developing garden plots throughout the township, and creating ways to strengthen the economy so that economics won’t continue to divide the community.
Memel sits in a lovely part of the Drakensberg mountains, only three hours south from Johannesburg and Pretoria and four hours from the coast. While unemployment still plagues the town, the area is unspoiled and rich in resources in many ways. Memel is the market center for the many farms that blanket the region, serving as both an economic and social hub.
The area also offers many recreational activities, from mountain biking and fishing to hiking and horseback riding. Memel sits just beside a large area of natural wetlands, making it a prized location for bird-watching. It hosts a large number of species, including many rare finds.
In the field of health, Memel.Global started with the empowerment of young girls through sports programs, helping to nearly eliminate primary school pregnancies. Extracurricular educational programs were next. Memel.Global’s organic agriculture and food distribution programs are helping to improve nutrition, as are efforts to encourage residents to grow their own vegetables.
With low winter temperatures, health and well-being are improved through the introduction of better housing, both for families and for the elderly. Zamani faces a current housing shortage, and while the township housing is clean and dignified, better climate-appropriate options are within reach. The new housing is built using natural construction methods and passive solar design, and is based on international cohousing principles.
Job training is an important means to counter high unemployment rates, with Memel.Global offering training opportunities in construction, agriculture, ecotourism, and other fields. In a cultural context that is built on mutual support, even small economic opportunities radiate benefits. Development of small enterprises throughout Memel strengthens the local economy while simultaneously helping attract visitors to the town.
Building a vibrant economy requires investment in new enterprises. And the economy improves when visitors come to Memel to enjoy its many attractions.
Improvements in health, education, housing, jobs, and enterprise development help the residents of Memel directly. There are also important indirect benefits to other places in South Africa. A healthy rural economy provides opportunities for young people to stay in Memel, rather than move to already overcrowded and overburdened urban centers.
Ecotourism is a vital part of the positive changes happening in Memel-Zamani. Visitors benefit from new attractions and a growth in services, including lodging, restaurants, and tourist activities. People like you can also learn and grow by supporting, studying, or volunteering with one of Memel.Global’s programs.