supporting rural development projects in northern KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

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about the Helwel Trust
Drs Anthony & Maggie Barker

The word HELWEL is derived from the Zululand Churches Health and Welfare Association, an organisation with its roots in the early 1960s in the historic area of Natal, South Africa, where the Zulu Nation prospered in the 18th and 19th centuries. Helwel was created to serve the under-privileged people of the region by the Christian churches and hospitals.

Drs Anthony and Maggie Barker worked for 35 years at the Charles Johnson Memorial Hospital at Nqutu. When they, and other medical staff and volunteers from this and other hospitals (such as St Mary's Hospital KwaMagwaza), returned to the UK in 1976, they founded Helwel Trust to provide ongoing financial support for the work in the area now known as KwaZulu Natal. Helwel Trust is also concerned to raise awareness of the many social and medical problems that are endemic in the region, not least of which is HIV/AIDS. Further information about the Barkers can be found through the Alan Paton Centre at the University of Pietermaritzburg and the University of Birmingham Archives.

Initially most of the assistance was channelled through the Zisizeni Association for Development, but when this organisation ceased to exist in 2004, Helwel Trust looked for other organisations to fulfil the wish of Helwel Trust Friends to assist the most disadvantaged peoples of KwaZulu Natal towards improved education, self sufficiency and health. Currently the three NPOs (Not for Profit Organisations) which satisfy our criteria for openness of operation, financial accountability and regular reporting are:

Training and Resources in Early Education

Africa Co-operative Action Trust


The Helwel Council has 16 members who meet twice a year in London and in the meantime work from our own homes. Administration costs are very low indeed. Everyone works voluntarily.

Over the years we have raised many thousands of pounds (currently sending out in the region of £50,000 per year) by means of donations, events and legacies.

Thanks to all our supporters for their belief in our vision, their encouragement and their loyalty
Sponsors Rt Rev The Lord Harries of Pentregarth
Very Revd Monument Makhanya, Bishop of Zululand
Revd. Rosemary Lain-Priestley
Professor Elaine Unterhalter
Trustees Mr Andrew Pemberton (Chairman)
Dr Howard Mowbray (Vice-chairman)
Rev Canon Claude Rutter
Mrs Lisa Mills
Chairman Mr Andrew Pemberton
Trust Secretary Mrs Liz Williams
(Liz Williams and Liz Sharp
are the same person)
Treasurer Mr David Davies
Donations Secretary Dr Carol French
Read our latest Newsletter on the News Page!
Helwel Trust was registered with the Charity Commission in 1976 (Reg. number 271713 )