Missionvale Care Center, South Africa

MVCC Aerial Map


The Missionvale Care Center operates in the extremely poor informal shackland township of Missionvale in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It was founded by Sister Ethel Normoyle in 1988 from humble beginnings, under a tree donated by a resident of Missionvale. It has grown into a Center that provides love and care for the poor and destitute, with particular emphasis on those living with HIV/AIDS. It remains true to her original vision and is still directed by her and a Board of Directors.


  • To provide an essential health, social and spiritual service.
  • To provide primary and pre-primary school education and other forms of educational development.
  • To promote a stable and harmonious home and community environment.
  • To develop a sense of pride and ownership in the people of Missionvale.
  • To concentrate on the development of children, especially those orphaned and vulnerable.
  • To use all the resources of the Care Center to treat, alleviate and most importantly, prevent the scourge of HIV/AIDS.
  • To consolidate the achievements of the last 25 years by becoming self-sustaining.


The Missionvale Care Center started from nothing in 1988 has grown to provide many services (physical, spiritual, and social) for the people of Missionvale.


Carpentry UnitThe carpentry unit which began in 2007 has been giving many of the residents of Missionvale a new sense of pride and the opportunity to better themselves as they learn various skills in carpentry.  The group of individuals recycles donated wood pallets and other material to build a variety of different projects.  They are currently building benches to be placed throughout the Missionvale Care Center area offering people a comfortable place to sit and enjoy one another’s company.



Child Support and Development ProgramThis program is focused on providing orphaned and vulnerable children a safe and educational environment where they can spend their afternoons.  The children are able to take part in a variety of activities including HIV/AIDS education, ballroom dance lessons, drumming, netball, and soccer as well as receive a nutritious snack and drink before they go home.






Clothing WarehouseThe Clothing Warehouse is a self-sustaining unit at the Care Center.  Donated clothing is washed, mended, and organized by gender and size.  It is then distributed in a very systematic way to the people of Missionvale.  Twice a year the adopted families of Missionvale receive clothing for each member of their family.  Families that have the unfortunate disaster of a shack fire also receive a generous parcel of clothing and household goods to get them started again.



Community GardensThe Community Gardens provide a wonderful opportunity for people of Missionvale to learn a new skill while producing a variety of vegetables.  The gardeners are provided with their own garden plot, seeds, fertilizer, and the necessary tools and water to maintain the garden.  They tend to their seasonal vegetables which may include corn, carrots, cabbage, spinach, onions, tomatoes and much more.  Many of the gardeners take their harvest home to their family while others produce enough to also sell to their friends and neighbors.  This helps transition some of the people away from the daily food program of bread and soup powder and create more of a self-sufficient environment for them.




Crafters' UnitThe ladies of the Crafters’ Unit work very hard every day on a variety of projects including curtains, placemats, hand bags, aprons, pillows and more.  These items are then sold at the Missionvale Care Center as well as at craft shows within the area.  As the women are taught the basics of sewing and become more adept at these skills they have an increased chance of becoming employed by businesses throughout the Port Elizabeth area.  Once the crafters have been in the program for a while and have obtained the necessary skills, they are encouraged to look for work outside the Care Center.  Sister Ethel also helps them with start up equipment and costs if they are interested in starting their own small business.  This is a great way to promote entrepreneurship among the people.



A volunteer optometrist visits the Care Center once a week providing optical examinations and helping to provide the people with glasses when necessary.  The Center uses old eye glasses that can be recycled for use here.  Giving a person the ability to see again is an amazing gift.



Home Based CaregivingThe Resource Center is the home base for the 20 Caregivers of the Missionvale Care Center who take the love and compassion found at the Center into the homes of the ill and the dying.  Each day the Caregivers make an average of 30 home visits to those in need.  These Caregivers have been given the opportunity to attend an intensive training program.  This program will expand their skills for home care nursing, basic counseling, nutrition, hygiene and a comprehensive HIV/AIDS education component.  The Caregivers will receive a certificate once they complete this educational training and equip them with the confidence and knowledge to provide quality health services for the people of Missionvale.  A very important part of what these Caregivers do each day is work with the family.  They teach the family how to care for their sick family member.  This may include teaching them how to bath the person, keep them comfortable, feed them, etc.

Another area of this unit is a specialized HIV/AIDS treatment program.  This program incorporates cutting edge therapy for HIV/AIDS.  Participants attend every weekday for a three-week duration.  The program is to help improve their immune system by stimulating the body in various ways to help with the restoration of blood cells.

There is also a once a week HIV/AIDS support group that meets in the Community Hall to discuss, share and be there for one another.  The Missionvale Care Center wants everyone to feel they have support in this fight against HIV/AIDS.  No one is in this fight alone.



Nutrition UnitThe Nutrition Unit helps the people of Missionvale each day by providing them with a half loaf of bread and a scoop of nutritious soup powder making it possible for them to go home and provide a meal for their family.  This service is available to any one in need.  The Nutrition Unit also distributes weekly food parcels to those families on the Care Center adopted list.  A food parcel provides additional items of sustenance for a family including sugar, tea, rice, pilchards, baked beans, potatoes, onions, body soap, and dish soap.  Approximately 700 food parcels are given out each week.

This nutrition program is an extremely important for all the people that participate as well as being able to further help those who are sick.  It provides the basic substances that people need on a daily basis.  Without proper nutrition, a person cannot take the necessary medication they may need to take to improve their health.

Missionvale Care Center has created a recycling program as part of the food distribution process.  This recycling program serves three purposes.  First, each person requesting bread and soup is asked to bring empty tins to be recycled.  This teaches the people self-respect, the food is not a hand out, they must do something for it.  Second, this is a way to have the people help clean up the areas and less garbage is created.  Third, the Care Center receives a small amount of money from the recycling company to help pay for some of the bread and soup powder each day.



Church BeginningThe people of Missionvale asked for a house of prayer and therefore Our Lady of the Wayside Church was built.  Each Sunday a service of worship is offered in which everyone is welcome.








Primary SchoolThe primary school supplies hope, education, care, nourishment and a protected playground for children of Missionvale.  The Care Centrer helps parents enroll their children in Grade R, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5.  The Care Center also provides these children with school uniforms and necessary school stationary.  Education is the key to the future success of South Africa and high importance is placed of these children receiving a proper education.  This school is fully funded and operated by the Missionvale Care Center and the contributions received from corporate or individual donors.