A Heart for a Whole City

As we prepared for 2022, we found ourselves deeply convicted by the mandate on which POPUP was founded more than 20 years ago. Birthed from a compassion for the pain, lostness and brokenness of our cities, we found ourselves challenged on our commitment to this conviction.

When a need is as glaring and seemingly insurmountable as the brokenness of our cities, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Where do we start? What do we prioritise? How do we measure impact?

Getting back to the Heart

As we grappled with these questions, we felt guided to start with the end in mind. If we could define what a ‘whole city’ looks like, all we need to do is find sustainable ways to address that which distracts from this ideal.

There are so many ways to attempt to define this concept. Fundamentally though, cities are about the people who live there. We concentrate around these nodes for education, work, quality of life, opportunities and countless other things. Ultimately, a whole city is a place where every resident is ‘whole’.

A ‘Whole Person’

How we define a healthy individual is of utmost importance. The way we think about people defines the interventions we prioritise, measure, and fund. If we believe a whole person is financially able, ie. above the bread line of $2 per day, focusing on education and employment opportunities would make a lot of sense. Conversely, if a whole person is someone who grows up with a present father our priorities and interventions would be very different. The first step then, was to define what a whole person is.

To get to grips with the concept of wholeness, we explored various dimension which we as individuals engage:

  • My Value – Inherent dignity
  • My Destiny – Unique significance
  • My Contribution – Positive engagement with my environment

These three dimensions strike a balance between the identity of the person, their responsibility, or external engagement, and their legacy, or impact.

A Whole City

A whole city is a place where every resident:

  1. Is treated with Dignity
  2. Lives with Significance
  3. Contributes Positively

The Profound Implication

As soon as this truth dawned on us, the first realization was that we could never hope to achieve this alone. Our mandate for ‘Whole Cities’ was far greater than our ability to achieve it. We needed to radically alter our approach if we were to ever make progress towards this Transformative Purpose.

Towards a City Transformation Model

Radical city transformation required us to engage our city in a more holistic way. This has implications for our interventions, our partnerships and our footprint.

We came to understand that our learner is the object of our Transformative Purpose. Every ‘whole’ learner becomes an agent of change in our city to bring about transformation in their own way. To better serve our learners, it is imperative the we design our interventions to support their journey ‘From Hopelessness to Impact.’

This journey requires taking hands with many organisations at a national, provincial, municipal and impact point levels. To serve accurately and efficiently the need at each of our local engagements requires the formation of Impact Eco-Systems with other like-minded entities who dream about a whole city.

Harnessing the power of such partnerships would improve efficiency, remove duplication, and drive more sustainable impact outcomes.

Understanding our Cities

Cities are large places. Given our ethic, cultural, economic and language diversity our local cities consist of countless microcosms each with very distinct challenges and socio-economic expressions.

Serving our cities with compassion requires us to take stock of the unique expressions in each of our impact zones to design Intervention Streams fit for purpose in partnership with the local Impact Eco-Systems.

Prioritising our Interventions

In response to these implications, the nature of our interventions must be considered. Before all else, we must address the Dignity and Significance of every learner. It is with our Life Skills interventions that we begin to restore the individual into their rightful place in society and set them up for positive contribution.

Our key focus remains on the youth that get stuck in the NEET’s funnel (Not in Education, Employment or Training). It is in service of the Hopeless youth that POPUP exists.

Figure 2 – Our Interventions Streams – Systemic View


From this posture, we define our interventions into three streams focusing on our secondary outcomes:

  1. Restore NEET’s Learners to give them access to further education opportunities.
  2. Equip Learners with employment opportunities through learnerships and internships.
  3. Empower learners to create their own enterprises through a structured multi-year discipleship programme.


A Planting Season

These certainly are brave steps into a new season. We are convicted by the work that lies before us. We are inspired by our Transformative Purpose to see our cities ‘Whole’.

We are encouraged by the knowledge that the way is prepared before us and look forward to how this journey to ‘Whole Cities’ will unfold. Thank you for your continued support and commitment to this vision.

May you be blessed with incredible opportunities to be the change you wish to see.

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Home-Based Care

REQUIREMENT: ABET Level 4, Mathematical Literacy NQF Level 1 

ABOUT: The Home-Based Care skills programme enables the learners to perform basic first aid and implement primary health care and frail care 

5 Weeks theoretical training at a POPUP centre, 
Monday to Friday from 08:00 – 15:00 
12 Weeks practical training at a clinic 
(Night/Day Duty – Weekdays/Holidays/Weekends) 

Hospitality Services

The Hospitality skills programme provides the learner with the skills needed to become an assistant chef and a food server assistant. These skills will empower the learner to work in any restaurant establishment, or even to start their own catering company/restaurant. 

REQUIREMENT: Minimum of NQF Level 2 literacy and numeracy 
16 weeks (Including Work Integrated Learning) 

Early Childhood Development

The ECD qualification will enable recipients to facilitate the all-round development of young children in a manner that is sensitive to cultural and individual needs (including special needs), and enable them to provide quality early childhood development services for children in a variety of contexts, including community-based services, ECD centres, at home and in institutions 

REQUIREMENT: English Communication and Mathematical Literacy at NQF Level 3 

Workshops of one week (5 days) per month, with compulsory attendance per programme. Practical experience at an ECD centre under supervision of a qualified (level 4 or higher) ECD practitioner as mentor 

Computer & Office Admin

The Computer and Office Administration skills programme provides learners with the skills required to be involved in the administration function in any organisation or business 

REQUIREMENT: Meeting minimum literacy requirements 
PROGRAMME DURATION 11 Weeks theoretical training at a POPUP centre,  

Monday to Friday 08:00 -15:00 
1 – 3 Weeks practical training in the business environment 

Adult Education Training

The AET skills programme is the foundation training for all learners who do not meet the minimum requirements for the accredited skills programmes of their choice and to ensure that they are ready for any skills programme. In addition, learners that already qualify to do a skills programme may also utilise the AET programme to improve their English and Mathematics while 
waiting for placement in another skills programme. 


REQUIREMENT: Meeting minimum literacy requirements 
PROGRAMME DURATION3 Months, Monday to Friday 08:00 – 15:00 

Quality Staff

POPUP also offers its skills training to corporate clients that want to up-skill their employees.

We provide training solutions such as Adult Education and Training, Occupational Health and Safety, Life skills, Workplace Readiness and a variety of soft skills to suit the requirements of the corporate environment.

Learnerships & Host Employment

Your company can get involved in furthering the practical skills of our POPUP learners.

Essentially the learner would work within your workplace environment at no cost to your organisation besides the workspace and equipment required to complete day to day tasks, while they gain useful work experience.

Enterprise Development

We train new entrepreneurs in developing their own businesses through an Enterprise Development programme that includes both theoretical & practical training. Many of our skills programmes have an entrepreneurial focus.

You can obtain the full benefit of claiming points for ED through:

Capital outlay

Supporting entrepreneurs in training and mentorship

Involving entrepreneurs as suppliers of your business

Preferential rates and supply chain support

Tax Benefits

98% of the beneficiaries are designated groups.

Claim your financial or “donation in kind” contribution as a deduction on your income tax. 

POPUP provides a Tax Certificate to you.

B-BEEE Scoring

POPUP is a B-BEEE level 1 contributor and is a value-adding organisation.

Benefits include an additional 15 points on your B-BBEE scorecard.

POPUP is a credible and accountable organisation with good corporate governance systems.

POPUP is aligned with the National Development Plan (NDP).

Obtain maximum SED, ESD and Skills Development points for your B-BBEE scorecard.

POPUP will be able to present skills training to your lower level employees at your company premises at times and intervals suitable to your needs.  Our Personal Growth and Life Skills Programme, AET (previously ABET) and Basic Computer Training will develop and empower your staff as part of your annual Skills Plan. Obtain B-BBEE scorecard and tax benefits for Skills Development and claim your contribution back from the Skills Fund.  POPUP will measure the outcome and ensure ROI to you as a company.


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