Social Responsibility

The Papillon Foundation


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Papillon History:

The Southern Suburbs of Johannesburg was of the first to be developed during the heady and exciting days of the Gold Rush in the early 1800’s. Once the home of Statesmen and Millionaires, these Suburbs have degenerated into vast decay, very similar today to areas such as the Bronx in America. From the farm of Turffontein, registered in 1859 pre-dating the discovery of gold, to the development of the Turffontein Race Course on a portion of the farm during the gold rush that saw the mining camp Johannesburg, explode with wealth and destitution alike; to the shame of the concentration camp that was home to 5000 women & children during the Anglo Boer War at the turn of the century.

From affluence to poverty, the South of Johannesburg has seen the tides of demographic change sweeping through its streets. Desperation has created very high crime figures, and alcohol and drugs complement hordes of prostitutes and beggars trying to eke out a living.

A vast influx of Economic Migrants, Foreigners, Refugees and Asylum Seekers add to the problem, and are now resident in the South – changing the complex situation into a veritable league of Nations. People in the Southern parts of Johannesburg have been subject to many changes in recent years, with a dramatic decrease in the economic viability of the area and a subsequent increase in the number of displaced, unemployed and destitute people.

Papillon was born into this fierce and hungry ambience, in January 2002, in order to aid in the economic and social rebirth of the area & to empower the communities to meet their own needs. Papillon is the French word for Butterfly, a universally accepted symbol of transformation and freedom.

Project Papillon is an independent non-denominational body, registered and directed by an Official Board of Members and assisted by a Network of Specialists in the areas of Research, Planning, Structuring and the Implementation of a Tapestry of Projects aimed at Societal Renewal and Transformation. The The Papillon Vision Statement of “Creating Better Tomorrows from the ashes of today” was established after a thorough Research was done into the immediate and long term empowerment needs of the Communities.

Wits University and others adopted the Papillon Foundation in Social Outreach Partnerships, and Papillon’s Courses are based on Accredited Courseware, but tailored to suit local circumstances and requirements. Papillon also assisted in opening Computer Training Centres in Soweto, Pretoria & Lenasia. The Trainers for Bushbuckridge and Kathlehong Centres are currently being trained.


The Papillon vision of “Creating better tomorrows from the ashes of today” was established after a thorough Research was done into the immediate and long term empowerment needs of the communities.

Self Sustainability:

The success of Papillon is largely due to the self-generation and sustainability of its social outreach projects. Independent Community ownership cultivates a break away from the handout mentality and lends itself to the restoration of dignity. All projects were researched and designed with community involvement, ownership and with replication in mind. All projects are backed by recognized institutions of the highest quality.


It is the Foundation’s strategic focus to expand its successful Computer training projects to all nine provinces. To this end Papillon, in its present form, will remain chiefly as a training hub to identify needs within various communities, screen prospective project implementers in their own communities, and then train them in the various aspects of Project Management. It is believed that with this model, people from the community will not only be able to help others by replicating Papillon’s Projects, but will also earn a modest salary whist doing so, resulting in their own self-sustainability.