Change in Action NPO Fair was ‘so positive to feel part of Durban as a collective’

Change in Action NPO Fair was ‘so positive to feel part of Durban as a collective’
Pictured cutting the ribbon at the opening of the Change In Action Fair, held at Gateway Theatre of Shopping on Friday 24 March 2023 are from left to right: Linda Morrison  We Are Durban, Meaghan Hourquebie Hollywood Foundation, Josh Redman Litterboom, Nishtha Sanichur, Gateway Theatre of Shopping Property Manager and Michelle Shelley Gateway Theatre of Shopping Marketing Manager

With different talents and strengths, every person in the city can play a role in improving people’s lives in Durban. This belief drives Linda Morrison, who started ‘We are Durban’ as a non-profit organisation (NPO) to support other NPOs in 2010.

Over the past weekend, Gateway Theatre of Shopping, in partnership with We are Durban and the Hollywood Foundation, hosted twenty NPOs at the first #Change in Action NPO Fair.  “We wanted to give organisations who do such valuable work in the city a platform to connect with volunteers and donors and to spread awareness about their work,” said Gateway Marketing Manager, Michelle Shelley.

The Hollywood Foundation stepped in to provide training and a branding kit for each organisation in the lead-up to the fair. “With their limited resources, we know that NPOs usually spend their funds and time on getting the work done, rather than on marketing themselves,” said Hollywood Foundation Operations Manager, Megan Hourquebie. “It was our privilege to host a marketing workshop and equip the NPOs with a branded pack to present themselves this weekend and at other opportunities.”

“It’s been a unique experience working with Gateway who have provided an unbelievable platform for the NPOs and with We are Durban which engages deeply with them over the longer term,” Hourquebie said.

The twenty organisations were chosen from over 100 who applied to be part of the #Change in Action programme. “It would have been great to include more NPOs, but we needed to keep it manageable for the space and the public,” said Morrison who oversaw the selection and vetting of the organisations.

“We included a range of NPOs that deliver services in the areas of health, family, environment, food security, economic empowerment and education. We wanted people coming to Gateway to be able to find an organisation that they could say: Wow! that’s where my heart lies.”

“Everyone’s got the possibility to change something in the world and these organisations, and the many more like them, are the hands and feet on the ground who bring about that #Change in Action,” said Morrison.

Representing the Atom Foundation which empowers candidates with the potential to excel in ICT and enables them to break into the corporate world, Project Manager, Makgabo Mthembu said: “I met so many different people over the three days – from corporates to IT students who are interested in our services. We signed up a new volunteer trainer and I’ve set up two meetings from the contacts made at the fair. The platform opened doors and was very positive.”

Riza Sadack, PR Officer for Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) based in Tongaat says that the Change in Action initiative helped to set this organisation up for future community outreach. “The marketing material we received, including the wall banner, table, tablecloth, slimline banners and t-shirts will give us a professional look at the community events we support. As a free first-response community service, our operation was new to a lot of people who were very interested in finding out more about how we operate.”

Josh Redman, National Operations Manager at The Litterboom Project which works to keep plastic out of the rivers and sea, said: “It was an awesome weekend that just whizzed by! We had so many good conversations with the right people without having to knock on doors. Most of our time is spent out in the field and you can feel isolated at times, so it was so encouraging to chat with people who appreciate what we’re doing and support us. It’s so positive to feel part of Durban as a collective.”

PeacePlayers SA’s Executive Director, Dr Alison Misselhorn,- said her sport-for-good organisation which promotes youth leadership for development and social cohesion, was thrilled by the opportunity to participate in the fair. “It provided an invaluable forum for connecting with others in the sector. We gained social media followers and met potential volunteers but as a static set-up, we missed the opportunity to draw people in with a more active way of interaction which is what we’re all about.”


Gateway Theatre of Shopping hosted the Change in Action NPO Fair in partnership with We Are Durban and the Hollywood Foundation. Held over the weekend from 24 – 26 March, the objectives of the initiative were to provide a platform for Durban NPOs to increase awareness of the services they offer and to connect with citizens interested in supporting them.