Working together towards informed, healthy and thriving communities.
Our mission is to practice and promote responsible citizenship in the South African context through health, education and social entrepreneurship initiatives.
We create a supportive space for experiential learning and teaching, addressing inequality through innovative and sustainable approaches to community engagement.
SHAWCO was started in July 1943 by Andrew Kinnear, a University of Cape Town (UCT) medical student, who spent the vacation driving an ambulance to earn money to pay for his medical training. He was appalled by the poverty, lack of hygiene and lack of medical facilities in areas like Kensington and Elsies River, and became determined to do something about it.
Andrew Kinnear asked Dr Golda Selzer of the Pathology Department at Groote Schuur Hospital, to assist him in establishing a clinic. Dr Selzer became one of the cofounders of SHAWCO and remained SHAWCO’s honorary life president until her death in 1999.
What started out as a one-man initiative has now grown into one of the largest student volunteer driven organisations on the African continent; attracting hundreds of UCT and foreign students on an annual basis. SHAWCO's sectors now include health clinics; education/academic interventions and various social entrepreneurship initiatives.
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