“Every act of kindness, no matter how small, has the power to create positive change and uplift communities.”

Charlene Boitumelo Maila


Health & Wellness

Organisation / Company

First Lady Foundation


Growing up in a poor rural community that was “filled with the spirit of generosity and resilience” motivated Charlene Boitumelo Maila, 33, to create a better world; one in which everyone has a chance to thrive, and to have the opportunities she once dreamt of. She leads or works for several groups that uplift women and children, poor people and mentally challenged people, including Africa Girls and Women’s Rights, Mental Health SMEs, End GBVF and Afrikan Young Indigenous Leaders. She’s a professional nurse, who has worked for many years in government hospitals that lack resources, which meant that she and her team have learnt how to improvise to ensure that patient care is not compromised. Other obstacles that she faces include high patient-to-nurse ratios and bureaucratic hurdles, but she speaks out for her patients so that their needs are heard and met. Charlene says the youth are at the forefront of advocating for human rights, inclusivity and gender equality. She is excited by the future of healthcare, because empowerment initiatives use technology and social media to create empowered and informed individuals, and believes mental health services will become as accessible as those for physical healthcare.


Diploma in Nursing Science and Art, Mpumalanga College of Nursing
Nurse Initiated Management of Antiretroviral Therapy and Hast (HIV/AIDS and STI counselling and testing), Right To Care
Studying towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Occupational Health Nursing, University of Johannesburg


We provide school uniforms, sanitary items and toiletries, non-perishable food, and donate books to schools. This is an ongoing programme. We have collected 100 000 books to build a community library for Moremela and surrounding areas. We recently built a grade R classroom for a school in Leroro, from corrugated iron. The classroom will be handed over on Mandela Day, and at the same time there will be a sanitary drive. We have also donated 100 Lantern solar lights in partnership with Panasonic to the rural community near Pilgrim’s Rest.


My sister has been my mentor, providing me with support continuously. She has always believed in me and been my pillar through various challenges. She handles much of the administrative work for our foundation. Her dedication and encouragement have been crucial to our efforts and success.