U matter creates positive experiences to build self-esteem, inspire dreams and ignite possibilities among burn survivors. Using storytelling as a tool to help families heal.
U matter ensures that no burns survivor in South Africa should ever have to recover alone. U matter is designed to bring affected communities together for their common good by embracing uniqueness, cultivating dignity and empowering them by building bridges and connecting people to resources. U matter models a lifestyle of courage and hope to South Africans and the world.
The trauma of burns injuries can leave families feeling helpless and alone. The first few days after a burns trauma is usually a rollercoaster of emotions and worry before reality sinks in. U matter is a parent and peer support group for burn survivors in South Africa. In our holistic approach so many people matter in the burns journey U matter, siblings matter, families matter, friends matter and communities matter.
- Because there is a gap in South Africa for support services
- Because this job count
- Because the kids of South Africa matter
- Because the affected families of South Africa need us
- Because we love helping others
- Because we are healthy and alive and we want to make SA smile
- .Because it’s worth it.
- Because life is beautiful.
Meet the Team
The U matter support team is empowered by Clinical Psychologist Itumeleng Khutlang as well as Trauma Councillor and U matter Coordinator Kereeditswe Mankaye. Our very own Tebogo Tsotetsi has an inspirational story of courage and hope in the face of adversity. Helena Cullis is the Programme Manager for Smile Foundation who manages this dynamic team.
Itumeleng is a registered clinical psychologist based in Johannesburg. She completed her undergraduate and honours degree through the Midrand Graduate Institute and went on to complete her master’s degree in clinical psychology at the University of Pretoria. She has a particular interest in working with children and adults with various psycho-emotional difficulties.
She has worked for U matter for almost a year and continues to contribute to the growth of the organisation. She also works for the Department of Health, specifically at Helen Joseph Hospital where her main professional input is with adults who have been diagnosed with various forms of psychopathology. She is warm, kind and holds the idea of patient care as a core aspect in her professional capacity.
Trauma Councillor & U matter Coordinator
Kereeditswe is a Registered Counsellor who received her Bachelor of Psychology at the Pearson Institute of Higher Education and is registered as a private practice counsellor with the HPCSA . The U matter project is a special project to Kereeditswe as she found that there were no support groups in South Africa for traumatic burn injury survivors and wanted to offer a solution. She has learned that it is important to treat the entire family as a patient. A burn injury affects everyone in the family and changes family dynamics. It is important to provide a platform for survivors and family members to have a space where they are be to freely speak their mind and ask personal questions they are too scared to ask family members. U matter provides a safe space for healing to take place through storytelling and that is a cause she can support.
Lead Support Mom
On 18 July 2014 Tebogo’s life changed forever. On her family’s return from a church concert late on a cold winter’s night they turned on a heater in her children’s bedroom to warm it up before going to bed. Five minutes later when they returned to switch off the heater the room was in flames. The youngest of her sons, Kutlwano passed away from smoke inhalation and her eldest Molemo has endured so many surgeries she has lost count, she thinks it’s over 14 surgeries. Tebogo wants to give back to all South African burn survivors by supporting them on their journey to healing and recovery. Tebogo has a Diploma in neuro Linguistic Programming as well as Life Coaching. She is currently working as an Employee Wellness Coordinator in Gauteng.
Feel free to contact Tebogo directly on 074 403 0231
Co-Founder of a South African cleft lip and palate parent support group called Cleft Friends, Heléna has branched out to help more families in need through U matter a parent and peer support group for burn survivors. Currently U matter has affected the lives of just over 100 parents and children affected by burns injuries through one-on-one parent and peer support platform as well as Psychological care. In 2005 Heléna graduated from Nelson Mandela University with a Bachelors Degree in Media, Culture and Communication. This qualification has served her well as she continues bring hope in the lives of those who need it most.
2016: Business Women’s Association (BWA) Regional Business Achievers Award (RBAA) 2016, Social Entrepreneur Category – Finalist
2013: The Herald GM Citizen of the Year – Finalist
2012: Algoa Bay Rotary Club’s “Paul Harris” award