Marilyn Bassin


My calling is to work with terminal children living in dire poverty

ABOUT Marilyn

Marilyn Bassin is a physiotherapist and the Founder of Boikanyo the Dion Herson Foundation. For over 20 years she has dignified the lives and deaths of forgotten children. First with AIDS babies in the 1990s and later with children profoundly affected Cerebral Palsy. Marilyn began a Muslim-Jewish Interfaith group project working with child inpatients at Baragwanath Hospital. She later relocated the NGO to a poverty-stricken area of Soweto where she continued demanding human rights for children who fell through the cracks. She soon became a trusted figure in this community doing her best to network and solve numerous issues. Marilyn's car is a familiar one in the informal settlements of Protea South. She has appeared in the Star Newspaper, Carte Blanche and on 3rd Degree for her work and activism. In 2017, Marilyn was nominated for the for the Absa Jewish Achievers - Jewish Woman in Leadership Award.


  • Children and Infants

  • Education

  • Food Security

  • Gifts of Kindness

Boikanyo is a registered charity working with impoverished children in Soweto, South Africa. Its vision is to nurture vulnerable and at-risk youth through school, with a view to them becoming contributing members of their family, community and society. This is achieved through poverty alleviation, through networking and partnering, and through enhancing the school curriculum by introducing programmes aimed at a hand up approach. Boikanyo's first project was a 1000m sq vegetable garden established at Sediba Thuto High Primary School in Mapetla Extension. Five years later the vegetable garden has been handed over to the community to run, a huge success. The project also afforded the foundation opportunities to interact with residents in the area, and insight into the multi-factorial challenges facing children and teenagers growing up in such dire poverty. The children (and caregivers) whom are assisted generally live in child/grandmother and sick mother headed households. Dire poverty, starvation, crime, abuse, sugar daddies and drugs are but some of the problems in the area. We run appeals and projects aimed at upskilling and uplifting these children. Our ''Have a Heart Campaign'' sees acts of random kindness directed towards families living in dire poverty. We collect donations, take children on outings, and fund initiatives under this umbrella In 2017 Boikanyo DHF began focusing on upskilling and uplifting the standard of education at two schools in the area: Sediba Thuto High Primary School and Mapetla High School. A third high school in the area who will join the program in September 2017.