Born in Africa stimulates social and educational development in children, striving to create economically self-sustainable adults

Born in Africa stimulates social and educational
development in children, striving to create economically
self-sustainable adults

Meet our team in South Africa

Our BIA team in South Africa consists of 9 employees. The daily work of BIA is in the hands of three coordinators- general, academic and education. Our individual social support is provided by 6 mentors. There are also 3 trained assistants (2 of them also mentors) working in the schools assisting the teachers, particularly with reading classes.
We are also supported by our board of directors, both in South Africa and Belgium.

Meet our board members: in South Africa who comprise of a dynamic group of individuals all dedicated to offer advice and guidance in order to take our organization to a level of excellence. 

Remi De Backer (Chairman), Fred Arijs (financial director & co-founder BIA in SA), Isabelle Brink (General Coordinator & co-founder), Janet Harding (vice Chairman), Reinard Schydlo (PR, liaison for Germany), Ruby Chetty (advisor), Toralf Nordbotten (PR, liaison for Norway), Adje Bos (PR).

We would also like to make mention of Sofie Wieërs and Stijn Ingelaere, co-founders of Born in Africa.

  • Isabelle De Smul-Brink

    General Coordinator

    Isabelle is our general coordinator and she is in charge of various facets of business administration. She also communicates with godparents. Her other duties include writing the newsletter, fielding requests for potential sponsors and general public relations with Belgium. In addition, she also acts as a guide for tourists, visitors and BIA godparents. As general coordinator, she keeps a watchful eye on all the projects and consults with BIA Belgium.


  • Belinda Coram

    Academic Coordinator

    Belinda works with the Tertiary Education Project- completing applications, as well as monitoring the academic results and the social wellbeing of students. She does career guidance for the Grade 9-12 pupils and mentors our tertiary and Wittedrift students.   She is also responsible for PR in South Africa.


  • Marita Manuel

    Kranshoek – Mentor & HWC facilitator Gr 5

    Marita runs our HWC at Kranshoek Primary and mentors children in Kranshoek. 

  • Catherine Schoeman

    Mentor Crags HWC facilitator Gr 6

    Catherine runs the Crags Primary HWC and mentors children from the Crags.

  • Sarija Bewee

    Mentor in Plett Sec, Harkerville, Wittedrift

    Sarija mentors children from Plett Secondary school, Harkerville Primary and Wittedrift Primary. 

  • Judy Mintoor

    Teacher assistant Wittedrift Grade 1

    Judy assists the Gr 1 teacher at Wittedrift Primary school. 

  • Chandre Plaatjies

    Gr 1 Class Assistant

    Chandre who is a BIA tertiary student completing her practical training in the Educare field is assisting the Grade 1 classteacher. She works at the Crags Primary school from a Monday to a Friday. 

  • Marinda Arendse

    Assistant teacher

    Marinda Arendse is a 34 year old woman who is an assistant teacher in grades 1, 2 and 3 at Harkerville Primary. She went to this school herself and now her children, a boy and a girl, go to this school as well.

  • Gwyneth Manuel

    Assistant teacher

    Gwyneth is also an assistant teacher at Harkerville Primary in grades 5, 6 and 7. She has one boy who also goes to this school, just like his mom when she was little.

  • Veronique Claes

    Veronique supports the volunteers and the projects at different schools.

  • Remi De Backer

    Chairman BIA South Africa

    Remi De Backer is the chairman of BIA South Africa. Remi and his wife Lieve are both godparents and spend 5 months in South Africa and 7 months in Belgium every year. He acts as an advisor and both help with fundraising and PR.

  • Janet Harding

    Vice Chairman

    Janet Harding is vice chairman of BIA South Africa. She regularly attends staff meetings, acts as an advisor and helps with networking locally. Janet is a succesful business woman.

  • Ruby Chetty

    Board Member

    Ruby is a board member of BIA South Africa. She is not only a local business woman, but also our link with the local Rotary club and she assists with the BIA - Rotary interact club.

  • Toralf Nordbotten

    Board Member

    Toralf and Reidun Nordbotten are BIA godparents from Norway and SA board members. They spend the summer months in South Africa volunteering for BIA and the remainder of the year Toralf is actively involved in fundraising for BIA in Norway.

  • Reinhard Schydlo

    Board Member

    Reinhard Schydlo is a boardmember of BIA South Africa who helps with fundraising in Germany. Reinhard and his wife Doris are both godparents and help with PR.

  • Adje Bos

    Board Member

    Adje Bos is a board member of BIA South Africa who assists with networking and helps to nurture the relationship between the Siya Phambili group and BIA.

  • David Pickering

    Board Member

    David is our new board member who is living in Plett and has been involved with community work for years. He will fill an advising roll for BIA.