Children of the Dawn was set up – by concerned individuals – to support and strengthen existing or budding community initiatives which focus on caring for HIV/AIDS orphans. Based on a sponsorship programme, Children of the Dawn’s goal is to give back a future to these affected children.

An association of persons was set up in May 2002 with as a main objective “to provide basic means of survival – such as food and schooling – and support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children”, and as a secondary objective “to engage with community-based organisations that will act as facilitators between Children of the Dawn and Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs)”. Children of the Dawn was officially registered as a Non-Profit Organisation by the South African Department of Social Development on the 19th of September 2002.

A pilot-project was started in September 2002 in the rural community of Mathabatha in the Limpopo Province. Ten children were sponsored by 10 individual South African sponsors via a partnership with a community-based organisation called Fanang Diatla Self Help Centre. The first six months of the pilot project proved very successful with all children going back to school and being fed and cared for on a regular basis.

In April 2003, after careful analysis of the pilot-project, Children of the Dawn started its expansion.