SASA services fall into two programmes: Advocacy and Development. Each programme manages several projects. Since 2018 the projects have recorded 18,450 beneficiaries assisted.

Advocacy Programme

Advocacy runs from the SASA offices in Cape Town and Pretoria, where clients are consulted on a one-on-one basis. SASA also engages in different forms of higher-level advocacy efforts. 

The Advocacy Programme aims to support on average 1900 beneficiaries per year to find their own voice and improve conditions of living in South Africa. SASA supports beneficiaries through workshops, community events, engagement with government officials, individual consultations and in the process of translation and interpretation. SASA facilitates the community to work towards solving problems by providing information on accessing documentation, healthcare, education and legal services in South Africa.

  • Accompaniment to hospitals, clinics, the South African Police Service (SAPS), South African Social Service Agency (SASSA), and provincial Departments of Education.
  • Facilitating referrals to other NGOs such as the Scalabrini Centre in Cape Town and Lawyers for Human Rights, MSF, Future Families and Jesuit Refugee Services in Pretoria.
  • Assistance with interpretation and translation
  • Assistance with online applications such as school enrolment or online documentation services.
  • Facilitating civic education and participation, using social media, awareness at the masjid and individual consultations. 
  • Broadcasting local government opportunities, meetings and events to beneficiaries and sharing information on responsibilities, rights and navigating government processes and platforms.  
  • Facilitating community dialogue forums and interactions between cultural leaders and local counsellors and government officials.

Designing and implementing campaigns that seek to lessen xenophobia in South Africa – for example, the Henosis Campaign and Movement Building with the South African Refugee Led Network.

The Advocacy Programme engages in higher-level advocacy work to improve the lives of wider groups of people living in South Africa. This includes strategic litigation on matters that pertain to the Somali community and wider refugee population in South Africa. Such litigation includes:


  • Somali Association of South Africa and Others v Limpopo Department of Economic Development Environment and Tourism and Others (2014). This case had a country-wide impact on refugees’ and asylum-seekers’ ability to run businesses in South Africa. The court confirmed that refugees and asylum-seekers were able to apply for licences to trade in spaza and tuck-shops, and that a blanket prohibition against self-employment is unlawful. Read the judgement here.


  • Somali Association of South Africa and Others v The Refugee Appeal Board and Others (2019). This case, which was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 2021, overturned the decision of the Refugee Appeal Board to reject several Somali asylum-seeker’s applications following a rejection on their asylum claim by the Refugee Status Determination Officer. The High Court in Gauteng found the Refugee Appeal Board’s decision incorrect and, based on their reasons for fleeing Somalia, found them to fulfil the definition of a refugee. The Supreme Court upheld this. Read the High Court judgement here, and the Supreme Court judgement here.


  • Somali Association for South Africa, Eastern Cape (SASA) EC and Another v Minister of Home Affairs and Others (2012). This case resulted in the re-opening of the Refugee Reception Office in Port Elizabeth (now Gqeberha). Read the judgement here.


SASA has also been involved as appellants in several litigation cases, including the case in which the Department of Home Affairs was ordered to re-open the Refugee Reception Office in Cape Town.

Development Programmes

The Development Programme at SASA aims to upskill the refugee and migrant community, encouraging self-reliance and better integration into South African economic and social life. SASA considers education as the key for change.

English Classes
The adult English classes assist 540 people per year who are refugees or asylum-seekers to write, read and speak English. These courses run for a period of three months per level.

Computer Classes for Adults
The computer courses assist 150 clients per year to learn basic computer literacy, which includes Microsoft Office tools, internet and emailing, CV writing and how to effectively search online for subjects such as job opportunities, marketing or rental housing The duration of the training is 48 hours per course.

SASA considers youth as critical in the building of inclusive and integrated generations. The project aims to assist 550 refugee, migrant and South African youth per year to improve their academic performance and to participate in sports/recreation activities to promote social cohesion and integration within the local community, whilst combatting gangsterism, substance abuse and school drop outs. The project empowers the youth to transform their talents, passion and to drive in to career ready skills.

School Bridging, After-School and Sports Project

  • The after-school project aims to assist 350 refugee and migrant students with their homework in a supportive environment. This takes place after school hours, and assists students from Grade 2 to Grade 12. 
  • The school bridging project assist children who are not registered into public schools to continue learning while a place in a public school is secured.
  • The sports project offers recreational activities to youth.

Youth Workshops

  • The Youth Workshops include multi-nationality peer-to-peer trainings ensuring young people are active, integrated and confident, and receive career guidance for high school students.
  • The Workshops enables learners to engage in smaller groups and build a relationship with a caring adult.
  • The Workshops create opportunities for learners to expand their experiences and closes the gap between the resourced and under-resourced youth.

Computer Courses for Youth

  • The computer courses assist 50 youth per year to learn basic computer literacy, which includes Microsoft Office tools, internet and emailing, CV writing and how to effectively search online for subjects such as job opportunities, internships or scholarships. The duration of the training is 48 hours per course.
  • The computer course creates opportunities for the youth to dream and nurture their passions
  • The course helps improve academic and other learner outcomes

The Women’s Project focuses on deepening life-skills and promoting self-reliance, encouraging women to be empowered, strengthened and independent. SASA facilitates workshops and courses in:

Skills Development Project

  • The skills development activities are practical skills for 60 women on average per year through: sewing and baking
  • The aim of the skills development is to empower and promote acquisition of skills that cheers financial independence for women
  • The skills development activities are aimed at developing strategies to provide for learnerships to support women

Women and self-reliance workshops

  • The workshops aim to increase access to rights for 709 women on average per year regarding health, education and security
  • The workshops promote personal development through parenting, counselling and women’s health courses
  • The workshops supports women break down barriers, achieve their goals and have a say
  • Women’s workshops empower women with business skills to improve self-confidence and self-discovery

The Women’s projects run at SASA’s Cape Town office and its Pretoria office except the skills development (sewing and baking) that takes place in Cape Town office only.

Accessing the Women’s project: In Cape Town and Pretoria, applications need to be made by clients through the reception.

How can I access these programmes?

The Advocacy team consults with clients from Monday to Friday. Appointments need to be made through the Reception or by walk-in or phoning. The Development Programmes can be attended by making an application through SASA reception.

To make an appointment in Cape Town, please call 021 917 1273. In Pretoria, please call 012 306 8034.

You can also e-mail