Justin Bend, Co-CEO: Programmes

“I’m passionate about livelihoods development, and am averse to the concept of charity or aid, because that is unsustainable and fundamentally disempowering. It goes against the very concept of development. I’ve always been interested in how people can use what’s around them to create an income for themselves.”

When Justin completed his schooling career, he pursued his passion in photography and had an opportunity to travel while doing some commercial photography. His scenic exposure to different countries – such as the United States, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Spain and Greece – led to Justin pursuing his BA, and BA Honours studies in Adventure Tourism from the University of Birmingham.

When Justin moved back to South Africa, he worked for an organisation called PondoCrop (Pondoland Community Resources Optimization Programme), which focused on poverty alleviation, enterprise development and livelihoods building. This move served to streamline what he initially saw his passion for adventure tourism to community development. It further snowballed Justin’s development work, such as in Cape Town-based organisation, CORC (Community Organisation Resource Centre), a few organisations back in the United Kingdom, and then to Siyazisiza Trust in 2015 where he was appointed as the Provincial Manager for Kwa-Zulu Natal.