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Phelophepa is a health train in South Africa, supported by the Canon Collins Trust and driven by Transnet of South Africa to help the rural people of South Africa get in touch with much needed health care.

Psychology students outside train

Phelophepa aspire to deliver an affordable, accessible, modile health care service that supplements or supports existing facilities in the rural communities of South Africa.

The Psychology Clinic on board Phelophepa aims to bring psychology to communities who have little access to psychological services.  The clinic does this through facilitation of workshops aimed at psycho-education and skills development and one-on-one solution-focused counselling sessions.  In addition, the psychology clinic offers support to the other clinics on the train in respect of health care so as to approach primary health care from a holistic, well-being point of view.  In order to achieve this, the following students are required to staff the train:

  • Postgraduate students, preferably Masters degree level in Psychology
  • Students with a passion for community work
  • Students who are creative and flexible and have the ability to convert theory into practically accessible material

School children

A mutual understanding exists between The Transnet Foundation and various universities involved whereby students are exempted from their studies or internships for a period of two weeks to render their services to the Psychology Clinic on board Phelophepa. Ms Alida Sandison from our Department is currently the National Coordinator of students for this purpose. NMMU supplied approximately 45 students over the 2006/2007 period.

The Resident Psychologist and students on board are primarily involved in community psychology and in developing appropriate workshops for groups within the community served by the train, with specific emphasis on meeting the needs of mothers, youth, children, community leaders, etc.

Students are exposed in terms of:

  • interaction with individuals from different culture groups, languages and belief systems
  • practical experience and knowledge in the development and facilitation of workshops
  • practical application of the theory of community psychology such as empowerment, evaluation, liaison, identification of resources, etc.
  • experience of one-on-one intervention sessions with community members
  • interaction with other practitioners in the health professions on the train which ensures a more holictic approach when dealing with clients

Students interested in Phelophepa can contact Ms Sandison.



Contact information
Ms Alida Sandison
Tel: 27 41 504 4522