Thanda Scrubs Article

I had the opportunity and privilege to write an article for an amazing non profit business here in Cape Town, South Africa called Thanda Scrubs.

They make medical scrubs with South African fabric, pay their employees nearly 4x the average factory worker wage and disciple their worker in life skills!

This story, sharing how the business was started and the heart behind it, will be used for their media. They will have a table at the 2013 Christian Medical and Dental Association conference in North Carolina in May.

Please take a moment to read it, and if you know anyone in the medical field, please pass it along.

I love being able to use my journalism skills to help organizations like this.



Thanda Scrubs was birthed out of a desire to combine love with action.

In 2011, Isaac and Deby Aho spent three months volunteering in Cape Town, South Africa before they said God told them to sell everything, pack up their family of six and move to Masipumelele, a township in the southern suburbs of Cape Town.

In coming to South Africa, they researched and heard about the massive crime, the extensive alcohol and drug abuse, prostitution and unemployment. But no statistic could prepare them for the devastation they witnessed within the friendships they developed: Babies dumped, children crushed to death from collapsed houses, parental grief, stabbings, hungry stomachs, prostitution to feed drug addictions and so much more.

Their continual plea was for God to heal, restore and deliver.

“These were our real friends,” Deby said. “We really walked with parents who grieved the loss of their children crushed in a shack, we really had friends who did sexual favors to feed their babies. They were not just statistics to us.”

While many volunteers come in to the township and deal with the effects of poverty and social injustice, Deby and Issac wanted to see social empowerment projects that prevent the injustices as well as see people trained to sustainable living.

“The reason people baby dump or prostitute themselves or live in hopelessness is lack of work,” Deby said. “They are choosing to make bad choices because of the poverty they live in.”

Love moved the Ahos to action. They could no longer walk the streets of Masi and do nothing.

“We saw so much opportunity,” Deby said. “We didn’t have a quick solution, but we had an idea.”

Privilege: Education. Hope. Opportunity. What are the building blocks to our society in the West, was lacking in the lives of their friends. From those ideals came Thanda Scrubs.

Thanda Scrubs teaches advanced sewing and life skills to underprivileged people so they can put food on their tables and provide for their family, all the while providing excellent medical uniforms for the medical field around the world.

Thanda Scrubs not only provides work, but disciples and deals with the mindset of poverty at the same time. They do not just offer a job, but an opportunity; the beginning of hope.

“Our vision is not about this product, although it’s an excellent product, it’s about the people,” Deby said. “If we try to raise up a product it will fail, but if we raise up the people it will succeed and it will multiple.”

Six people are currently employed, one man and five women. Many people from the township work 12-hour days and make just R8 an hour. Their workers are paid per item and when they sew a full scrub they are paid R150, nearly four times the average wage of a factory worker.

The fabric used for the medical scrubs are not imported but made in South Africa, which limits the selection.

“Most fabric shops have shut down in South Africa because they have been taken over by China fabric shops,” Deby. said. “It makes it hard, but it’s called compromise and we will not compromise.”

Deby and Isaac believe Africa holds the key to unlocking the social injustice issues and solving their own poverty issues. They believe fair paid job opportunities, along with discipleship will help make a difference.

“It’s time for Africans to tell Africa’s story,” Deby said. “The end goal is to see Africa raised up and solving their own problems.”