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About Us

Creating a better future together

The Kolping Society’s core purpose is to empower and support people in their holistic development, spiritual growth and service to others. We have a rich history of 165 years of serving marginalised and underprivileged communities in Europe, Africa and South America. Our mission is to serve the needs of our members and society as a whole, as a non-political association in accordance with the teachings of Father Adolph Kolping.

The work of the Kolping Society of South Africa

The Kolping Society South Africa consists of member and local groups called ‘Families’, which are founded at parish level of the Church. It is through these families and the individual members who belong to them that we promote the general welfare of the communities in which they live as well as society at large. Kolping Families work with volunteers, other pious groups and social institutions to address the problems in their communities. Families are encouraged to start Self-help Groups in the form of cooperatives that support and develop the communities around and, in so doing, become active participants in the development process. Self-help Groups also network with outside agencies to initiate developmental activities and mobilise local resources and cooperation for assistance. In support of our Families and their communities, we offer the Work Opportunity Programme or WOP as it is also known. This intense training programme embodies our operational ethos of self-reliance and helping people to help themselves. The programme consists of life and vocational skills training with the objective to get individuals employed. Kolping also offers training services at two dedicated centres.

Our key objectives include the following principles:

  • Promoting the common good in a Christian spirit through the active participation of our individual members and the Kolping Families they belong to.
  • To continuously participate in the renewal and humanisation of society.
  • Promoting justice at all levels for all people, which include human rights, gender equality, cultural diversity, children’s rights, and the rights of all marginalised groups.
  • Acknowledging that each person is created in the image of God and therefore needs to be treated with dignity and respect.

History of Kolping Society

A Catholic priest called Adolph Kolping started Kolping Society in Germany during the Industrial Revolution. Work was scarce as people were being replaced by machines. During this time, more people flocked to the cities hoping to find work, but instead found themselves in poor living conditions and away from their families. Father Kolping had a concern for these people and in response to this he set up a home where they could be sheltered, learn new skills, find ways to support their families and live their faith. This was the start of the international Kolping Society 165 years ago. Father Kolping’s work was a response to the needs of the time in which he lived and we too are called now to respond to the needs of our time and to bring about social change.

Organisational Information

Kolping South Africa was started in 1952 by a group of German immigrants who came to settle in Johannesburg. The society has since spread across the country and we are a registered Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that it is not for profit. We are affiliated to the International Kolping Society with its head office in Cologne in Germany. Kolping South Africa is led by a National Board of Directors, in accordance with the objectives of its programmes and its national constitution. Registration No. 90/06757/08. NPO No. 029-807.


Kolping Community