A few words

About Us


Our story stems back to 1984 when the clothing manufacturing industry in Cape Town was drastically affected by cheap imports overtaking the market.

 As a teenage girl, Suraya was never interested in design and manufacturing a fashion label but had the flair of a fashionista, It was always a dream of her late mother who was a renowned dressmaker and CMT (cut, make and trim) in her local community that she follow in her mothers’ footsteps. But after her mother was retrenched in 1984 Suraya secretly scoffed at this idea as she believed it was a dying industry flooded with low-paid labourers destined for life of continued poverty and destitution.  Suraya wanted better for her own life and sewing was not what she associated with having or doing better.  She pursued a career in Corporate. It was only after the passing of her mother which was on her birth date, hence the name Design26 that Suraya discovered her true gift and talent. Suraya reincarnates a dream and hope to open the first skills centre with an inhouse manufacturing plant in Mitchell’s Plain.

Design26 Foundation was found in 2018 after Suraya dealt with young girls in matric, providing them with a custom-made matricball dress service.  She researched and identified the drastic social effects that the Mitchell’s Plain youth community faced and knew she had to do something to empower young women to become financially self-sustainable.  

As a whole country and community we need to realize that we are sitting with a huge school dropout problem, unemployment and poverty.   We need skills programs that streams dropouts and learners into where they may be more comfortable rather then being pushed into corporate or pursuing a bachelors pass, which isn’t for everyone.

Design26 Foundation encourages better use of workplace-based skills development
We seek to address the training of employed workers in order to improve productivity and the overall growth and development of our economy. Skills development is not just about training people for employment; it must also empower people to create opportunities to make a living for themselves.

Studies have found that early childbearing – particularly by teenagers and young women who have not completed school – has a significant impact on the education outcomes of both the mother and child, and is also associated with poorer child health and nutritional outcomes. For this reason is it important to delay childbearing, and to ensure that teenagers who do fall pregnant are appropriately supported. This includes ensuring that young mothers can complete their education, and that they have access to parenting support programs and health services. Although pregnancy is a major cause of school drop-out, some research has also suggested that teenage girls who are already falling behind at school are more likely to become pregnant than those who are progressing through school at the expected rate. Design26 Foundation’s efforts to provide skills support for girls who are not coping at school may also help to reduce teenage pregnancies.

Sometimes we’re forced into directions that we ought to have found for ourselves.  To serve people takes dignity and intelligence, but remember our past does not define who we are, what defines us is how well we rise after falling. “Bob Hoskins”


To empower people through skills development to create opportunities to make a living for themselves. 







To create a robust pipeline of highly skilled employees, entrepreneurs and suppliers for the manufacturing industry in Cape Town. 

Suraya Williams


Suraya is an award winning social entrepreneur.  She has 14 years experience in corporate, a diploma in Business Management, Facilitation, Assessor, Moderator, and 9 years experience running her own clothing manufacturing business.   Her passion for reviving the clothing manufacturing industry combined with  improving the lives of girls in her community led to the founding of Design26 Foundation.

Lee-anne Steyn


Lee-anne has extensive administrative experience.  Her willingness to take on a wide variety of tasks, tendency to observe and relationship building demonstrates her well roundedness necessary for our success.  Design26 Foundation leans towards strong women such as Lee-anne to make balanced decisions.  She has a passion for youth and community upliftment to eradicate social ills and poverty. 

Aneesah Rylands


Aneesah has 8 years tertiary education in early childhood development.  Her passion for women empowerment completes the “Why” of our organizations’ heart.  She believes in the development of every child and the potential of their young mothers once presented with skills development opportunities to become financially sustainable.

Aneesah has an effective personality, communicator and draws positivity. 

Sulyla Petersen


Sulyla is a peoples person. Her bubbly personality is what draws young women to form trusting relationships with.  Sulyla’s world of life experience coupled with her corporate background brings power and passion to her facilitation.  She believes that every women has different abilities and potential to bloom if given the opportunity to be financially independent. 

Gadija Sait


Gadija is a passionate educator that believes in connecting with people from all walks of life.  She is committed to making sure that everybody that enters her life, walks away positive and with the ability to make things happen for themselves.  Facilitation is in her blood she loves sharing and gaining knowledge to empower herself and other. 

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