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Empowering Communities Together

Communities Assist is an NGO that works with local partners and experts from Australia and abroad to teach and facilitate sustainable practice within local communities in Africa. Our mission is to be the seed of change in alleviating poverty and inequality.

Our Story

In 2006, Communities Assist founder John O’ Reilly arrived at a cramped and rundown orphanage in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. 68 children, aged from two months to 19 years were living with minimal food and running water in unsanitary conditions having been orphaned by AIDS or abandoned as a result of poverty.

John took immediate action to ensure the children had adequate shelter, care and education, completing the building of a kitchen and bathrooms, whilst renting and furnishing an additional house in the nearest town so 30 of the children could be enrolled at the local school. Inspired and motivated to create a better future for all children living in similar conditions, John founded Communities Assist, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to creating and nurturing sustainable, positive communities.

John's vision for change began to permeate into social responsibility circles back in Australia which introduced our director and resident architect Mari Pizzinga who was committed to deinstitutionalise the concept of an orphanage and design ecologically sustainable housing for the vulnerable and their communities.

The aim was also to break the poverty cycle by breaking down pre existing norms relating to caring for orphaned and vulnerable children to create a sustainable change. We believed that encouraging local community to adopt sustainable methods of living was the answer to creating a sustainable model.
With the vision to create self-sustaining communities Greg Knibbs joined the team as Australia’s top permaculture specialist to establish a demonstration site in Tanzania that we now call Rainbow Ridge.


Since then, we have a trained a young group of locals - Our Green Team - into budding permaculturalists. They have transformed Rainbow Ridge from nothing into a demonstration site of food abundance and from which they now join our expert teachers in training locals and international students in permaculture and sustainable ways of living.


This has been a game changer for all those wanting to transform their lives from the ground up - literally. It provides an excellent example of how breaking the cycle of scarcity and poverty need not be complex.


The Communities Assist team is now based between Australia and Tanzania, driving constant change at our sustainable demonstration site at Rainbow Ridge. This is also a place where our CA Kids can call home. Through persistence, collaboration and cultural preservation our story shows that through community empowerment, real global sustainability is an achievable reality.

Our Mission

Our Communities Assist family is dedicated to transforming lives and communities in need

We work with local partners and experts from Australia and abroad to teach and facilitate sustainable practice within local communities. Through working and collaborating with local communities in Africa we hope to be the seed to change in alleviating the effects of poverty and the AIDS epidemic.

Making Our Vision a Reality
At Communities Assist we raise funds to bring projects to life that:

Provide community education and training in sustainable technologies, such as permaculture design.


Create sustainable and productive living environments that maintain and restore ecosystems and communities while reducing poverty and ensuring food security, clean water and healthy soil.


Provide infrastructure, equipment and other items necessary for the development of education centers, pilot facilities and demonstration sites for the teaching and application of sustainable and development practices.


Design, tech and encourage community participating in cooperative programs to develop culturally appropriate, productive and sustainable environments to ensure communities can provide for their own needs now and in the future.


Provide education and create awareness within the community, through workshops and other community programs, on legal and human rights issues.


Volunteer Directed/Managed




Donation to Project


Donation to Admin

Our Team

Meet the dedicated individuals driving our mission forward

Australian Board and Founder Members

John O'Reilly
Frank Hardiman
Stephen O'Reilly
Mari Pizzinga
Architect/Building/General management
Mario Cuenca
Mike Crowley

Tanzania Board Members

pastor godwin.png
Pastor Godwin
Executive Director/Chairperson
Priscilla Godwin Shuma
Executive Director/Secretary

Our Partners

Better Together


How can I help?

There are many ways you can help Communities Assist. You can make a donation, Volunteer your time, or spread awareness about our cause on social media.

what is our mission?

Communities Assist mission is to alleviate the effects of poverty and promote sustainable development in African communities through education, empowerment, and collaboration.

How can organizations support?

Organizations can support by partnering with us, sponsoring projects, or providing resources and expertise to help implement sustainable practices.

How can individuals help?

Individuals can support Communities Assist by making a donation, volunteering, or participating in fundraising events to raise awareness and funds for our projects.


Make a Difference Today

Join us in creating change in African communities through volunteering, donations or partnerships

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