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Theory of Change

Our theory of change suggests that inclusive, quality education should include fostering the socio-emotional development of children living in poverty.

Theory of Change – click image to enlarge

Our programmes are geared towards providing such children access to information and tools, not only to perform better academically, but also to prepare them for personal long-term success and to become agents of change in their communities.

South Africa’s education system continues to be highly unequal. Research shows that children in well-resourced communities achieve better learning outcomes[1]. Conversely, children growing up in, and attending schools and pre-schools in poor communities remain disadvantaged. Because of the historic unequal distribution of resources, they are more likely to drop out of school as a result of early adversity they might have experienced, trauma, poverty and the lack of social-emotional learning.     

“We were ticking the register when a teacher said, “Funny that these young people don’t miss school on Wednesdays. How do you guys do it?”. “I said I guessed they love what we do, knowing that there’s more to it than just that. “

Community musician

Whilst schools are often the only temporary reprieve and escape from these situations for learners, teachers and school managements are not adequately prepared to deal with the psycho-social needs of learners. The Departments of Social Development and Education do not have adequate resources to offer intensive, long-term counselling and therapeutic support. For example, in the Western Cape the ratio of Social worker and Psychologist is 1:30 000 children who needs trauma counselling[2].

We know that in order for children to reach their full potential and to become contributing members of society, it is imperative that they have access to safe, supportive spaces where they can build resilience and acquire personal and social skills that will help them to survive amidst adversity. 

Our belief is that any child despite their socio-economic background is able to develop the social and emotional skills required to become confident, healthy and resilient adults one day – if they are given the necessary care and love now.

[1] Afterschool Programmes in South Africa. The Investment Case. A report by the Learning Trust. Joy Olivier. April 2021.

[2] Online article by Tanya Petersen.