Theory of Change

When a learner is able to understand why and manage how they think and feel,
then they are able to choose the way that they behave.

The communities where Community Keepers serves, are known to have some of the highest incidences of violent crimes, abuse and neglect – witnessing this, or experiencing it personally, leads to severe and prolonged trauma.  Resolving the trauma through formal, professional school-based therapeutic support and developmental services, results in a general increase in mental well-being and has a positive effect on a learner’s ability to effectively learn.

In the long term, good mental health becomes a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

Community Keepers offers individual therapy to learners from marginalised communities in South Africa.  When young people enroll for individual therapy (or are referred by educators or parents), an indicator of their fragility as human beings is the level of hopelessness expressed initially.

Through a process of professional guidance and a solutions based approach, clients are capacitated to manage the stresses of their environment and are neurologically enabled to access their higher brain functions where the capacity for learning is seated as opposed to functioning from within the primitive part of their brains which would handle life with the instinctive non-rational responses of fight, flight or freeze.

Handling trauma effectively is a pre-requisite to effectively learning, making education outcomes more productive. Having better education outcomes, in turn, leads to better future prospects, ultimately resulting in a client’s increased ability to make a productive contribution to his or her community.


“Breaking the cycle of trauma
is critical for the well-being of family and children,
and has a relevance to social justice,
because trauma  diminishes life opportunities  across generations and hinders social mobility.”

In 2019, 72% (67% IN 2018) OF LEARNERS
interviewed after therapy experienced a positive improvement in the problems they initially presented with and their general functioning

In 2019, 94% (90% in 2018) OF LEARNERS
who made use of the Community Keepers service indicated that they would recommend Community Keepers to someone else

In 2019, 79.75% (77% IN 2018 ) OF EDUCATORS
polled indicated observing an immediate positive behavioural and attitudinal change in learners after being seen by Community Keepers

These figures reflect the impact of our work in the year 2019 and the cumulative impact since Community Keepers launched in 2008.


Programme Outcomes

Support Keepers (therapeutic interventions)

A therapeutic intervention lasts for an average of 6 weekly sessions of 45 minutes, but can extend to a year or longer in some cases.

  • a safe space where learners can receive therapeutic support to reduce the negative impact of challenges
  • clients who are supported and assisted when reporting and following up on a statutory case
  • learners with the social and personal skills to deal with everyday life and make positive life choices
  • parents and educators with the knowledge and skills to fulfill their responsibilities to learners
Life Keepers (prevention, motivation, encouragement and enabling through group work)
  • learners with the knowledge and skills to make positive life choices
  • learners who realise their own potential
  • learners who can work productively and fruitfully
  • learners with greater resilience and who can cope with the normal stresses of life
  • learners who are able to make a contribution to the community
  • healthy, effective, self-sustaining communities
Parent Keepers (support through one-on-one engagement and group workshops)
  • a safe space to discuss challenges and concerns
  • supported and empowered parents with the skills they need to raise their children
  • parents who realise their own potential and can identify their child’s potential
  • parents who are actively involvement in their children’s lives
Teacher Keepers (professional development)
  • motivated educators with the practical and emotional skills to realise their own potential
  • educators with the knowledge on how to work productively and fruitfully
  • educators who prioritise and practice mental well-being
  • educators who build healthy relationships, and teach learners to do the same
  • educators who are able to make a contribution to their community.