Strengthening Families
and Communities Caring for Vulnerable Children & Youth

With a vision and mission deeply rooted in our history, Thandanani Children’s Foundation is dedicated to transforming the lives of children and youth living in adversity.

For over three decades, we have facilitated comprehensive support, nurturing environments, and sustainable opportunities to improve the lives of vulnerable children and youth in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Through our holistic approach, we seek to break cycles of poverty and adversity by creating opportunities for personal growth, enriched family life, improved educational outcomes, and sustainable livelihoods as we build stronger, more vibrant, families and communities where children are loved, nurtured and protected and youth are supported in pursuing their dreams.

We invite you to join us on this incredible journey and, together, let’s build a society where every child thrives.

Founded in 1989, Thandanani is dedicated to transforming the lives of children and youth living in adversity through a well-established system of community-based Fieldworker teams equipped to deliver a comprehensive range of interrelated services, activities, and programmes all aimed at enhancing the material, physical, cognitive and emotional well-being of children and youth living in the communities in which we work.

Over the years Thandanani has developed extensive experience in the implementation of a variety of child and youth-focused services, activities, and programmes. These include:

Economic Empowerment

Community-based Savings & Loan Groups (SHGs)

Micro-enterprise Development Programmes (Youth)

Local Market Development Initiatives

Home-based Food Garden Development & Support

Document & Grant Access

Material Relief in Emergency Situations


Health Education, Screening & Testing Services (including for malnutrition, HIV & TB)

First 1000 Days Programmes

SRH Awareness Programmes & Health Days

Community Mobilisations for Health Service up-take

Vitamin Distributions

Condom Distributions

Community Access & logistical support for Health-Related Research

Cognitive Development

Home-Based Early Childhood Development Programmes

The Support of Early Learning Centres / Crèches  

School Attendance & Performance Monitoring

School Uniform Distributions

Psycho-Social Well-Being

Caregiver & Children’s Support Groups

Family Strengthening Support

Personal Development & Life-Skills Programmes

Bereavement & Memory Work Programmes

Gender-Based Violence Prevention Programmes

Child Protection & Foster Care Programmes & Services

Despite South Africa’s transition to democracy; poverty, inequality, and HIV/AIDS continue to dominate the lives of millions of South African children & youth.

In KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa:

  • 65% of all children live in poverty
  • 23% live in overcrowded households
  • 36% live in households where no adults are employed
  • 11% lack regular meals
  • 16% have lost either one or both of their parents
  • 2% are HIV positive
  • 49% of youth (20 to 24) have completed Grade 12
  • 5% have some form of tertiary qualification
  • 65% are unemployed or discouraged work seekers
  • 49% are not in any form of education, employment or training
  • 58% have at least one child of their own

Children and youth growing up in these circumstances face immense challenges that undermine their well-being, development and future prospects. These include:

Through our various projects and activities, Thandanani seeks to break cycles of poverty & adversity by building stronger, more vibrant, families and communities where children are loved, nurtured and protected and youth are supported in pursuing their dreams.

Early Childhood Development

Our Home-based ECD Programme

teaches basic child developmental principles; engages Caregivers around the importance of stimulating learning in young children; and capacitates them with simple techniques to engage children through intentional play using everyday objects and toys made from waste materials.

In this way, Thandanani promotes an understanding of basic early childhood development and its importance; and fosters a culture of intentional engagement between Caregivers and children. 

Since April 2015, 1002 children and

696 Caregivers have completed this programme.


Our Family Strengthening Programme

supports and strengthens under-resourced families caring for vulnerable children & youth.

The project involves community-based Fieldworker teams delivering a holistic package of interrelated services and activities to each of the families assigned to their care.

This package of services is designed to systematically address basic material, physical, cognitive & emotional needs and move the family from a state of vulnerability to increased stability and self-reliance over a three year period.

Once families are stable and can provide for the basic needs of the children in their care, they exit our system and function independently of our support.

This movement of households through our system ensures that families do not become dependent and that Thandanani itself can take on new households without creating an unsustainable demand on our capacity and resources.

Since April 2007, Thandanani has provided support to 17,965 beneficiaries across 2,937 households through this programme.



Our Zenzele

combines personal development; sexual reproductive health; & micro-enterprise development; into an integrated intervention that empowers youth to identify and begin to address some of the barriers they experience in being able to break the cycle of poverty & adversity that entraps them.

One of the critical ways we do this is by supporting youth in the financing and establishment of Micro-enterprises and the hosting of local market days where they sell their goods and services within their local community.

We currently have 25 young entrepreneurs generating income through this programme.

Family Strengthening

Since April 2007

Thandanani has provided support to 17,965 beneficiaries across 2,937 households through our Family Strengthening Programme.

9456 Children

2937 Caregivers

5572 Family Members


Since April 2012

Thandanani has provided health education to 95,239 community members and has screened and tested 55,356 of these for HIV & TB.

Early Childhood Development

Since April 2015

696 Caregivers and

1002 children have completed our Home-Based ECD Programme.

Youth Empowerment

Since June 2022

35 youth have participated in our Zenzele Youth Academy where they received input on personal development; sexual reproductive health; & micro-enterprise development.

Of these, 25 have been provided finance to start micro-enterprises and are currently generating income for themselves through these enterprises.


On the most vulnerable and marginalised

On the best interests & well-being of the child

On meaningfully realising the rights of the child

On holistic development & empowerment


To meaningful collaboration and partnership

To excellence & efficiency in service delivery

To good governance and fiscal prudence
To effective monitoring, evaluation & research

To responsive & informed programming

To accountability and transparency through regular & detailed reporting


Our long history & experience working within the Children’s Sector

Our knowledge of the communities in which we work & our understanding of contextual dynamics

Our responsiveness to identified needs & the adaptability of our programmes & activities

The holistic nature of our interventions

Our visible impact & the recognition of this impact by others

The trust of beneficiaries and community members

Our network of community-based fieldworkers

The cost-effectiveness and replicability of our model

Our commitment to do what we say we are going to do

Our detailed reporting & our responsiveness to feedback

Our ability to attract and maintain positive and ongoing partnerships with donors









become a champion 4Kids

by making a regular contribution in support of our work with children & youth

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All donations from South African tax payers are tax-deductible

We will send you a Section 18A certificate reflecting your contributions in support of our work in May each year

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+27 (0)33 345 1857

Section 21: 2002/005186/08 | Non-Profit Organisation: 006-136NPO