About Us


Khulisa Social Solutions is a national non-profit company that inspires, empowers and enables vulnerable children, youth and communities to unlock their potential and develop skills towards a positive future. Its work is based on knowing that one’s past and circumstances does not determine one’s future and potential.

Khulisa is able to measure its work by tracking the number of youth, at a ‘tipping point’, that make the shift from anti-social and or criminal behavior to a life of resilience that is combined with positive outlook and opportunities for their future. In supporting the restoration of individuals, Khulisa also addresses problems found within their families and communities, and collaborates to resolve these with other service providers.


Khulisa Social Solutions is a Non-Profit Company (057-405-NPO) established in 1997 as a response to violence and criminal behaviour robbing youth and communities of an opportunity to live their best lives. Khulisa has 33 offices across South Africa and employs 290 staff working in some of the most hard to reach areas around the country. In the last year, alone, Khulisa reached almost half a million vulnerable youth through multiple programmes.


Khulisa, as a ‘connector’, has developed a distinct set of characteristics and expertise relevant to improving the fit between government or giving community-initiated programmes and grassroots development. Khulisa is embedded in over 250 communities in South Africa where it has developed tools for mobilising collaboration and building partnerships, through its systematic work. With an active dynamic database of local community based organisations, whose needs have been assessed, Khulisa is able to enter communities, identify partners across sectors and build capacity for sustainable solutions.

Khulisa creates an avenue for government and the giving community to participate in sustainable programmes that are built on the enthusiasm and success of trusted proactive local organizations that understand the local dynamics, opportunities and risks in their community. Khulisa removes obstacles and creates an avenue for income and skills development for a large number of local organisations through engaging them in socially constructive activities.


In 2013 Bain and Company evaluated the following factors on organisational effectiveness within Khulisa:

  • Compelling vision
  • Clear sense of intended impact
  • Clarity on goals and main priorities that will drive business

Its findings were; Khulisa’s company identify was found to inspire its employees and the delivery of programmes to beneficiaries was strengthened by staff members feeling that they have the appropriate authority to deliver on their mandate.


IMPACT   -   15 Years of reinventing lives



Five years in 60 prisons: 

  • Trained 328 peer education programmes
  • Rolled out the programme to over 5,763 offenders

By June 2012:

  • Khulisa’s peer education programme introduced to 11 SADAC countries by training psychiatrists, medical doctors, human resource practitioners and prison management offices.


An in-house survey conducted over five years of offenders who had participated in various rehabilitation/reintegration programmes:

  • Of 287 contacts made, only 18% had been re-incarcerated.
  • Average national relapse rate of 85%


2009: Through Gateways Project and City of Johannesburg, job shadowing opportunities created for 66 ex-offenders (non violent crimes).

Khulisa managed the process (including rendering needs-based personal development programmes) 6 months prior to placement.

A survey conducted one year later reflected that:

  • 83% completed the process
  • 14% employed fulltime by the City of Johannesburg
  • After six months, 36 who were contacted: 81% were either employed or studying or volunteering


Phoenix Case Study
Between 2007 and 2009, 2000 cases successfully mediated by Khulisa, the NPA and Department of Justice in the Phoenix region.  From these cases:

  • 93% victims stated they would rather go the alternative justice route
  • In some cases the court backlog was reduced by up to 50%
  • 83% of the cases were successfully concluded

JARP – EU Funded Case Study  :  May 2010 – April 2012
External evaluation findings over 6 sites (urban, peri-urban and deep rural)

  • 3930 Restorative Justice Cases referred and mediated
  • 2387 diversion cases (with Restorative Elements) achieved by 6 project sites
  • 6317 cases processed, exceeding the expected minimum project result of 3000 processed cases.
  • A minimum of 22 cases mediated per site per month. Ixopo, Wentworth, Umlazi and Phoenix consistently achieved between 50 and 60 cases per month;
  • 88 438 reached by the project, on the basis of one victim, one perpetrator per case, each being in a family unit of 7.
  • Type of Charge/Crime: 44.13% common assault case referrals across 6 sites, were the highest.
  • Outcome of Mediation across 6 sites:

Resolved 84.16%
Unresolved  9.77%


-Over 13 years 53 MIB Programmes introduced in seven provinces, capacitating more than 600 aspirant community leaders.
-Over 2 years each MIB group directly impacted the lives of approx 5,000 young children (peer drug education, HIV/AIDS, indigenous games, school holiday programmes, multiple life skills, sports and recreation, leadership, mediation, puppet making, arts and culture).
-Over 3 years, 180 Ubuntu Clubs were established.
-In 2012 a summary revealed the sustainability of the individual MIBs:

  • Number of MIB groups included in survey – 24
  • Estimated number of participants – 600
  • Number graduated = 80.2%
  • 215 employed = 45%
  • 25 own projects = 5%
  • 71 working with Khulisa = 15%
  • 16 working with other NGOs = 3%
  • 35 studying = 7%
  • Passed away/lost contact with = 25%

4. DIVERSION PROGRAMMES (diverting youth/adults in conflict with the law (petty offenses) out of the Criminal Justice System, i.e. second chance)

-  Between 2010 and 2012 - Khulisa diverted:

  • 6,829 children under 18 who committed petty offences nationally
  • 4,961 diverted = 73%
  • 3,329  programmes = 48%
  • 3,652 community services = 53%

-  Newcastle Case Study (KZN Midlands):
No of referrals:

  • 1,525 divertees April 2008 – March 2012.  95% completion success rate.
  • From a group of 436 divertees (referred between April 2011 & March 2012) – telephonic and one-on-one feedback 97% success rate, i.e. only 3% had re-offended.

From this group:

  • 98% apologised to their victims
  • 99% actively participated in community outreach programmes (Ubuntu In Action)

As a result of these efforts:

  • Three grassroots level multi-stakeholder community development projects evolved which are pending NGO registration.


-  From a group of 164 maximum sentences offenders in 4 correctional facilities, none of them re-offended during a period of 4 years(2007 to 2011) after participation in the programme,
-  119 of them became HIV and AIDS / Substance Abuse Peer Educators in their correctional facilities and
-  23 of them were released and are delivering peer education programmes in schools and their communities.

6.   SPEAK UP/TUG OF WAR PROGRAMME.  (Aims to reduce alcohol related harm amongst young people and empowering them to “speak up!” around substance abuse in their schools and communities.)

The Speak Up programme has been developed to empower young people, educators and parents and therefore uses a systemic approach in addresses alcohol related problems in communities and schools.

Implemented in 9 schools in Gauteng. During 2011from a total of 346 participants:

  • Pre programme: 75% stated that they were NOT part of the SA cycle of crime and violence. Post programme: 95% stated they WERE PART of the SA cycle of crime and violence.
  • Pre programme: 35% stated that they understood the process of addiction. Post programme: 80% understood the process.
  • Pre programme 40% of the parents stated they had adequate knowledge about the risks of children abusing alcohol and drugs. Post programme 70%.


  • In 2012, amongst 17 youth from three Soweto based schools who participated in a social enterprise programme/competition over a 6-month period, demonstrated an overall personal growth percentage of 85%  (Ecometric testing)


National Training of Social Workers

  • 2012 Khulisa conducted master training with over 600 social workers in five customised programmes that Khulisa developed for the National Department of Social Development (Crime Prevention Directorate). Overall rating of Khulisa’s service delivery: 85%


As at 31 August (6 months after commencing with the project) 27,345 children participated and benefited from puppet shows in 66 schools. (Target for 12 month contract – 20,500 children)

Life skill communication via puppetry impacted the community at large:

  • Job opportunities (NGO’s established specialising in communication via puppetry).
  • Human rights awareness raised with children and their parents led to significant referrals to alternative sources
  • Programmes extended to ECD facilities, secondary schools and amongst adults (victim empowerment, learnership development, literacy)
  • Specific DVD series needs to be produced - income generation; made available to multiple service delivery agencies.



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The programme assists trauma survivors to fashion narratives,through storytelling, that respect the horror of trauma while at the same time opening up areas of change and development. The ‘Shine Programme’ encourages an appreciation for the paradoxical in the trauma experience so that vulnerabilities can be turned into strength, and losses into positive change.

Transect Walks help develop a basic understanding of systems, such as the community. They equip the community worker with skills to create change in a community through community interventions (community development) and to develop action research in understanding the real needs within the community.

Diversion is a process of channelling children away from the formal court system to programmes that help them reintegrate with their communities.

Diversion options offered by Khulisa:

  • Junior Diversion Programme
  • 8 week
  • Junior Diversion Programme
  • 16 week
  • “Being Positively Cool” 8 Week Diversion Programme
  • “Being Positively Cool” – 16 Week Diversion Programme
  • “Facing Your Shadow” – Diversion for Sexual Offenders:
  • “Face It ” – Violent and Aggressive Behavior Diversion Programme
  • “Recycle” –Aftercare Programme

Adult diversion is a process of channelling adults away from the formal court system to programmes that help them reintegrate with their communities.

Diversion options offered by Khulisa:

  • “Break Through” Self-development Programme
  • Selection Modules:
    • Substance Abuse
    • Violence Awareness
    • VOD and RJ
    • FGC
    • Career Planning
    • TOW Parenting Programme
  • Community Service - “Remember to Forget” Aftercare Programme

The programme focuses on self development through reflection and narrative therapy techniques that are aimed at normalising participants’ environments and lives.

The ‘Silence the Violence’ OR ‘Face It’ programme offers aggressive behaviour change for adults or youth. It challenges traditional belief systems that lead to violent behaviour, illustrating how violence manifests in daily interactions and teaches participants to choose non-violent alternatives.

Khulisa’s puppet workshops assist children to transfer their own world onto the puppet, providing deep insight and meaning to the child. Themes explored through these workshops include;

Pre- school

  • Drugs, Making good choices, Peer Pressure and Self-esteem

7 to 10 years

  • Anger Management, Crime Prevention, Bullying, Personal Hygiene, Substance Abuse and Child Abuse

11 to 13 years

  • Anger Management, Crime Prevention, Bullying, Sexuality, Substance Abuse and Child Abuse

The TOW parenting programme empowers significant others, such as educators, with the necessary skills to effectively manage the challenges their children are  facing.

The VULA Early Childhood Development programme offers integrated ECD intervention that is cost and time effective. VULA draws on leading child development theories, approaches and has been developed by professionals from fields of child psychology; social work and community development.

The Restorative Justice concept grew out of dissatisfaction with criminal justice processes and their inability to offer victims, reparation and offenders an opportunity to repair the harm they caused. Khulisa’s restorative justice programmes approach justice with the individual and the collective good in mind.

The programmes are grounded in the notion that when human relationships are violated; victims and communities need protection, support and healing whilst offenders need to be accountable by taking responsibility, make restitution and pursuing rehabilitation.

11. UBUNTU CLUBS: Life skills programme
Ubuntu clubs are community based youth clubs that provide common interest groups with a safe, social and recreational environment where they receive peer education on issues such as; violence, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and community development. Thus reflecting the spirit of Ubuntu which can lead to the establishment of self sustaining initiatives.


“My bad attitude was causing havoc all around me. I knew it, but I didn’t know how to be any different says Petrus Langa. “Relationships with my family and work colleagues were strained and I as feeling more and more lonely and unhappy.

One day in a fit of rage I hit my wife and she pressed charges against me. A social worker recommended that I learn some anger management and communication skills by attending “Breakthrough”. My curiosity took me there and I’m so glad it did. In that programme I realized that much of my behavior was due to a feeling of helplessness and a poor self-image. I discovered a new part of me that wants to do right by my family and my work colleagues and thanks to Khulisa, I now have the tools to do so.”

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Sipho Chabalala a Divertee from Newcastle, KwaZulu Natal says, “I was caught stealing a box of stock cubes from a supermarket and soon found myself in a police station in town, charged with theft and the possibility of a criminal record.

I was so angry at my helplessness and poverty. Rather than be sentenced, I was assigned to a social worker who enrolled me into Khulisa’s Diversion programme.  That facilitator gave me personal attention and taught me about how to handle life. Soon my problems changed into opportunities. Now I want to plan my day. I feel so alive.”

+ + +

Josephine Matsong grew up in the abject poverty of rural North West province and longed for a way to make something of her life as well as improve her community that was suffering with the challenges of teenage pregnancies, unemployment, substance abuse and the HIV epidemic.

She had tried to initiate a few projects for its upliftment but by her early 30’s felt hopelessly unskilled to meet its challenges. When she joined a Khulisa year long MIB project, she learnt the art of being a Social Entrepreneur and was so glad to be given the skills needed to manage sustainable community development. Some of the friends she had made on the programme were easily employed after graduation and within a short space of time her community was showing signs of transformation.

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“At the age of 12,” says Sipho Magwatso, “I ran away from home because my mother used to hit me very badly and there was no other family to take care of me. I lived on the streets, using drugs and prostituting myself to survive. When I was 15 I was arrested for shoplifting and placed in a correctional facility where I awaited trial and found Khulisa running the “Mirror” programme. Until then I didn’t know anything about my rights or what love was and I carried many secrets inside me that were painful. The Khulisa facilitator taught me to see good things about myself and how to look after myself and keep safe.”

+ + +

Walter Coetzee had abused drugs for years before being convicted of armed robbery and incarcerated in Leeukop prison. “Behind bars,” he explains, “I still managed to source my drug of choice but I noticed it making me feel worse and worse. Two years later I took advantage of an offer from Khulisa to participate on their “Drug Smart” programme and was surprised to learn how everything I felt was also felt by others and that there was solid support from Khulisa to quit and reclaim my life. I managed to quit using shortly thereafter. Even better was that Khulisa channelled my leadership skills and passion to educate my peers about drug abuse. We created a drug free cell in the prison and the prestige of belonging to it is earned by passing random drug tests.