Our Vision

Children in South Africa are valued, protected and empowered to realise their full potential

Our Mission

Starfish supports children orphaned or vulnerable in South Africa by working in partnership with community based organisations.

Core Objectives

  • Active Communities
  • Children Survive & THRIVE
  • Children Safe & Secure
  • Responsive Caregiving
  • Learning & Stimulation

The STARFISH Framework

Aimed at assisting community-based organisations to deliver research-informed, evidence-based, best-practice early childhood and adolescent care and development interventions.

Sustainable Communities

Starfish believes that central to sustainable development is the inclusion of communities in formulating, executing and measuring their responses to their problems.  The role of Starfish is to enhance the capacities and provide some of the resources needed to ensure the above is done well.

Trained, Skilled Community Caregivers

Because what is delivered is mainly based on human interaction, the skills of the community caregivers, not only regarding their subject matter but regarding customs, motivational interviewing techniques, broad wellness factors, etc.  Starfish works to develop these in the communities we work in.

Adolescent Development

In South Africa, in 2017 there were 120 000 children born to school-girls.  27% of young adults are unemployed. Adolescence provides a window of opportunity for the development of key resilience, social & emotional, and executive function skills and competencies. Starfish makes use of this window to deliver bespoke Adolescent Development Programmes.

Responsive Caregiving

Empirical research clearly demonstrates that the experiences of children in their first 1000 days in a child’s life are critical in informing their future health, cognitive, emotional and social wellbeing.  Starfish works to ensure children have the very best start to life.

Family Strengthening

The wellbeing of children is significantly influenced by how well the family is doing.  Working in the living environment of children, out community caregivers assist parents to strengthen their executive functioning, language environments, and responsive caregiving while minimising the child’s adverse childhood experiences.

Income and Livelihood Strengthening

5.7 million children in South Africa (10% of the total population) live in homes where there isn’t a single adult employed.  The result is 25% of children in the country are malnourished, severely impeding their healthy development (97% of a child’s energy-intake in the first 6-months is used for brain-development.  Minimising the impact of poverty on families is, therefore, a Starfish priority

Safety and Security

Violence against children is a public health, human rights, and social problem, with potentially devastating and costly consequences.1 Its destructive effects harm children in every country, impacting families, communities, and nations, and reaching across generations. Starfish is actively committed to the protection of children.

Health and Nutrition

Starfish, in partnership with the South African Department of Health, ensures that children and their mothers in rural, indigent communities have access to primary health services.  Antenatal care, infant vaccinations, family planning, HIV & TB care, and interrupting growth-stunting are our priority services via our Wellness Wagon (Starfish Mobile Clinic)

click-through framework


We need your help

in improving the wellbeing of children in South Africa


Who will speak for them?  YOU have the power to give poorly represented, vulnerable, orphaned children a voice.  You have the power to amplify the clarion call, to bring to people’s attention, to set in contrast the disparities that present real risks to a future sustainable world.  You have the power to mobilise a forceful representative voice for the unheard and mostly unseen children in South Africa.  Use your power to influence an intelligent, effective response.


Amongst the numerous clamorous cries for support, all of which are good causes, we raise our plea.  We have made it as easy and reasonable as possible:

  • Multi-channel Quick, Safe Portals
  • Structured Reporting and Total Transparency
  • Tax Benefits in South Africa, UK, and the USA
  • Dinners of Hope, Sports Events, Birthday Sharing, Greatheart Champions in Sport


Starfish offers you multiple opportunities in various forms to contribute to ensuring children in South Africa are valued, protected and empowered to realise the full potential.

Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, if you’re creative or pragmatic, if you’re an academic or a endorphin-addicted athlete, (or an interesting mixture of all the above) – check out your altruistic opportunities at Starfish.

Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountablity and Learning


Starfish is committed to establishing new standards in both service delivery and gathering evidence of what works where for the learning of the whole childcare sector.  The Starfish Childhood Assessment of Risks and Strengths (SCARS) is evidence of this.

The primary product of SCARS (which is being implemented as a mobile app) is sequential  comparative data on a given child across 8 core indicators of wellness.  This data informs a Individual Intervention Plan for each child – aimed at minimizing risks and maximizing strengths:

  • Health Risks & Strengths
  • Nutrition Risks & Strengths
  • Responsive Caregiving Risks & Strengths
  • Safety and Security Risks & Strengths
  • Stimulation & Learning Risks & Strengths
  • Familial Wellbeing Risks & Strengths
  • Poverty Risks and Strengths, and
  • Communicable Disease Risks and Strengths

Working within the context of a household, the progressive improvement of the child’s circumstances is sought and facilitated within the age categories of 0 to 2; 2+ to 6; 6+ to 12; 12+ to 18.  Key household indicators are also tracked as well as the wellbeing of mothers/caregivers (domestic violence; indigency; environmental risks; substance abuse; public health risks; access to social grants; etc.)

Starfish has been supporting Thy Kingdom Care Centre (TKCC) and we sincerely appreciate the kindness shown. Through your guidance TKCC is developing, we give our inner-most thanks. With your help, we have been approved for funding from PEPFAR - something we could not have achieved without the reinforcement and encouragement from Starfish Greathearts Foundation. Through the funding from Starfish the organisation is able to cover the monthly operational costs. Through Starfish support TKCC has acquired beautiful ECD shipping-containers and our ECD programme is running, with teachers receiving monthly stipends.
Thy Kingdom Care Centre
Evaton, Sedibeng, Gauteng

Key Stakeholders

in ensuring the wellbeing of children in South Africa


It was, in part, due to the benevolence of  runners of the Comrades Marathon (the famous ultra-marathon run between Durban and Pietermaritzburg) that, at the turn of the millennium,  Starfish Greathearts Foundation was established.

Subsequently, athletes and champions of industry have continued to actively support the cause.  What’s missing is YOU.


Investors in measurable transformative development have a real opportunity to let prudence prevail and invest intelligently in an organisation with robust governance, sound management and a pragmatic development strategy.

With a values-driven purpose to redefine excellence in community childcare service delivery in South Africa, Starfish has earned a leadership reputation in the sector.


The greatest Greathearts are the women who work tirelessly within their communities to value, protect and develop orphaned and vulnerable children.

They demonstrate that sustainable change happens when a community stands together, without much resources, to improve its current situation.  Local volition and agency must be preserved to ensure sustainable development.


At the centre of a child’s life, there’s a family sculpting an environment in which the child will learn love, language, and rapidly start developing into what she or he will one day become.

Both the infant and adolescence years are defining periods in a child’s life.  Starfish invests in building familial agency to increase the likelihood of an improved future for every child.