Community Healing Network (CHN)

The Community Healing Network (CHN) was founded in 2006 under the slogan Confronting the past, Transforming the future. The CHN aims to confront the legacy of structural violence by enhancing social cohesion and justice and supporting the building of strong and vibrant communities. To this end, CHN uses the tools of Advocacy, Partnership and Research.


Re-build communities by strengthening their cohesion and developing a sense of common purpose. This involves helping participants to improve their understanding of power dynamics within soci-economic and political contexts and mobilising them to act on new insights towards building a better future for all. Given the traumatic past of many communities, much of the holistic popular education focuses on trauma and healing-work.

CHC work is inspired by the beliefs that “enough is as much as a feast”, and “one for all and all for one “.

Target participants

Community members and leadership figures and organisations within those communities, particularly in the greater Vrygrond / Lavender Hill area, Cape Town.

Focus area

  • Popular education: working together and forming cooperatives
  • Campaigning for holistic health and continually exploring community healing through partnerships
  • Magnifying the voice of community through helping create new models of self reliance and self management
  • Finding partnerships that unite people both at the point of production with the point of life


CHN views communities like baskets that have been broken and scattered. The pieces are still there but invisible to many. CHN believs that what has been broken can be rewoven slowly and gradually but needs community-based organisations who will take the time to live and work with or stay close to such communities to build trust and dignity. In this way CHN can play a role in encouraging the weaving process. Eventually, members of the community are to become the weavers themselves and will carry the task further and further. The new basket will be reconnected eventually, being similar but always striving to change for the better.

In the work, facilitators / animators attempt to marry radical ideas with radical processes. This is a “work in progress” involving exploring innovative and creative ways to engage (challenging through practice).

The Vrygrond community with all its intense contradictions has been the starting point and major focus of this process over the last five years. Popular education has played a part in assisting people to ‘see the bigger picture’ and relate their troubles to public issues that often have a structural base.

Popular Education

CHN believs strongly that Popular Educations has political content, that it is holistic (political, economic and values) and the liberatory elements that traditionally constituted popular education are integral to its mission to be a “transformative project”.

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