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breaking beliefs

cape town, south africa

Breaking Beliefs, inspired by Zen Coaching, offers a safe space for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to allow their vulnerability and step into their power.

Breaking Beliefs opens minds and changes lives.
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Why Breaking Beliefs?

South Africa needs resilient responsive young people who inspire and support their communities; creative agile young entrepreneurs who fire up the economy; courageous connected young people who protect and preserve our life-giving environments. But, for many young people, South Africa is an unequal and hostile landscape of shifting obstacles and challenges. Challenges that choke their vibrance and aliveness:

Spiralling youth unemployment. Poverty. Crime. Gender violence. Anger. Depression. Anxiety. Hopelessness.

There are no government services offering the type of psychosocial support that our young people so desperately need in order to tap into their full and very rich potential.

The vision of Breaking Beliefs is to build a South Africa full of resilient, responsive young people who inspire and support their communities.

We do this by creating safe spaces where young people are supported through deep listening and gentle enquiry to be open and vulnerable and cultivate their aliveness, creativity and strength.

What is Breaking Beliefs?

Over the past 6 years we have refined an intervention that is agile, resilient, sustainable and scalable. Our offering includes one-on-one coaching, self-development workshops and online courses. We train community coaches and facilitators to spread our way of working to where it is most needed.

The Breaking Beliefs intervention works at the deepest level, the level of consciousness and mindset, to bring about meaningful and lasting change.

Equipped with tools to actively shape and build their futures, participants learn to:

  • identify and break down limiting beliefs and associated behaviours that keep them stuck

  • communicate and connect deeply with others

  • contact inner strength and self-worth

  • creatively solve problems

  • boldly take responsibility for their own lives


Our methodology offers an innovative solution to the limiting mindset that pervades South African society, especially evident in our young people. It is particularly focused on young school leavers and unemployed youth taking their first step on the ladder towards a successful career. Since it is our youth who will be responsible for driving the change towards a more equitable and economically sustainable South Africa, it seems logical that the focus around mindset should start with them. Young people respond incredibly well to this work since their minds and belief systems are more open to change. They have a greater interest in investigating who they are and learning about themselves. This view is supported by much of the current work on the neuroscience of beliefs.


Our coaching and workshops create safe spaces of deep listening and gentle enquiry where vulnerability and openness is welcomed. Participants are introduced to meditation, heartfelt communication and other mindfulness-based techniques designed to cultivate aliveness, creativity and resilience.

The Breaking Beliefs approach explores:

  • the negative influence of the inner critic

  • resultant loss of personal power

  • feelings of worthlessness and anxiety

  • fear of candid communication

  • inability to focus on the present

  • underdeveloped emotional intelligence

  • lack of mindfulness

How do we work?


We run community workshops introducing young people to the Breaking Beliefs methodology. Our Breaking Beliefs signature course is currently delivered as an 8 x 3 hour module workshop. All the content is practical, making use of experiential learning and thus embedding the core concepts into young people’s real life experiences. When people share their stories everyone can relate. Shared stories are powerful with the potential to touch and shift others, since most painful and limiting beliefs are collective. Taking the tools, applying them at home and coming back to share their experiences enables young people on the course to embody the work in their daily lives. They become perceptibly more mindful, reflective and emotionally intelligent as they work through the course. These workshops create real change in the lives of participants.

The workshops are suitable for community groups, cohorts of young people engaged in development programmes, young employee teams and high school learners.

What our young participants have to say about Breaking Beliefs:
Simbongile Nelani.jpg

I come to the workshops because it’s literally the only safe space that I have access to. At these workshops I can be open about what’s going on in my life without worrying about being judged. I always leave the workshops knowing that I am not alone in this world, there are other people out there who care and who also go through the same challenges that I go through.

Simbongile Nelani


It's important because every session you learn and unlearn a lot of things, positive or negative. It has given me a chance to breathe again, to be me in exchange for nothing. Also it has given me a chance to know I don't need to be a superhero whether the problem is internal or external. I cannot encourage someone to attend if they feel like they don't need it, what I can do is tell someone who needs this workshop that it's a chance to walk into a space  where you can unmask and breathe and heal.

Awethu Baliso

Lihle Matshanga.jpg

The Breaking Beliefs workshops have given me social skills that I use to deal with my day to day challenges. The workshops have put me on a journey of self-discovery, I have become more comfortable with who I am and I no longer feel the need to prove myself or justify who I am to others. Through all of this my self-confidence has grown. The workshops are for my personal development.

Lihle Matshanga


Our coach team offers one-on-one coaching to young people who do not have access to the psychosocial support they often need to deal with the challenges and trauma they face on a daily basis.

Our coaching approach follows the Zen Coaching principals of helping by not helping. It is simple and effective, operating from our belief that everyone already has what they need to deal with their challenges. We use deep listening, reflection and questioning to create a safe space in which the young people feel heard and seen. This encourages them to be vulnerable enough to explore their limiting beliefs and process the painful emotions they have been holding onto. By releasing these they are able to see that they are powerful and do possess the qualities they need to move forward. Coming up with their own solutions makes them courageous and confident.

Often all it takes is one session for our clients to see their way ahead. This method of coaching discourages co-dependence and provides tools for life.

We have also developed a workbook which is almost ready for publication and an online course encouraging participants to become their own life coach.

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What our young participants have to say about coaching:
profile daven_edited.jpg

The sessions really helped alot, the thing that helped the most was the meditation and then also the fact that you told me to sit still and think if it's worth it to stress is it my business or their business sitting and thinking about that helps me not to take things people do and say to me to heart. Alot has shifted I applied to study at university.

Davenique McKriel


Hey, I'm gonna be completely honest. 

At first I didn't think the coaching would work for me, but since being with my coach and talking to her it's really been a help. I've learnt a lot and I've definitely used what I've learnt in my daily life. I think it just opened me up more. And I definitely want to continue. I feel like therapy, or life coaching should be a lifelong thing because we never stop healing and we're constantly learning and evolving.

Tamia McKenna 

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A poem

by one of our coachees, Channel Jeffries



During my darkest days

With hope no where to be found

I could not have asked for better

Than having a Zen coach by my side


It was a true eye opener

And it made me realize

That putting myself first is the greatest gift

I could ever give to myself.


The coaching teaches me how to remain centered and calm

And that I can unwind all of my bad habits and steps and allow my mind to be less busy

As overthinking has made me feel sick and dizzy,

Zen coaching has made me let it all out and now I feel light, hyped about life and sizzling.

Please donate

We are running this project as a group of volunteer coaches and trainers offering community workshops and individual coaching. Our aim is to become a registered non-profit company so that we are able to offer a more sustained service and expand our offering to more young people.

Your support can help us offer the following:

  • A workshop for 25 people (costs $250 for venue, a meal and transport money for participants)

  • The full 8 module Breaking Beliefs taking 25 young people on a deep inner journey of discovery) costs $2000

  • 5 coaching sessions for one young person from a volunteer coach (total costs $35 for venue rental and transport money for the coachee)

  • To pay for a young person to manage our social media and communications and spread the message costs $500 per month

Please help us if you can to spread this initiative as widely as possible. South African youth are currently facing an unemployment rate of close to 70% — one of the highest in the world. Your donation will help these young people to connect to their worth and their power. Anything will help.

A whole-hearted thank you from the Breaking Beliefs Coaching Team!

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