A study of the
emergence of

An NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) Dream a Dream (DaD), works towards impacting the lives of young people from adverse backgrounds.

DaD has extensive experiential data to show that adversity affects the ability of these young people to engage with the world, make healthy life choices and more significantly, to ‘thrive’.
The core question that DaD wished to address is: what does thriving look like? How does it manifest? How can the understanding of ‘thriving’ be nuanced?


We used Ethnography with the Case Study Method, over 3 months with a combination of participant observation, habitat mapping, DI’s and online journals. Triads with the respondent’s peer group acted as control groups.

Based on data gathered during the study, it became evident that while money and power may define social success, they are not necessarily indices of ‘thriving’ in the way that thriving is defined by Dream a Dream.


Deep ethnographic immersion revealed that Dream a Dream has crafted a pedagogical method and a process, a science that allows for a re-definition of adverse circumstances by changing the lens through which the past is viewed.

DaD initiates change through this science of transformation that has method, precision and process. Children and young adults, those who have suffered neglect, abuse and failure, the lost and the wandering, find a welcome into the world of care that Dream a Dream offers.

Extended immersion within the non-judgmental and enabling ethos facilitated by Dream a Dream allows for the emergence of Personhood and an integration of the divided self which may be called ‘thriving’.

We designed a ‘Map of Thriving’ that can facilitate replication and scaling up of the methodology that can enable thriving for people from adverse circumstances.


You can access the full report here.

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