The Tree of Life Schools Initiative

Partnerships for Improved Mental health in schools

The Phola Psychosocial Organisation is a South Africa registered non-profit entity that has a global reach. The organisation was founded by Ncazelo Ncube-Mlilo a world-renowned Narrative Therapist and trauma Specialist. Phola provides psychosocial and mental health to disadvantaged communities in South Africa and beyond, the tools and methodologies are largely developed by Ncazelo Ncube-Mlilo.

The Tree of Life story telling methodology was developed and pioneered in Africa to support children who have gone through hardships, stressful life events and trauma to tell their stories in ways that make them stronger. The methodology is known and appreciated internationally as a strength-based approach that supports children and others to connect with their skills, hopes, values, and significant relationships in a way that can sustain them during difficult times. The methodology is now used in over 30 countries around the world including the United Kingdom and Australia, in a wide range of psychosocial programs.

During 2019-2023, Phola seeks to reach 35 000 children in schools with the Tree of Life methodology in South Africa. Our flagship program, Partnerships for Improved Mental Health in Schools (PIMHS) is an exciting new initiative for Phola. The aim of the program is to increase awareness on mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of children in schools and to support schools to provide culturally responsive mental health methodologies and tools. This initiative involves the training of teachers on the Tree of Life Methodology, it will help to prevent general mental health challenges experienced by children in schools. It will also strengthen teacher pupil relations, improve cultural sensitivity and break down teacher pupil and peer to peer barriers. It promotes social connectedness between peers and eases racial tensions, the general wellbeing of the children is addressed leading to safer schools.

Phola is inviting schools to partner in this initiative. The Phola team is available for discussions leading up to the activation of the partnerships. For more details contact,,