About us


Who we are

THE COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS is a mutual self-help organisation offering friendship and understanding to bereaved parents and siblings. The primary purpose is to assist them in the positive resolution of the grief experienced upon the death of a child and to support their efforts to achieve physical and emotional health.


The secondary purpose is to provide information and education about bereavement to help communities, families, friends, employers, co-workers and professionals to be supportive.


TCF was founded by Reverend Simon Stephens in the UK in 1969 after he witnessed the support two bereaved families were able to draw from each other after losing a child. TCF was founded in South Africa in 1983 by Linda Abelheim and there are now more the 30 groups throughout the country. The Johannesburg TCF has been in operation for many years.


Our services and support is premised on seven principles



The TCF is a registered NPO and its management is set out in its Constitution.

The Constitution is available from the office should any members wish to peruse it.




The Compassionate Friends, like a lot of other well-known NPOs, is finding it challenging to raise funds. We survive on the fundraising efforts of the Executive Committee and these activities include proposals to the Lotto, requests for donations from parents and friends of TCF as well as corporates, annual subscription fees, and fundraising events organised by the TCF committee and staff. Various events take place throughout the year and are included in our newsletter and on our Facebook page. We urge you to participate as these events not only generate much-needed income for the organisation but also provide an opportunity to connect and share with other bereaved families. However, we know that when you are grieving the thought of going places and doing things is sometimes daunting. But to help us … so we can keep helping you…even if you don’t want to come please encourage family or friends to attend our functions – they do not have to be bereaved to attend.


Other support

  • Please consider making a monthly donation to TCF via debit order/stop order – every cent helps.
  • Please get and use a My School/My Village Card and make The Compassionate Friends a beneficiary.
  • You can also sponsor a page in our Newsletter at R100 per page or R50 per half page.
  • A Love Gift can be any amount of money you would like to donate in memory of your child.
  • If the Company/Organisation you work for has a Social Responsibility Department and you would be comfortable for us to contact them on your behalf to ask for a donation please sends us the details.
  • A String of Pearls by Rosemary Dirmeik (a compilation of TCF newsletter editorials over many years) R100 (excluding shipping) and Boy by Kate Shand (teenage suicide) R200 (excluding shipping) are available from TCF as part of our Fund Raising Initiative.
  • Click here for our banking details if you wish to do an EFT.


All donations are tax deductible.