The Secret Parent Foundation


African culture recognises that parenting is a shared responsibility - a communal affair - not just the concern of parents or grandparents, but of the extended ‘family’.  Being South African, this proverb resonates. Now living in the United Kingdom, I run an organization which impacts children globally and I have made it my shared responsibility to raise awareness of the role each of us plays in nurturing children to be the best version of themselves.


My name is Zelna and I am the co-founder ofThe Secret Parent Foundation  along with my husband, Stephen.  We are a childless couple (not through choice) who have been married for 21 years. We have made it our mission to transform our heartache at not being able to have biological children of our own into supporting abandoned, abused, neglected, disadvantaged and traumatised children around the world.  

My whole working life has been devoted to being a mental health advocate for young people, and I am now an authority in leadership, resilience and peak performance in children. Since 2003, through my  business, The Kids Life Studio®  , has been reaching thousands children through a global network of certified Kids Life Coaches  . Proudly represented in 27 countries, and growing, using the programmes and tools I developed over the past 16 years of practise and through ongoing research. 

Since launching my book The Secret Parent  on World Mental Health Day 2018, and sharing my own struggle with depression and life’s unwanted challenges (many relating to the trauma associated to my husband Stephen and I unable to have biological children), I have had niggling questions in my mind.  

* What if we could be part of the solution for supporting children through life challenges when their own parents aren't able to. 

* What if Stephen (my husband, my supporter and above all a passionate advocate for children’s wellbeing) and I could travel the world and be a voice for children?

* What would we need to do to make this become a reality?


The Secret Parent Foundation   has been created to provide global support for children in their time of need. The way we believe this to be achievable is by enabling adults, through training and upskilling them. Teaching them proven methods and giving them the ‘tools’ to empower them to support children in environments that have socioeconomic challenges, natural disasters and environment constraints. These adults would be those people we consider to being a secret parent…the school teacher, child counsellor, youth leader, a family aunty or uncle, granny or grandpa …in fact anyone who has a direct or indirect influence on a child’s life and wellbeing.

Since moving to the United Kingdom, from South Africa, we have been talking about launching a foundation for children. We decided to launch this officially on 10 October 2019 on World Mental Health Day and the 1st Anniversary of my book launch. 

Then...something happened that caused us to launch opportunity (born out of a challenge) started to unfold that we couldn't have imagined.  A sad and critical one...but one where we saw how we could make a difference and take action. 

On 28 August 2019, Hurricane Dorian, an extremely powerful, long-lived, and destructive tropical cyclone started its devastation in the northwestern Bahamas. The hurricane caused catastrophic damage to Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands, with at least 70,000 people left homeless.

One of my Brand Ambassadors , based in Exhuma in the Bahamas, Tamara Mc Graw  reached out to me and asked how she could roll out trauma relief programmes with long-term sustainable solutions as a certified Kids Life Coach. This was when Stephen, Tamara and myself started researching what was available and how accessible the interventions were. 

Due to the urgent need identified and not enough on the ground support, Stephen and I changed our holiday plans and flew to Nasau in the Bahamas instead on Thursday, 19 September for 10 days. During this time, we worked in a shelter with children offering them psycho-social support, we had strategic meetings in the ministry of health, we trained 40 adults in our kids life coaching methods.  

This has been the fundamental start of us using the fundamentals of Life Coaching for Children in a special trauma relief "Secret Parent" programme based on my  Life Coaching Model for children to teach, train and support as many suitable volunteers as possible. These people will be supported by the foundation to roll out programs and medium to long term support to children facing devastating trauma, neglect, abuse, poverty or abandonment.  


We require your help to get our foundation off the ground as at this stage we are self funding. Your contribution towards initial funding will go towards:

* An initial needs analysis to establish how to implement a long-term support system.  

* Programme development & roll out.

*  Providing immersive training to volunteers to run The Secret Parent Trauma Relief Programme.


The Secret Parent Bahamas Project was our first and recently we have also invested into a local village community in South Africa...more to follow on that once we have established the project.

The long-term aim of our Secret Parent foundation  is about promoting mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing  to children below the age of 12, especially those in precarious and multiply disadvantaged contexts and facing trauma within a global context.  

Your support will be for a short-term management solution with £10 000 going towards Phase 1 of our Secret Parent projects. You can follow us on Facebook  to see what we are up to!

Thank you for your time and interest in supporting this pilot inception of our Secret Parent Foundation. Our website construction is underway and we will report back on progress.

We are excited and nervous at the same time but we believe it takes a "Global Village to Raise a Child" and we aim to be part of the solution. We hope you join us in supporting us as a children's change maker through your charitable donation.

Regards with Zeal,

Stephen and Zelna Lauwrens 

Donations (29)

  • Pakinam Elhossamy
    • £5 
    • 26 d
  • Novalee Hanson
    • £5 
    • 3 mos
  • Anonymous
    • £20 
    • 7 mos
  • Anonymous
    • £25 
    • 7 mos
  • tarryn smith
    • £25 
    • 7 mos

Fundraising team: The Secret Parent Foundation (2)

Zelna Lauwrens
Stephen Lauwrens
Team member

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