The Space Between Relief and Development

RELIEF: short-term help offered during a crisis.
DEVELOPMENT: a process of ongoing positive change.

Somewhere in the space between relief and development lurks a set of achingly complex issues.At Seed Of Hope, we wrestle alongside members of our community to find the appropriate
balance between extending compassion to families in crisis and walking supportively alongside people who are painstakingly and doggedly trying to help themselves. We constantly pray for wisdom to understand the dilemmas the poor face. We also educate ourselves both formally and through relationships with residents of Bhekulwandle township, seeking to understand what Seed Of Hopeʼs role should be.

The truth of our experience in community development is this: the problems that affect the materially poor are both personal (lack of education, family dysfunction, low motivation, fatalistic worldview) and also systemic. Most poor people have little influence or control over decisions that affect them in the political, economic or even community arenas – not to mention natural disasters or the death of a parent or income-earner. This powerlessness robs them of a sense of hope, opportunity and self-confidence.

Recently as an organization we stepped back, took a deep breath, and began to reconsider our programs, our methods and even our understanding of poverty alleviation. We believe it is healthy and necessary for ministries like ours to regularly evaluate whether we are truly developmental, even amidst a crisis of AIDS and poverty.
This is a process that will challenge our tendency to oversimplify issues in order to arrive at a course of action. But we are confident that God will help us to do the things to which He has called us – and do them well. We are looking forward to sharing the humbling lessons God teaches along the way.

Carl Waldron
CEO, Seed Of Hope

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