Progress can be hard to gauge. It’s particularly true when your goal is massive and bigger than your own capabilities.
At Seed of Hope, the aim of our work is the eventual transformation of a community through its own people. The measure of our success has become the number of local men, women and children who are committed to improving the lives of others and have faith in God’s ability to use them in the process. When a person, whether young or old, educated or not, realizes that they have great value and potential, they automatically begin to exert influence over the circumstances and environment in which they live.
Zephania, who attended a short conservation farming training workshop last year, is now inundated with neighbours asking about the unique methods he’s using and the superb results they have produced in his garden. He has begun helping us prepare a training garden in a new community to enable other farmers to emulate his success.
Two young men who graduated last year from our Live Out Loud leadership program, Ntokozo and Luyanda, are among the founders of a grassroots community group that now encourages youth in Bhekulwandle to serve community needs. They also use their creative talents to motivate other teens to avoid violence and drug abuse. Recently they and their fellow young leaders made faith commitments to Jesus Christ and joined a local church where they are thriving.
Ernestina, who has been teaching women to sew at the Seed of Hope Centre for 6 years, is making plans to launch a fashion design training program for our graduates. She will teach them to creatively craft patterns for wedding dresses and fancy traditional Zulu garments – opening up new marketing opportunities in Bhekulwandle for high quality sewn goods.
And when we interviewed 24 community members for our Voices of Bhekulwandle documentary this year, we were stunned to hear no requests for outside help – but rather an appeal for locals to gather to discuss their shared problems, and find shared solutions.
These living, breathing signs of transformation give us faith that the renewed community we strive for is possible! Faith that new ideas are cultivating hope for the future. Faith that a new generation of leaders will be willing to serve and sacrifice in order to right the wrongs that have held their community in poverty, dependency and disease. Faith that God is indeed making all things new here amongst us.
CEO, Seed of Hope