Investing in Lives

Through HopeShares we are able to make investments into communities by strengthening local leaders and training their staff. The ongoing mentorship and relationship building, at our core, drives us each day. There is no better opportunity for this then spending time in South Africa with the staff of Seed of Hope.

In the spring of this year, Trish Pritchard, long time HopeShares board member and close friend of Seed of Hope, spent six weeks in South Africa supporting the Seed of Hope staff. Trish is responsible for Member Care as part of the HopeShares Board of Directors. Trish is also a trained Doula who felt led to bring her expertise to two of the key staff at Seed of Hope who were expecting babies. When the opportunity for this trip came up, the HopeShares Board of Directors fully supported this investment into the ministry of the staff of Seed of Hope. Trish raised the funds necessary for this trip through family, friends and others she knew through her Doula contacts.

For the past 13 years, Trish and her husband John have been closely linked with the development of Seed of Hope and the staff after spending 6 months on the ground in South Africa. This trip and subsequent trips have allowed close bonds with many of the staff to develop.

New South African Grandbaby
One such connection was with Thola and her husband, Thabo. John and Trish consider Thola’s children to be her South African grandbabies. Thola is the Youth and Children’s Director at Seed of Hope. Trish was able to be there to support Thola through the birth of her third child, a beautiful girl, Lesedi. Trish also helped Thola and her family for the next month as she spent many days and nights there – learning to run their household with their routines, adjusting to living without a sink and running water in the kitchen and doing laundry outside. This time was a priceless investment into their lives.

First time parents
Kierra Ward, the CEO of Seed of Hope South Africa was also expecting her first baby shortly after Trish returned home to Canada. Trish was able to provide prenatal care to Kierra and prepare both her and her husband Pete for labour, birth and becoming parents. This was an amazing opportunity to deepen the personal friendship between Kierra and Trish as well as prepare Kierra and Pete for the next stage of their life.

Friendship built on 13 years
Trish’s other desire was to support Heather Liebenberg, co-founder of Seed of Hope, and current Pastoral Care and Overseer at Seed of Hope. Trish and John had been on the ground in South Africa 13 years ago when Heather’s husband Derek passed away. They stepped in to help Heather through the grieving process and to help run Seed of Hope during this difficult time.

This spring, one week before Trish left for South Africa, Heather decided she needed to return home to Canada to be with her sick brother and family and to visit a few supporters. A big part of Trish’s trip turned into supporting Heather in looking after her son, Caleb, while Heather travelled to Canada. Caleb and Trish really bonded during the 2-1/2 weeks Heather was gone as Trish did the school routine, cooked meals, made lunches and drove Caleb around. Upon Heather’s return, she and Trish were able to spend some great times together with Trish encouraging Heather in her ministry and parenting as well as provide some very practical assistance with her vehicle and personal care.

“The day before I left, Caleb piped up from the back seat of the car – ‘Auntie Trish – you should adopt me and my Mom!’ I thought that was the best compliment I could have received from the 6 weeks being in and out of their home. I assured him that I kind of already have.”

Time spent at Seed of Hope

It is always a joy and privilege to spend any time at Seed of Hope. Trish had tried to make time before she left to sew a crib blanket for Thola’s new baby, as she had done for her other babies. Trish bought all the material ahead of time and brought it with her in hopes that she could use a machine at Seed of Hope. It turned out to be an awesome sewing project and teaching moment as Ernestina, the sewing instructor, had never quilted before. Twice a week Trish and Ernestina sewed together and got the blanket done. Ernestina now has the knowledge of how to make one and there are many ladies who already want to learn how to sew one for personal use or as part of their small business.

Trish was also able to take time with each Seed of Hope staff, either taking them out for lunch, making sure they had specific time together or visiting them in their home. Trish also put on a nice little dessert and tea time for many of the lady staff. These times enhanced all the sisterhood relationships they have as many of the staff struggle through life on their own, running their own houses.

Trish has expressed over and over that these six weeks were a time that she will never forget. She was able to walk alongside and participate in the lives of the women of Seed of Hope.

HopeShares approach to community development begins with the leaders in the community and organizations. We help improve their effectiveness in achieving significant impact on people and communities within their reach. Trish’s time in South Africa was significant in furthering the relationships and health of those who lead at Seed of Hope.