Perhaps you’ve read When Helping Hurts (Corbett & Fikkert), or come across articles that encourage westerners to give thoughtful consideration of the kinds of assistance we provide in the developing world.
Some examples of ineffective (or even haphazard) “help” delivered by well-meaning visitors can leave us wondering, “What do people in developing countries need, and is my presence helpful?”
On reflection, these questions are a beautiful starting point because they displace the assumption that we already know what is needed, and that the answer includes ourselves! And they can help us discover ways to bless the people who are already making a difference.
When Seed of Hope invites teams to get involved, we’re careful to focus on building local capacity. In practice, that means an emphasis on equipping on-the-ground leaders in South Africa with the tools and training they need to be their best.
Here are a few recent examples of how Western supporters and volunteers served the Seed of Hope centre in the Bhekulwandle township:
- Two Centre Street Church (Calgary) pastors delivered a training workshop on managing stress, grief counselling and emotional and spiritual self-care for our program staff;
- A recent university graduate invested 3 months in preparing a funding proposal for a major 3-year farming training program, which has since been approved by Canadian Food Grains Bank;
- NEXT Christian Community in St. Albert donated a CD-4 testing machine for our HIV program;
- A team from Centre Street Church spent afternoons meeting local entrepreneurs and helping them create attractive flyers and business cards to market their products and services;
- A Canadian videographer spent weeks conducting interviews and editing videos to show the life-changing work Seed of Hope is doing.
- Volunteers have also helped us develop teaching curriculum and improve administrative systems around our offices;
- Several donors are helping us finance the translation of our farming training manuals and DVD into the Zulu language.
These contributions have a few things in common: they are very relevant to our existing work in Bhekulwandle; they provide unique skills and resources that improve effectiveness; they do not displace locals from roles of leadership.
Helping local entrepreneurs create flyers and business cards
Teaching local youth to reach for their dreams
On behalf of everyone at Seed of Hope Centre, I’d like to thank all our volunteers and supporters for choosing to make a real, lasting difference by helping without hurting.
Seed of Hope CEO