Responding to Need
Seed of Hope began in just one room of a disused building on the rural outskirts of Durban. In 2003, founders Derek and Heather Liebenberg and a small core of volunteers felt the call to respond to the Aids crisis and its impact on families in KwaZulu Natal. At that time, the HIV pandemic was unchecked, as anti-retroviral medications were not yet widely available. The Liebenbergs launched an afternoon drop-in program for children who would otherwise be unattended and at risk of drifting into mischief, gangs or other dangerous behaviour. The classes were fun, teaching games, songs, crafts, Bible lessons and life skills. Soon dozens of children were attending daily and the program had been given a name – Simunye Time. Simunye means “we are one” in isiZulu.
In the following months, the childrenʼs program gave birth to strategies to help people access basic health care, a support group for HIV- positive community members, and a small sewing class for unemployed women. Many of our clients were deeply affected by the HIV pandemic and suffered heartbreaking losses. It was a time when hope was scarce in the community of Bhekulwandle. Our vision to equip local community members to overcome challenges was birthed through the experiences and resilience of these friends and neighbours.
Trial and Growth
Two years after its small beginnings Seed of Hope was visited by King Goodwill Zwelithini, who presided over a grand opening ceremony and gave the organization his blessing. Such recognition brought momentum and a sense of optimism. Sadly however, Derek Liebenberg passed away before the end of 2005. Despite this tragedy, the local staff and volunteers persevered in their faith and commitment to serving the community. Over the years since, the combined leadership and dedication of the Seed of Hope team has built on the foundation established by the Liebenbergs, bringing growth and greater impact to the organisation’s work over the next 10 years.
A New Chapter
In 2016, Seed of Hope embarked on an exciting expansion, becoming the official owners of the former Bible college campus where it has operated since 2003. This brought vast potential for growth, with added facilities and ample room for future development. We are in the process of refurbishing the buildings for use.
Seed of Hope’s history has forged a unity among staff and volunteers from varied cultures and backgrounds, and instilled the organisation with resilience. Today, a passionate leadership team and dynamic programs testify to our vision of Working Together To Build Thriving Communities.