It’s Harvest Time in South Africa

Following is an excerpt from ER partner Living Hope’s latest eNewsletter. Here, John Thomas shares how teaching farming is helping vulnerable people learn a trade, gain confidence, build relationships and become sustainable.

By John Thomas, Executive Director, Living Hope Trust

Living Hope’s ‘Harvest Training Initiative’ program trains students in agriculture, business and missions. It is the combination of these three subjects which enables students to be trained as farmers in a holistic way.

At the moment we have 20 students enrolled in four different phases. The day is divided between classroom time and practical work on the farm. The aim of the course is to teach students the “from farm to fork” methodology. Every vegetable we grow is used in some way. Our first-grade veggies are delivered to the markets and hospitals for their salads for patients.

The business side of of the course is divided in three different subjects, business, project planning and finance. At the end of phase three students pitch their business plans to a panel of judges and they compete to win the right to farm in their own hydroponic greenhouse. The winner gets the opportunity to run this greenhouse for the last six months of their course applying everything they’ve learned during their first year of the course.

The Mission’s class uses ‘The Live School’ curriculum from World Mission Centre and covers the most obvious subjects in order to get trained for missions. In order to qualify for the certificate, students go on a mission trip. Last month students went to serve people in the Koringberg district. Students hosted a holiday club, showed a film, and did street outreach to the elderly – 331 people were touched through this outreach.

Through the training, it is envisioned that farmers return to their home town to develop sustainable agri-businesses. As a result of their improved work ethic, community development, business and agricultural skills, they are able to be a great help to their communities. They are able to speak with authority and credibility into their neighbors’ farming activities and lives.

Our graduates are able to share their knowledge with neighboring farmers. In this way, there is an increase in employment, economic development and farming produce.

Learn more about Living Hope.

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Iris and 100 Years of Jungle Oats

(Nov. 16, 2018)

We love sharing stories that demonstrate the best of people and organizations. ER partner Living Hope recently posted the story of Iris Winstanley, a 100-year-old of Fish Hoek, South Africa. Read on and be encouraged.

By John Thomas, Executive Director, Living Hope Trust

This year President Nelson Mandela would have turned a 100 years old if he was still alive. President Mandela is fondly remembered by South Africans as a president who wanted to bring change and blessing to a struggling South Africa. Here in our own Fish Hoek Valley we have a lady, Iris Winstanley who turned 100 about two months ago, everyone wanted to know: “what is your secret Iris?” Her answer was that she eats a bowl of Jungle Oats porridge for breakfast every morning of her life! At the age of 100 years old, Iris is the example of health, vitality and even goes for walks frequently.​

Iris’s daughter decided to contact Jungle Oats, a porridge Company to tell them about her mother’s morning breakfast ritual of the past 100 years and how wonderfully healthy she is. Her story touched the company’s heart and they responded to her story and decided that they would donate a hundred boxes of Jungle Oats porridge to a charity of her choice.

Like her contemporary Nelson Mandela, Iris decided that she wanted to bless people and children in Ocean View in particular.  Her daughter contacted Living Hope and the handover was arranged to happen at our Kids Club. It was pure joy to see the little ones faces when they received their boxes of Oats porridge to take home. What a blessing it is to have partners like Iris, thank you for your act of kindness and being a blessing to our community!

Learn more about Living Hope

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Farming Student Blossoms at Living Hope

(Aug. 15, 2017)

In Sun Valley, South Africa, ER partner Living Hope’s Harvest Training Initiative (HTI) equips students with the skills to become successful commercial farmers. The full-time course runs for 18 months and is divided into classroom and practical experience, with subject areas including business, community development and life skills.

Living Hope founder John Thomas writes, “The vision of this training is to train both urban and rural farmers who will be able to grow food for our nation and develop the communities in which they farm. We are basically using tomatoes and other vegetables to grow and invest into people’s lives.”

Langa Yandisa has truly blossomed from that investment. He entered the program after having worked as a security guard for five years and quickly demonstrated a knack both for farming and business. After completing the initial training in 15 months, he entered Living Hope’s entrepreneurial program, leased a greenhouse from the organization and generated a steady output of vegetables to sell.

He also entered a local entrepreneur competition – and won. That qualified him a state competition, which he also won, sending him on to the national competition in 2016. Going up against entrants who held MBA degrees and were backed by extensive funding, Langa finished the competition ranked as South Africa’s fourth best entrepreneur!

Today Langa is developing is setting up his own vegetable tunnel and developing his business on Living Hope property. “He is a clear case of someone who has received hope and had the despair of poverty broken in his life,” says Thomas. “That’s what Living Hope is all about – ‘bringing hope and breaking despair.’”

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Suicide By HIV? Not If Living Hope Can Help

(Oct. 18, 2016)

By Alyssa Carrel

Amahle* was twelve years old when she decided to have sex.

Growing up in the township of Masiphumelele, she knew the incredible risk of contracting HIV/AIDS; she was counting on it.

I don’t know what it feels like to live life dreading the future—a future seemingly devoid of hope. I don’t know what thoughts have to occur to make one decide that a horribly painful death is better than any future they can see.

Suicide by HIV; that was her choice.

That should never be a decision any human being has to face.

141Living Hope, an ER partner in Cape Town, South Africa, seeks to change the hopeless mindset through their HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment program, Living Right.

They are fervently working toward those ends by offering testing, support groups, counseling, treatment, and life skills education to those suffering from this chronic illness.

Living Hope knows the best solution to the HIV/AIDS pandemic is prevention and the best prevention is education. They educate by reaching out into the communities in which they work: pregnant moms, parents, primary school children, teens and adults.

It has been reported that 25% of the population of Maisphumelele is HIV-positive. Because of the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS, there is no way to accurately calculate the devastation of this chronic illness. Many are believed to have died from HIV/AIDS without ever having been tested or treated because the shame of the confirmation was too great.

It is the children that inevitably face the harshest consequences.

Many children become the heads of their households, suddenly expected to care for their dying parents and keep their family together; burdened with keeping themselves and siblings in school, feeding the family, paying rent and getting treatment for their parent(s).

living-hope1An estimated 2 million children in Cape Town, South Africa are now orphans because of HIV/AIDS. Orphans are at great risk of falling into cycles of abuse and exploitation as well as contracting HIV/AIDS themselves, often being forced into sex to survive.

One-third of the people infected with HIV/AIDS in the world live in South Africa.

There is great need to care for those living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Whether contraction was their choice or against their will, Living Hope believes every person deserves to be cared for with love and compassion until their final day.

They’re fighting for an HIV/AIDS free generation; fighting for a future of possibilities beyond a prognosis.

They’re fighting for life and life abundant.

*Name changed for privacy.

Alyssa Carrel serves with Extreme Response in South Africa.