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.