SEED Community, the beneficiary of the NSBA Charity Golf Day May 2012 was founded in May 2011 by Christina Vesty and Line Hadsbjerg.
The organisation at present supports 27 girls studying a Business Degree at the Maharishi Institute in Johannesburg by providing interest free loans and mentor support.
NB! NSBA members can play an active role by providing SEED girls with student sponsorships and work experience opportunities. Contact SEED community for more information
The following is an article from the NSBA News, No.3, August 2012:
When Christina Vesty finished the book “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson, she was inspired. So inspired in fact that she spend the next 6 months studying tertiary education in developing nations. She came up with a concept and together with her old friend Line Hadsbjerg; she founded SEED Community in May 2011.
“The idea for establishing SEED came about as a response to the lack of access young, bright and capable women have, from disadvantaged backgrounds in developing nations, to complete their studies at a tertiary level” explains Christina.
Having originally wanted to establish the community in India, Christina and Line got the opportunity to pilot their concept at the Maharishi Institute in Johannesburg.
At present SEED supports 27 girls all studying a Business Degree at Maharishi and all coming from the outlying suburbs of Joburg, such as Soweto and Orange Farm as well as from the more rural areas of Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
SEED’s approach is quite unique as it provides the girls with a “Hand Up” more than a “Hand Out”. By providing the girls with interest free student loans, monthly expenses loans, mentor support, and work opportunities with local companies, SEED takes the broader social picture into account by establishing a more secure environment to enable the girls to finish their studies, repay their loans and become independent contributors to society.
“Interestingly, the most common ambition of the SEED girls is to give back to their communities. It is the desire of many of the girls to work in a company to gain knowledge and experience and later to be able to set up a business of their own, which would be of benefit to their community and/or the environment”, adds Christina.
SEED loans are only available for girls who have completed a 2 year foundation course at the Maharishi Institute. The girls have to have a good attendance and academic record as well. SEED requires all applicants to complete a questionnaire and write a short essay from a choice of 3 topics. This is followed by a personal interview by Christina and Line from which the final candidates are selected.
Vision for the Future
SEED’s aim for the future is to continue to connect with companies and individuals from the wider community to provide the platform for SEED girls to be able to achieve their goals and reach their full potential. The SEED School Mentoring Programme forms part of the SEED vision to involve companies directly with the SEED girls.
“We would welcome the opportunity to explore common synergies between SEED Community and the NSBA community to create a positive impact on the society, which we share and at the same time be of mutual benefit to both parties”, says Christina. Practically, this means that the NSBA member companies can play an active role by providing the girls with student sponsorship and work experience opportunities.
The R40, 000 Charity Golf Day proceeds, NSBA has donated to SEED will enable the organisation to launch the aforementioned SEED School Mentoring Programme.
“We are extremely grateful for this donation” stresses Christina and explains how the programme is to work “ [..]. under the guidance of Nikki Florence, who is the head of the Outreach Unit in SABC Education, all SEED girls will take part in a 2 week resident mentor training course. Once completed, the girls will work in schools as mentors to Year 10 and 11 students on a ratio of 1 mentor: 12 students. Those students in turn mentor primary students. In one year 1 SEED mentor will impact the lives of 156 learners”.
And this is exactly what SEED is all about: “Our community is woven from stories of beauty, sorrow and courage, all of which are poignant reflections of the society in which we live. Our community is largely about human connection and the girls’ voices are a constant inspiration to us”, she adds in conclusion.
“A poor background made me who I am. I am very proud of my background because it has made me a stronger person after all the trials I have faced. Although I didn’t choose my beginning, I have full control of where I will end”,
Precious, one of the 27 girls supported by SEED.