The journey began in 2001 into Amaoti, the largest informal settlement in KwaZulu-Natal, to feed starving children, under the umbrella of Indlela, and later Lungisani Indlela. By 2009, 600 children were on the Back-2-School project, life skills training was introduced in the schools, over 30 creches were supported with teacher training and daily food, the sports academy had over 50 soccer teams and 16 young adults from the community were trained to manage these projects.
In April 2010, 4000 guests from Government, Business and Churches, came together for the biggest banquet ever held at the Durban ICC. Special guests and speakers included Dr. Zweli Mkhize, Premier of KZN, John Smit, ex SA rugby captain, Shaun Pollock, ex SA cricket captain, and the world renowned Watoto Children’s Choir from Uganda. This was the beginning of a special partnership between Government, Business and the Church, working together to tackle the orphan crisis in South Africa and Africa.
In June 2010 the first phase of LIV School and the church went under construction, followed by the first 16 houses. Women’s Day on 9th August 2011 celebrated the arrival of the first mothers and the opening of LIV School with 6 pupils. 2011 was a year of building in many areas, including the Social Services and Homes Management, Education, Marketing and Admin departments, as well as the start of LIV Business to not only provide jobs and skills, but to also contribute towards the sustainability of the Village.
The first Village almost complete: 96 homes, an ECD Centre to cater for 200+ preschoolers, pre-school and primary schools up and running with 9 teachers. They are supported by qualified volunteer physiotherapists, occupational and speech therapists. The LIV Social Services and Homes Management departments provide counselling for the children and guidance for the mothers, as well as recruiting and training for future mothers. They are supported by Clinical Psychologists, and a Paediatrician.
Completion of the Multi-purpose hall and Church, with adjacent admin block, to host the 5 Year Celebration. This included a memorable Banquet No 2, for 400 guests, a celebration of how far LIV has come; the Woman of worth conference; Business Breakfast and youth worship concert.
LIV has purchased the 120 hectare neighbouring farm for a further two Villages, catering for another 2,500 children. An option has been taken on further neighbouring land to increase the number of children to be cared for in the LIV Cottonlands Villages to between 4,000 and 5,000 children. LIV is assisting others, who have the same vision, to build Villages in Pretoria, Benoni, Kimberley, Grahamstown, East London and George.
South Africa needs thousands of Villages across the country in order to turn our biggest problem into the solution. These children, who could become future gangsters and street children, can become future leaders and valuable citizens of our nation, in turn helping others to rise up out of poverty and abuse.