Driven by faith to help others

Arrianne Hayes-Hill, founder and chairperson of The Seed Foundation. l SUPPLIED

Arrianne Hayes-Hill, founder and chairperson of The Seed Foundation. l SUPPLIED

Published Feb 18, 2024


Durban — Our Unsung Hero this week is one whose acts of benevolence are driven by her faith in God and love for humanity.

Founder and chairperson of The Seed Foundation, Arrianne Hayes-Hill, 63, from Durban North, said their core focus was uplifting the poor.

The foundation is a registered non-profit organisation (NPO) and public benefit organisation established in 2017 which focuses on the transformation of poor communities through the provision of integrated community-based initiatives that address education, nutrition, health and well-being.

Their work is primarily undertaken at the Malacca Road informal settlement in Redhill where various projects are run from modified containers for the benefit of the community and those in the surrounding areas.

These initiatives include:

  • Crèche/daycare facility for babies, executed by trained caregivers from the community.
  • School sponsorship programme, “School Buddy”, which sponsors each child with school uniform, shoes, stationery and transport.
  • Food kitchen – nutritious meals are provided for the children in the ECD Centre. Additionally, sandwiches are provided for the children who attend the homework club. The kitchen also provides relief to community members in the event of disasters such as floods.
  • Homework Club – Each child is assisted with homework, reading and other activities between 3 and 4pm daily during the school term.
  • Abenzi Empowerment Programme, a life-skills training and development programme with women in the community, to enable them to learn how to sew, knit and crochet, and equip them to sell their products through flea markets.
  • Community empowerment – Skills development courses are provided to deserving individuals (where funding is available) in sectors such as plumbing, bricklaying and painting. The team consists of 11 other employees and 20 volunteers from the community who assist on an ad hoc basis.

Hayes-Hill said she was inspired to work with the community after meeting people from there in church.

“I started working with this community in 2009 as part of our church outreach programme. Over the years I was impacted by the children – who did not choose this way of life – and I felt there was a need to intervene to help them have a different outcome for their lives.

“Education is the key, so our focus changed to education, and more specifically foundational education from 2 years up. The NPO was birthed out of this need in 2017 to make it a separate entity and put more focus on meeting the needs of the community, particularly the children,” she said.

Funds are raised through various means, including individuals, small companies, corporates and trusts, as well as through directed fund-raising.

Hayes-Hill holds an IMM diploma from the Durban University of Technology, an advanced diploma in marketing, a worship certificate obtained through the South African Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Theology obtained in 2015. She is also a trained spiritual director with the Jesuit Institute of South Africa.

“There is no more room for expansion where we are, but this does not mean we cannot extend our reach,” Hayes-Hill said.

“We have gained many insights on what works and what does not. We have overcome many challenges, so I would like to take what we have learnt and start applying it in other informal settlements in the area – Mthambo and Briardene where the needs are great,” she said.

Hayes-Hills added that she also envisages building a formal school that is affordable and accessible for people in the area.

Sunday Tribune