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Sharing LOVE & giving HOPE

When women come together as a group, incredible things happen. Founded and run entirely by women, the House of Love and Hope (HOLAH) baby house is a refuge for babies and children who have no one else to care for them. We met two of their North Coast board members and found out more about this remarkable organisation.

It’s hard to imagine how we, as individuals, can really make a difference when we are surrounded by so much need every day. But we can. Just ask these two Mount Edgecombe-based moms and businesswomen, who also happen to be passionate, hands-on board members of this wonderful non-profit organisation.
Both Colleen Wilson and Dominique Deana were immediately drawn in by the love, compassion and care they saw when they first visited HOLAH and met its founders, Kim Brown and Leanne Lorrance. “You can’t help but be blown away by how much their name is ‘lived out’ every day,” says Dominique, who joined the organisation last year.

About Likhon Ithemba and HOLAH
Founders Kim and Leanne started the charity organisation, Likhon Ithemba, after being driven by a need to ensure that children are given a chance to live a better life and be adopted – no matter their background. The HOLAH baby house is one of four projects they run under the charity.

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Kim (who was adopted herself) and Leanne (who has special needs experience) have three adopted children of their own. They have a keen interest in supporting abandoned children with special needs, who very often don’t have anywhere else to go. “The fortitude, perseverance and unbelievable strength that these women show is amazing,” says Colleen, who became a board member and chairperson four years ago.

“We are in awe of them. And the carers, the women who look after the babies and children in the cottages at the home. They have a deep connection with the kids, sharing love and humour with them. This isn’t an institution, it’s a home filled with love.”
Apart from HOLAH, Likon Ithemba also operates Bowl of Plenty, a feeding and support scheme in the local community, the charity Hop Shop which brings in much-needed funds for the organisation, and the Vikela Baby Saver – a state-of-the-art ‘baby safe’ for safe and anonymous baby abandonment, situated in the boundary wall of the charity shop.

Meet the North Coast ladies
A businesswoman and mother of two, Colleen works in the ‘transformational change’ industry. A self-leadership mentor and trainer, she also runs conscious leadership, educator and parenting courses. It was through these courses, she says, that she met Kim and Leanne and learned about HOLAH. “They attended one of my courses and our relationship grew from there. The more I found out about HOLAH, the more my heart started to grow for the organisation.”

Although still juggling her own family and work commitments, Colleen joined the organisation in 2018. Not long afterwards, she took on the role of chairperson. “I probably played my most pivotal role during Covid,” she says. “We did everything to save the organisation. Our overheads don’t go away, even when funding stops. Babies still need care and carers still need salaries. We need electricity and food. It was a real crisis for us, as it was for many others.” Despite managing to keep HOLAH afloat, Colleen says they realised they needed more support. That was when she turned to her good friend, Dominique.

Originally from Durban, Dominique lived in Johannesburg for seven years before returning in 2011 to get married and settle down. While in Jo’burg, she managed her own successful marketing and promotions agency. When they returned to Durban and she had her first baby, she spent a few years filling the role of mom, wife and ‘homemaker’.

She now works with her husband as the marketing manager of Just Flour Mills. “Colleen sent me a long voice note about HOLAH needing some help. I knew I could assist with my marketing and fundraising background.” She became a member of the board in September last year. “There is so much need out there, and this work is just so fulfilling. It’s not a commitment I take lightly, but I get back what I give tenfold.”

How can you help?
Here are two ways to ‘plug in’ and lend a helping hand:
* Donations to the charity shop: Emigrating, spring cleaning or just need to get rid of anything that is in good working order? Donate it!
* Fund-a-future: Each child at HOLAH has his or her own individual needs such as nappies, special food, medicine, therapy and education). If you would like to support a child, have a look at the website and you can ‘meet’ each of the children at HOLAH and find out what their needs are. You can make a once-off or monthly donation of any amount you choose.

Details: www.likhonithemba.co.za, Charity Hop Shop: 121 Helen Joseph Road, Glenwood (or contact Kim at 083 232 5501 if you’d like to arrange collection of your items).

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