The story of Seeds of Hope begins in Zambia with Gift Simuzazu. Gift’s parents died of Aids when he was young. He went to live with his uncle’s family in a nearby village, where he was abused. One day, he borrowed his uncle’s bicycle and accidentally broke it. His uncle locked him in a hut and set it on fire. Twelve-year-old Gift was severely burned over most of his body.
Angela Myanda and the Kabwata Orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia became Gift’s new family and home. For two years, Angela and the Alkare Foundation worked relentlessly to bring Gift to the United States, where he could be treated at Shriner’s Hospital in Sacramento. In May of 2009, Gift arrived in Santa Rosa, California to live with Kirk and Renée Afman, and their twin teenagers, Karla and Garrit.
Gift stayed with the Afman’s for 14 months while undergoing five painful surgeries and numerous treatments. He spent much of his time with Renée, doing schoolwork, working alongside her in her vegetable garden, hanging out and learning about the plants at the nursery where she works. While here, he celebrated his 18th birthday with a surprise party complete with cake, candles, presents and a huge surrogate family.
When it was time to return home, Gift was restored in both body and spirit. Renée and Karla escorted him home and stayed for two weeks at the Kabwata Orphanage. They experienced life in the orphanage and met the children there – wonderful, playful, respectful kids – kids who understood the importance of being educated so that they would be able to provide for their families in the future.
It was from this spirit that Seeds of Hope was born, but how to make this happen?
Seeds of Hope began as an idea to bring donated organic, heirloom vegetable seeds to the Kabwata Orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia enabling them to grow their own vegetables and provide healthy food while at the same time reducing their food costs. This idea began as a small seed and has grown into a wonderful harvest.
In 2012 Gwen Kilchherr and Renee Afman began to share their vision of a garden/farm. One year later, they were on their way to Africa after experiencing generous blessings and with donated seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds to teach the children how to plant and care for the newly planted garden.
They didn’t stop there! They also went to 4 other orphanages in Uganda bringing seeds along the way. The seeds were accepted with heartfelt gratitude.
They are so thankful for the experiences set before them and look forward to what God has next for “Seeds of Hope”