Cat's March in Soweto
OLIVE LEAF Foundation has a long and proud history of helping other people through innovative and compassionate programmes. Over the last twenty years we have adapted and developed to keep pace with our changing context. In essence our evolution can be divided into three distinct phases.
Our history goes back to 1989 when a group of Christians from Johannesburg felt the need to help other people in their city. Their initiative – called the LOVE-project - grew gradually through the commitment shown by an eager pool of whole-hearted volunteers. The LOVE-project drew support from a wide base, receiving many in-kind donations, including a vehicle to transport volunteers, food and project beneficiaries.
By the end of 1994 the project was formalised by registering as a non-profit organisation and changing its name to “HOPE-for-the-Poor”. During the same time it became associated with the HOPE Group based in Philadelphia, USA. Our integrated community sensitive programmes focused our organisation on the emerging HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. During 1999 the organisation again went through a name-change process to become HOPE worldwide South Africa, reinforcing its association with Philadelphia. After the disintegration of this association by 2007, we adopted our new identity – OLIVE LEAF Foundation.
As a result of these events, the organisation has arrived at a new phase in its development process, taking the bold decision to change its purpose to sustainable development. This decision was informed by our experience in disadvantaged communities who often identified poverty and other issues as their primary concerns. With our existing programmes unable to meet recipient communities’ primary needs, there is a real possibility of marginalisation of programme outcomes. This together with the realisation that health and social programmes should be imbedded in a strategy for community sustainability helped us to change direction. Today, our purpose simply focuses our organisation on enabling sustainable community development.
Through key partnerships in OLIVE LEAF Foundation’s international, national and local networks, we are continuously striving to improve the quality and expand the range of our interventions. Partnerships are vital in the pursuit of sustainable communities.
We work in closely with government at all levels, non-governmental organisations, universities, research institutions, businesses and international agencies.