Legae La Nnette
Changing Lives, Building Families and Uplifting the Community
The history of Legae La Nnete tells of a couple, who, on a church mission to Namibia and Zambia realised the plight of people less fortunate and inspired them to make a change in their own community.
It begins with the couple wanting to help particularly young children who had been abandoned or become orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS, disease, abuse and so forth. In the process of uplifting their own community by becoming involved with a children’s home, Baby Moses, the family adopted two young children, Tshireletso and Izalleng now fondly known as Tsire and Izzy. Tsire was born with Spina Bifida and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome as a result of intense neglect, sexual and physical abuse while Izzy is an HIV+ orphan who lost both parents to AIDS.
As the journey unfolds, the couple start a soup kitchen and ministry to men and women who find themselves unable to continue with life in a ‘normal’ way eventually becoming involved with men who’ve suffered some form of set-back in their lives as a result of substance abuse, financial loss, divorce, grief etc. and find themselves without a home or means to continue with their lives.
The couple is then offered a 9.422 ha farm to use in Muldersdrift to continue with their mission, and Legae La Nnete is born which has become a sanctuary for at least 195 men over the past few years, who are brought into the home, restored spiritually, are assisted with finding employment and helped to integrate back into society.
Legae was unable to use the land which has a few buildings to continue the women’s and children’s project due to safety and security reasons on the farm, and started the home for men, which has assisted with the sustainability program while they try to seek the necessary funding to develop the land and provide proper safety for women and children to also reside on the farm.
Legae now offers a sanctuary for 27 men currently who come from different walks of life who’ve found themselves destitute, recovering from addiction and others generally needing a place to improve their relationship with God. Legae is able to provide support for these men in the form of a safe, homely environment where they are able to live as they normally would within society or at home. They are provided with three meals a day, counsellors and access to church development courses and programmes. Legae does not discriminate according to race or religion, but is firmly entrenched within Christian principals.
A structured approach is created for the men to slowly integrate themselves back into ‘normal’ life and while not obligated to, they are encouraged to follow this system.
The first 4 months
Men are encouraged to focus purely on themselves. They are not encouraged to seek employment within this period which is dedicated to spiritual and self-restoration. They receive weekly counselling from the Social worker together with weekly group sessions, and working through the 12 Step Celebrate Recovery Program. They also participate and help with the sustainability of the farm i.e. vegetable farming, general maintenance of the farm.
After 3 months
The men are encouraged to begin to seek and consider employment options and are assisted where possible. They are advised to stay on the farm for at least a year after employment and are assisted with how to manage their finances. For example, they have to pay a percentage of their income to cover room and board. They are encouraged to tithe on their income. They are also encouraged to pay child support if they have children. They are re-taught how to save in order to purchase basic effects to set up home such as their own bed, a fridge, stove, crockery, cutlery etc. and generally given basic skills to equip them to re-establish themselves within a ‘normal’ life. They are also encouraged to reconnect with family and to continue to participate in the programmes, attend church, and attend courses as they normally would if living on the outside. To facilitate this we hold a “Family Day” on the farm every 2nd month. Parents, grandparents, spouses, children and friends are all welcome. There is generally a speaker who will share with the families whilst another speaker will share with the residents. Thereafter we all enjoy a “bring and braai” which enables everyone to interact.
After 1 year
After one year of employment, the men are ready to spread their wings and are encouraged to seek alternative accommodation as an environment of this nature can also create complacency with where they are and some may develop the ‘institutionalisation’ mentality. This is not encouraged as this does not assist them with their personal growth in any way. However, where the leadership feels that an individual is not ready to integrate, they may be encouraged to stay a bit longer and provided with the necessary tools to help them integrate. Basically, they are placed on ‘notice’ in the last year as they are not encouraged to stay longer than two years.
We built our first broiler unit ourselves according to the “Dicla” design. Different.org assisted with “cloud” funding to the value of R55 000, which included all the equipment together with electricity and gravity water feed. This has been our most successful sustainable project so far and we are supported by Astral Foods Limited. Their National Chicks division supplies us with 500 chicks every 7 weeks and now purchase the feed from Meadow Feeds division at a discounted price. They have committed to continue supporting us and have suggested we build additional units to improve our sustainability.