As with any great story, it can only be truly experienced by looking in the rearview mirror. As we look back to 2005, what we realize is that our board of directors were disciples being woven together towards God's journey.
This journey begins with a pastor in the Masodi Village who observed a need. The parents were desiring a safe nursery school for their children while they went to work. So Pastor Ramabu and his wife, built them a shed beside their house. The kids came; and kept coming, and kept coming. They quickly outgrew that tiny shed, so they built the Creche. (a South African preschool) The children and the parents loved the education and training they were receiving, so they returned after each year. Soon the kids were old enough to go to school, but the parents didn't want them to leave their nurturing environment, so they begged for the Creche to enlarge to Grade R (South African kindergarten).
Year after year, the parents pleaded to expand. Grade 1, then 2, then 3, and before they knew it, Jeni Basson was heard saying, "Ooops, we started a school." And not just any school, but an amazing school of dedicated teachers, incredible learners and shining beacon in the areas educational foundation. You can read more about it here.
But eventually, the kids grew up, and left the elementary school to go on to Secondary School, what we would call in the United States "Junior High School". Although the Maruda School would invite its "alumni" back for their annual graduations, the alumni had no other way to stay connected to the solid foundation they had received while at Maruda School. Then Pastor Koos Basson had a vision, The L.A.N.D.
Pastor Koos wanted to instill in the young adults and teenagers' self-confidence. He wanted to help them achieve hard to reach goals. He wanted to climb a mountain with them. The message being brought that year (2015) to South Africa, by IMD Master Teacher, Candy Colson, was "Where the Rubber Leaves the Road". As Koos was driving past the mountain that had captivated him to climb it, Pastor Kook suddenly turned right and went off-roading toward that mountain, determined to find a path to it. And they did. In fact, they found one of the few parcels of land that was amazingly still available after apartheid repositioning - a river front property - directly across from that mountain. Through discussions with the chief, he agreed to give it to them, and the L.A.N.D. was conceived.
Along with Candy Colson that year, were two other ladies, Lynne Shelton, an American business attorney, and Andrea Camden, an Institutional Financial Services Program Manager. After hearing their story, the Holy Spirit nudged, and the Raising a Nation Foundation was formed, to birth The Leadership Academy for a New Direction (the "LAND); to support leadership development initiatives in South Africa and Haiti and to continue to grow the Maruda school.
Come watch us grow...
"For lack of guidance; a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers." Prov. 11:14