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From 4-7th November AIFEC held their annual Alliance Conference in Stutterheim, East London, where we were honoured to have Lynne Franks facilitate the workshop using the theme of “Planting the Seeds of Change”.

Lynne is recognised as the UK’s leading Women’s Empowerment Guru. She is a successful business women, author, broadcaster and speaker. Lynne has become a champion of women’s empowerment, ethical business practices and social justice issues.   She is the founder of SEED, an acronym for Sustainable Enterprise and Empowerment Dynamics, as a model for using principles of femininity, sustainability and social responsibility in business. In 2009, she launched the SEED Community Site, a social networking website to connect women entrepreneurs around the world.

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Lynne Franks facilitated the workshop

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Singing, dancing, talking, laughing, sharing and just letting rip

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The SEED Tree of Hope full of wishes and dreams after the first day of the AIFEC gathering.

It was with great excitement that Priscilla introduced Lynne to a group of 36 woman attending the AIFEC workshop. These woman make up AIFEC’s task-force of warrior women and include Caregivers, Managers and Board Members of our CBOs in the rural Eastern Cape, Free State and Cape Town. Several of AIFEC Trustees and office staff from the Cape Town and Eastern Cape office were also privileged to hear the words of wisdom and experience the transformation, energy and healing that took place over these magical 3 days.  Adele Marais from UNISA, (Africa’s leading open distance learning institution) presented their courses, giving the women the opportunity to further their own education and others within their community.

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Each day, the morning started with an optional yoga session led by Marion and quiet meditation time and then transformed into a vibrant burst of song and dance as everyone connected with each other and opened themselves up to exploring so many new concepts and generating ideas on how each one, as individuals and collectively, can bring about positive change, personally and in the communities in which they work.

It was an emotional journey as we heard individual stories of hardships and adversaries and shared values which are important to us. The workshop focused on health and well-being – what each one of us can do to improve our own health and of those being cared for in the CBOs. Traditional medicine (plants and herbs), applying organic permaculture principles and sustainable practices were shared.

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With the workshop being held in such a beautiful setting, the group took the opportunity to do a silent walk through the forest to a waterfall where many felt it was time to not only soak in the beauty of the place and to give thanks in united prayer but to also leave behind the hurt and anxiety being carried. Each person came back lighter and uplifted, carrying a symbolic item from the forest. One such item was a lily and it’s collector explained to all that these lilies grow in such muddy soil and yet are so pure and white – we too are like this – able to bloom despite our  surroundings!

A beautiful setting

A beautiful setting

The deep serenity of the space upheld by the silence of the trek

The deep serenity of the space upheld by the silence of the trek

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Each person came back from the walk lighter and uplifted

An excellent session focused all on creative leadership and building communities which led back to their own community based organizations and their vision beautifully conceived as flourishing gardens and orchards nurturing the children’s health and well-being.

In these short 3 days, the tears of an emotional journey were replaced with laughter and love and the sound of the most beautiful African voices rising in harmony and prayer, dancing and rejoicing in everything we have to be grateful for and knowing that each one is now on a stronger path in life – able to connect with their inner feminine self, be true to their own personal values – strengthening the amazing human beings they are and more able to continue the incredible work to support the orphans and vulnerable children in their Drop-in centres.  A new SEED Circle has been born and AIFEC wishes to thank Lynne for donating her time and sharing her incredible experience with us.

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To read more about Lynne and the amazing work she does, see For more information about SEED, see: http://www.seednetwork.com/php/summary.php?id=1&ID=

One comment

  • 20 Nov 2018

    Khanyisile Madikiza said

    I would like to be part of this organisation to be able to empower my rural community I am in KZN.

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