Meet Five Minds

Meet Five Minds

australian-aid-logo2
The Southern Africa Livelihoods Project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

In the southern Lesotho region of Maphutseng, the mountainous landscape is harsh and the opportunities for youth are extremely limited.

Yet down the dirt road that winds its way over a mountain range and into the village of Sekoati, a group of young adults are growing a future for themselves. You can see their greenhouse and new chicken shed from a distance and upon reaching the farm, young voices can be heard chatting away as they water their cabbages. Welcome to Five Minds PTY LTD. 


Meet Five Minds

While Five Minds could easily be the name of a famous music act, it is in fact the company name chosen by five young Sesotho vegetable farmers from Sekoati village. The group members range from 20-29 years of age and have diverse backgrounds and educational experience. However, they’re united by their passion for agricultural production and aspiration to commercialise their farm.

FiveMinds-salp-1
FiveMinds-salp-2

Southern Africa Livelihoods Project is born

Five Minds grew out of a youth group called the Sekoati Youth Club that formed in 2012 with the support of a previous World Vision project. The Sekoati Youth Club was initially made up of 30 local youth, however over time the committed group members dwindled to just five. Those five remaining members went on to become Five Minds. 

Then in 2017, World Vision Australia and Australian Aid launched the Southern Africa Livelihoods Project (or SALP as it's more commonly known among participants) which began identifying groups who had the capacity to commercialise their agricultural production. Five Minds were a perfect fit. 


They started to follow the procedures to find the land. It took them time to get the land. Five of them were committed, really interesting young boys and girls, they were all committed. But two of them Sello and Leeu they will be on my neck at the office, updating me.

- Komiti Rabolinyane, project coordinator

Eventually the group managed to gain the official deeds for the land they’d been given by their village chief. When they officially registered with the Ministry of Small Business, Five Minds PTY LTD was born. This ensured the group was eligible to participate in the project and could begin working towards their dream of a successful business that could benefit not just themselves but also the wider community.


 

“Now we don't have reliable water, we fail to make the quality of crops, so that means we have a lot of loss, and we fail our market because our crops are not in that standard that is needed.”

- Sello Ntsere, Five Minds member

 


The challenge of water

Five Minds remember all too well the devastating impact the drought in 2015/2016 had on their community and their farm. Water was so scarce that there wasn't enough for families’ basic needs, let alone the group’s farm. Five Minds were powerless to do anything except watch on as their vegetables died before they could be harvested. 


Nthatisi Bele smiles for a portrait before heading home after a day of work at the Five Minds farm. Nthatisi is one of the five group members.
Hlokomelang Leeu smiles for a portrait before he heads home after  a day of work.

Ever since that drought, whenever Five Minds attempted to expand their vegetable production they have always been limited by the lack of water supply. If the project wanted to enable the group to expand their agricultural enterprise, they would first need to solve the water issue.

In early 2018 a site for a borehole was found, and in May water was successfully reached and the borehole was drilled. The group will soon have piped water to their farm and hopefully will never again have to cease production due to a lack of water.

Before we go to the market, or before we supply, we sit down with our customer and we first ask him or her, ‘What kind of eggs do you need? What kinds of cabbage, or the kind of the supply that you need?’ So if they say ‘please supply me with one hundred trays of eggs every Friday, each and every week.’ We make sure that we do it in the proper way. It's how we treat our market.

– Sello Ntsere, Five Minds member
Sunset driving home from Five Minds farm.

Over the next two years we will follow the journey of Five Minds to learn how the Southern Africa Livelihoods Project is continuing to support them as they work towards achieving their goal of creating a successful farm business.

See more stories of how World Vision is growing livelihoods in Southern Africa.