Our South Africa Staff
Sharon Hatherell
Sharon Hatherell, Program Director

Sharon leads our food distribution to each of the feeding sites and will be teaching weekly/bi-weekly bible programs with the kids. Sharon also supports multiple Ministry Center administrative tasks.

Sharon formerly taught foundation phase for five years at a local school in eManzana. Before that, she was in the hospitality industry for many years. “I’m excited to be a part of the Lydia’s Mission team, and to see what the Lord has in store for me, as I continue to feed my passion to work with children, and be a part of uplifting our community.”

Minah Shongwe
Minah Shongwe, Project and Sewing Supervisor

Minah is a local community member living in eManzana, South Africa for the past 10 years. She was the first employee of Lydia’s Mission, and shortly after she was promoted to the Operations and Employee Supervisor. To this day she still works as a machinist on the sewing project, along with her supervisory role. Her favorite animal to make is the lion. Her life has changed so much since starting work for Lydia’s Mission, one example is that she was able to build her family a house. She is highly respected by peers and community members and is vital to the success of Lydia’s Mission. In her free time, Minah is a committed member of the Evangelical Gospel Church. She has one daughter, Celiwe and is a proud grandmother of three. One fun fact you may not know is that Minah is a super-fan of wrestling!  Her current goal is to continue to work on her new house and to provide for her family.

Thabi Zulu
Thabi Zulu, Driver and Pattern Cutter

Thabi started working for Lydia’s Mission in October of 2017. So much has changed for Thabi since starting here. She was able to earn her driving license and built a house in eManzana. As she is one of the only drivers, Thabi has been given a promotion for all the help she provides. She loves to sew the lion and the elephant. She has 2 daughters, Londiwe 16, and Mangalisile 14. Thabi is a big soccer fan and cheers on her team, Kizer Chiefs. She also loves to sing! A dream of Thabi’s is to own her own car and she likes the Range Rover. Thabi is one of the strongest women we have on the project and she will always help no matter where we need her help. Although she is shy when having her picture taken, she is quick with a joke or smile and will light up the room when you are with her.

Shaun Kriel
Shaun Kriel, Farm Manager

Shaun is the farm manager at Lydia’s Mission (and husband to Claire Brown!). Shaun loves Jesus and the people of Africa and we are so grateful that he has joined our team. Shaun has experience through various industries ranging from property management, sales of properties, health and safety and Emergency medical services. He will add a much needed maintenance service on the ministry farm, Hope Centers and Gogo Center. He also brings a passion to love people well and serve faithfully in his new role. He has many ideas to reduce operating costs for the ministry while continuing to develop income generating projects.

Portia Mdhluli
Portia Mdhluli, Children’s Ministry Manager

My name is Portia S. Mdhluli.  I am 42 years old.  I was born in 1980 in Swaziland (Eswatini) but now a citizen of South Africa.  I have 4 girls and 2 grandsons.  I was raised by a single mom because my father passed away when my mom was 8 months pregnant with me.  My mom was a street vender selling fruits and vegetables.  I was baptized when I was 20 years old.  Even with my poor background I have always tried to have a positive attitude to not get myself down.  My life verse that I use to encourage me is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengths me”.  I let this verse encourage me and helps me to respect my background.  I know I can make my life better for myself and my kids.  My kids grew up at a carepoint very similar to Lydia’s Mission Hope Centers.  They ate and did their schooling there.  They helped raise my daughters and I am thankful to God each day for bringing people to help people like me. I knew that God loved me and provided for me through them.  I now want to do the same for the kids and families served by Lydia’s Mission Hope Centers since I am now able.  Ezekiel 20:18-19

Ineke Von Broembsen
Ineke Von Broembsen, Medical Nurse

Ineke Von Broembsen is our medical nurse on staff. Ineke was born in the Netherlands to missionary parents and has lived on 3 different continents while her father was preaching the gospel.  She qualified as a nurse and midwife in 1988 and has worked in numerous hospitals in South Africa.  She also ran a mission clinic in Badplaas for a few years where she treated many patients a day.  She has a passion and love for the African people.  Ineke does regular visits and medical check ups at our Gogo Center, creche and Hope Centers along with monitors their physical conditions.  Ineke is married to Mark and they share 3 children.  2 of their children are also in the medical field.  Ineke is excited to work with Lydia’s Mission and making a difference in the Badplaas community.

Khethiwe Nkosi
Khethiwe Nkosi, Sewing Machinist

Khethiwe started with Lydia’s Mission in October of 2017. Many things have changed since she started. When she started here she didn’t have many working skills and now she has learned how to sew and is proficient in her tasks. Other job skills she works on are her English when she is asked to translate and her business skills when she is asked to sell eggs. She even volunteers for overtime on the weekends to help provide chicken care! One goal that she is currently working on is helping her mother and sisters build a house where they can all stay together. Although now they are out in the country, they will work to build a house in the town of eManzana with enough rooms for everyone. Khethiwe has two sons Thando is 10 and Mpendulo is 7 years old. For fun, Khethiwe likes to swim, hang out with her friends and she LOVES music and dancing. She participates in the Worship Team at her church, Emanuel Prayer Mountain. Her dream is to finish school and training to become a pilot. She has taken the 1st round of courses and is saving up for the next steps! It’s easy to spot Khethiwe’s bright, fun-loving, silly energy and we hope she keeps her spunk as she works to achieve her goals!

Sbongile Nkosi
Sbongile Nkosi, Hand Sewer

Sbongile started work at Lydia’s November 1st of 2018. She met Claire at the women’s group at the eManzana garbage dump. She was making mats out of recycled plastic bags before coming to this project. She learned how to sew here at Lydia’s Mission. Her favorite animals to make are the giraffe and the lion. Sbongile’s life has changed a lot since starting work here as she is now able to buy food for her children. Sbongile’s children are son Harry, daughter Lindiwe, daughter Zinhle, daughter Nonhlanhla, and son, Thabo. When she is not working she can be found cleaning her house and taking care of her garden. She is also a faithful member of her church, Shilo. Her dream is to build a house for her family and to be able to provide food for them. Sbongile is a gentle, sweet and kind woman. She has a calming presence. Her faith and her sisterhood make this project a better place. We are so thankful to have someone as hardworking, humble and as faithful as Sbongile working with us.

Josephine Nonyane
Josephine Nonyane, Hand Sewer

Josephine started working with Lydia’s Mission in September of 2018. She met Claire at a women’s group in the farm village right outside of eManzana. She learned how to sew when she started work on this project. Her favorite animals to sew are the elephant, rhino and the giraffe. Her life changed so much since coming to work for Lydia’s Mission. Prior to working here, she had a bad situation at home. She was collecting tin recyclables to trade in for little money. Things have improved and she is happy and proud to have a job. Her joy comes out in daily smiles, laughter and dancing. It’s contagious. Josephine is a mother to 5 children, although 2 have passed away. Her surviving children are a daughter Deliwe, and twins a son Themba and a daughter Thembisile. She is a grandmother to seven beautiful grandchildren. When she is not working she tends to her home and yard as she values what she has and wants to take good care of it. Josephine has set a goal of building a new home and hopes that working hard at Lydia’s Mission can help her achieve that goal. Although Josephine is one of the oldest members of the staff team, she is full of life energy and smiles. I am constantly impressed when she lifts and carries more than the younger members of the team. We are so lucky to have an amazing woman like Josephine as a part of Lydia’s Mission.

Magdelene Nkosi
Magdelene Nkosi, Hand Sewer

Magdelene, nicknamed Magda, started working for Lydia’s Mission in August 2017. She met Claire through one of her sisters at church. She learned how to sew on project, and the lion is her favorite animal to make. Magda is able to support her family, as the only working member and she uses the money she makes here care for her uncle’s child Kwanele who is 5. She helps to raise him. Magda is a talented singer and enjoys singing worship songs. We are thankful that many mornings she is one of the song leaders here on the project. Magadaline has a big heart as her dream is that she wishes to make enough money to help others. Magda wished to be a social worker before coming to Lydia’s Mission. Although she is not in social work, she does a lot to take care of the women here. She is a wonderful cook and along with sewing, she helps to prepare lunch for the ladies almost every day. We are so thankful for her.

Fikile Lukhele
Fikile Lukhele, Sewing Machinist

Fikile started working for Lydia’s Mission in June of  2019. She learned about this job from her church friend, Magdeline, who works on the project. Since working at a Lydia’s Mission, her situation at home has gotten much better and improved her quality of life. Fikile has 2 children, daughter Sandisile 24, and a son Sakhile, 18. She is also a grandmother to 5-year-old Bayanda. She knew how to sew before coming to the project and her favorite animal to make is the rhino.  When she is not at work she is a skilled homemaker, cleaning, tending to her yard and taking care of her family. Fikile has a big heart and one of her dreams is to own her own project one day. She loves and respects the elderly and would love her project to be focused around that. We are so thankful for Fikile’s smile, positive attitude and her dedication to the Lord.

Patricia Mavuso
Patricia Mavuso, Sewing Machinist

Patriciah started on December 1st of 2017. She is part-time here at Lydia’s Mission as she also holds another job as a cook for eManzana Engabezweni School. She has two sons, Mcendisi 18, and a daughter Nkululeko 11. She works on the sewing project and her favorite animal to sew is the lion. Her life has changed by working here as she is able to earn more money to help her family. She is proud to be able to provide for them. When she is not working she likes to work in her garden, tending to both flowers and vegetables. Her dream and goal at the current moment are to build a big house with a beautiful bath. She wants to be able to relax in a bathtub like a queen! Patriciah is lively, sweet, reliable and blessed. We are grateful to have her working with us.

Mavis Nkosi
Mavis Nkosi, Sewing Machinist

Mavis started with Lydia’s Mission December 1st of 2017.  She met Claire through being friends with the project supervisor, Minah. Mavis’s favorite animal to sew is the giraffe and she learned to sew by coming to this project. There has been much change in her life since she started here as she is now able to support her family and take care of them. Mavis has more freedom to do what she wants, instead of always worrying about money. Mavis is the matriarch of her family and she has 4 daughters Gugu 32, Khethiwe 28, Lihle 22 and Nonhle 16. She has 6 grandchildren. Most of the family live together in a house on property adjacent to Lydia’s Mission. When she is not working she is a talented head of household, helping to keep her home clean and children fed. She also attends bible studies throughout the week and church on Sundays. Her dream right now is to build a house for her family – she is very happy to report that she has already started on this goal. She has even taken overtime and extra shifts to help her save for the home she is building. Her other dream is to send her children to university. Mavis is caring, hopeful and a bright light on this project. We love having her come to work with us and want to keep supporting her to reach her dreams. We are proud of you Mavis!

Nelly Mkhatshwa
Nelly Mkhatshwa, Sewing Machinist and Fabric Dyer

Nelly started to work for Lydia’s Mission in December of 2017. Nelly was one of the women in Claire’s weekly women’s group at the eManzana garbage dump. She knew how to sew clothing, but learned how to make animals when coming to this project. Her favorite animals to make are the lion and the elephant. Her life has changed so much since coming to work for Lydia’s Mission, she was able to send her son, Lucky 21, to University. She also has a first daughter, Thuli 31 and a son, Welcome who is 29 years old. She is blessed with six grandchildren. When she is not working she enjoys being a faithful evangelist at Shilo church. Her goal right now is to save up to buy a cow once her son is done with university. Nelly is an amazing piece of Lydia’s Mission and brought her sister Beauty to work for the mission as well. Although Beauty passed and Nelly has faced tough times, she continues to be faithful, come to work, and share with her sister on the project. We are so happy she is with us.

Celiwe Banda
Celiwe Banda, Personal Assistant and Hand Sewer

Celiwe came to the project on the 14th of December 2017. She is a skilled crafter in the sewing project. She is proficient in English and became extremely helpful to Claire as a translator. She also helps with administrative and personal assistant details for Claire and Lydia’s Mission. Celiwe has three children whom she loves dearly and her youngest, was welcomed recently in August of 2019.

Nontokozo Komane
Nontokozo Komane, Hand Sewer

Nontokozo started working with Lydia’s Mission in February of 2020.  She met Claire at a women’s group in the farm village right outside of eManzana.  She didn’t know how to sew before joining the project but was a very quick learner.  Her favorite animal to make is the elephant.  Before working at the ministry center she was one of the women who were making the journals that Lydia’s Mission sells. Nontokozo has 2 children, Lukhanyo and Wayne.  Before Lydia’s Mission Nonkomozo describes life as very bad and challenging.  She lost her father years ago and was raised by her single mom. She struggled until having the opportunity for a full time job with Lydia’s Mission. When she is not at work she enjoys attending church and serving God in many different ways at her church.  She is also a Sunday School teacher for the church and teaches many children about God. One goal she has in life is to build a home of her own for her family. Also to go back to school to finish getting her education and with the hopes of becoming a nurse.

Cathy Malaza
Cathy Malaza, Outdoor Supervisor

Cathy has been working with Lydia’s Misson since November of 2018. She started as a member of Claire’s weekly group in the garbage dump of eManzana. She was selling recycled goods before coming to work here. She has proven herself a dedicated and proficient worker and has recently been promoted to the position of Garden Supervisor. She lives at home with her husband, two of her children and her 5 dogs, all of whom she loves dearly! She has 3 children, Lucia 34, Eunice 31, Nathi 28. She also has 7 grandchildren! Her favorite job to do on the farm is to work with the chickens. Since starting here she has made a garden and chicken coop at her home. In her free time she takes care of her garden, care for her animals and does the washing for her family. Her goal for the future is to take care of her children until they can start taking care of her. Cathy’s smiling face and overall jovial attitude is a welcome piece of everyday life on the farm of Lydia’s Mission.

Zodwa Nkosi
Zodwa Nkosi, Chickens and Gardens

Zodwa started with Lydia’s Mission in January of 2019. Zodwa was a member of the women’s group at the dumping site. Before coming here she worked sorting recycling. She lives in eManzana with her husband and 6 children – Jabulane, Khabo, Thuli, Mduduzi, Phethile and Fortunate. She also has 4 grandchildren.
Her life has changed a lot since starting to work at Lydia’s Mission. For example, she is able to do everything that she wants to do. She is able to afford to do things now instead of constantly worrying about her finances. Her favorite work to do on the farm is anything as she’s just happy to be working outside. When she is not at work she likes to tend to her home and yard, she has a garden at home she is getting ready to plant. On Sundays she attends church. Her goal for the future is to renovate her house, to make it bigger. Zodwa is kind, caring, faithful and hardworking and we are blessed to have her at Lydia’s Mission.

Thalitha Shongwe
Thalitha Shongwe, Chickens and Gardens

Thalitha started in November of 2018. She was working at the eManzana garbage dump when she met Claire and started attending her weekly women’s groups. She was not working before this. She lives in eManzana with her family. She has 9 children – Sbongile, Frida, Nathi, Mbali, Rato, Sphesihle, Banele, Surprise and Mfaftuthi. She also has 4 grandchildren. Her life has changed in several ways since she started working for Lydia’s Mission. She is so happy to be working and before taking this job she admits she was struggling. She loves doing everything around the farm and garden. She learned to drive a riding lawn mower while on the farm. She has even driven the tractor a little. When she is not working at Lydia’s Mission she tends to her yard and garden at home and grows spinach. She also makes house mats and other handcrafts. Thalitha’s wish is to be able to send her children to University so they can help her provide for the family. We are so lucky to have a hard and dedicated worker like Thalitha on the farm!

Elizabeth Matsaba
Elizabeth Matsaba, Chickens and Gardens

Elizabeth joined the project in October 2019. She was chosen for the job by her peers in the weekly group at the garbage dump in eManzana. She was selling and sorting recycled goods before coming to work at Lydia’s Mission. She is happy to have a job here and she likes coming to work. She loves all aspects of working on the farm from the chickens to the gardens. She lives in eManzana by herself. She had a child, Mnisi who passed away when she was young. When she is not working Elizabeth likes to clean her yard, do the washing and go to church. Her dream for the future is to build her own house to live in. Since Elizabeth started she has been happy to work any job and is always pitching in with a great attitude. We hope she stays with us for a long time and achieves her dreams.

Zodwa Shongwe
Zodwa Shongwe, Chickens and Gardens

Zodwa started working with Lydia’s Mission in August 2019. Before coming to Lydia’s Mission she was sorting recycled goods at the eManzana garbage dump. Her life has changed so much since starting work here. She often struggled to buy food beforehand and now is able to buy food for her children and family. She has 5 children, Gertrude, Ntokozo, Nompumelo, Mthokozisi, Nokubonga. Zodwa also has 7 grandchildren. Her favorite job to do on the farm is to clean up the yard. When she is not at work she can be found keeping house -cleaning, washing, et cetera – and on Sundays she is an active member at church. For the future she dreams to be able to continue working hard so she can build a house for her family. Zodwa is a faithful and hard worker – she is always smiling during whatever she is working on. We are so lucky to have Zodwa on Lydia’s Mission and will cheer her on to reach her goals.

Evidence Ebi Phasha
Evidence Ebi Phasha, Chickens and Gardens

Evidence started with Lydia’s Mission in March of 2019. Evidence and her mother were a part of the weekly women’s group that is led at the eManzana garbage dump. Originally, Evidence’s mother, Veleminah, was offered the job- but asked the Mission to take Evidence, her daughter, instead. She wanted a better life for her daughter. Evidence lives at home with her daughter Buhle who is 3 and Veleminah. Evidence’s life has changed a lot since coming to work here. She has learned so many work skills from working in the garden and working with the chickens. Since starting, she has been able to buy food to feed her family. She has also been able to buy a bed to sleep on and to add a window to her room. Her favorite job on the farm is to work with the chickens. When she is not at work she likes to clean her home, do the washing and hang out with her friends. Her dream for the future is to get married and have a happy family. Evidence has been nicknamed Everyday by her coworkers and although she is the youngest employee, she has proved a faithful worker. We are thankful for her young energy, her hard work and the smile that she wears every day.