My name is Andreas Benestad. I am turning 33 years old and have recently moved from Norway to Cape Town with my wife Merete and two boys Kaleb (5) and Benjamin (3). So far we are really enjoying our new life here in South Africa!
I was born and raised as a missionary kid (in Portugal) and have always had a dream (calling?) of taking my future family into missions abroad. Ever since I met Jeremy and Bridget Hilliard (part of the founder team of Hope Africa Collective) in a Bible school in 2005, I have been following their journey to the townships of Cape Town. Then in 2015 my wife and I felt God calling us to increase our involvement in their vision. Long story short: we moved here in August of 2016.
My background from Norway has been in two rather different fields: theology and screen printing. The last 4-5 years I have been running a screen printing business back home and that sparked the idea of perhaps trying to recreate something like that within Hope Africa Collective. Every non-profit has a huge challenge in raising enough funds for their programs and ministry, and HAC is no exception. The needs and opportunities are almost endless, but the finances often limit our involvement and effort. So far HAC has been 100% donor-funded, being fully dependant on financial donations and gifts. Thinking into the future we would love to be able to be partly self-funded, and we aim to do this through different social businesses. This is where my little dream of a HAC print shop comes in!
Having spent our first months in South Africa researching and writing a business plan, I have come to the conclusion that there is definitely a place for us in this market and that there is a huge potential for such a business. We are now just about ready to start offering our services and products to clients and customers, and really look forward to seeing how this unfolds. The vision is to create a thriving business that would be able to channel a lot of funds to the other amazing HAC programs.
Being able to continue doing what I loved doing in Norway—this time not to fill shareholders’ pockets but to invest in an awesome cause — gives me great joy! It is almost like I can see the faces of all the individuals that will be set free from poverty, empowered to start a small business, get a fresh encounter with God, learn how to get a job, start hoping for a better future — all because of the effort we put in to this print shop. It feels significant and meaningful to say the least.
I hope this print shop will be known for three things: Great quality products and services, excellent customer service, and competitive prices — all with the underlying vision of fighting extreme poverty. These will indeed be products with purpose! (We will also have an online shop up and running quite soon, so keep a lookout for awesome products you can buy online to support our cause!)