On Tuesday, 15 September 2015 I started training my very first group in the Certificate in Community Leadership programme. I was feeling OK until I arrived at the venue and started to set up… then suddenly I was so nervous and unsure of whether I am able to do it. But I managed to pull myself together and waited for participants to arrive.


South African EL Trainers at their training camp in Feb ‘15


Looking back I am amazed at how well the 4 days went. My confidence grew as a facilitator, as I delivered the 4 modules and here are some of my refections:

  • During the training we use the image of HOPELESSNESS feeling like an impossibly high wall. One young girl shared how her father’s negative words about her had made her believe that she couldn’t do anything and this impact had crushed her self-esteem. She had lived with a deep feeling of hopelessness all her life. Now, for the first time in her life she was able to see that she could find a way over that impossible wall.
  • For most people in the training it was the first time they were challenged to think about their character and what (if any) they are doing for others? Thinking about their dreams and reflecting on whether they are living their lives in a way that it will leave a good and lasting legacy, seemed to be a difficult and challenging questions for a lot of them to answer.
  • The day of Module 2 three people did not return, and I found myself thinking if I said something they did not agree with and I had to challenge myself not to give in to POVERTY THINKING –  “Watch for you Poverty mind-set, Sharene”, I had to remind myself!
  • When we did Module 3, I once again found myself challenged with a poverty mind set. How am I going to convince a group of unemployed people that they need to ‘lead their money’? When I saw some of their faces when I asked them to think about their poverty mind set and how it effects how they manage their money, it was as if I could hear them confirming my fears. However, was this really what they were thinking, or just me thinking on their behalf, because not so long ago I myself was unemployed? One lady sitting with her arms crossed, looked me in the face and told me (almost angry), “I don’t work. I don’t have money. Only my husband have an income. How can I save money” . When I gently suggested that this sounded like hopeless thinking and explained why and what the impact of it is, her face changed as she realized that she can help her husband to write a different financial story with the knowledge gained today.

Certificate in Community Leadership – Module 3

  • During Module 4 they were excited to see the principles of the past 3 days now being applied to a project that would be able to positively benefit their community – small projects that would stretch their Leadership Skills and grow their courage to effect change and benefit their communities. The positive feedback from them where overwhelmingly good.

Sharene with her fellow S.African trainers – “We can do more together”

Despite all the good feedback I left after the 4 days feeling flat and not sure about myself. So I contacted two of my fellow trainers, who gave me great support and guidance. Thanks Albernita and Joseph!

Going through my note book from the Train the Trainer course I attended in February, I read some of my notes and it said: “It is not about you! It’s about the people you serve. As a DEALER IN HOPE you have to wake up before you can wake others up.

You have to change your thinking first, before you can inspire and encourage others to change their thinking. A leader is a dealer of hope. This means you help people to awaken their dream.

Every human being has potential. If hopelessness is there, you don’t see your potential.  You have to remind yourself about your potential.

You have to help others face reality and then reimagine a different future that is positive and full of hope. You have to believe on behalf of others. You have to encourage others, which means to put courage into others.

You have to fight for their hearts & minds to live a different life. You will have to fight and be passionate about giving people hope.

Yes, you will be exhausted afterwards, but it will be so worth it.”


On Friday 32 of them successfully completed the 4 Modules of the Certificate in Community Leadership Training. After each day of the training, I was exhausted, but I experienced an emotion I still can’t quite put into words. What I’ve read in my notebook on the Thursday evening is still stuck in my head. This explained why I was so exhausted and I agree that it was so worth it! I saw my group change from day one to day four. They spoke differently and they even walked differently. But not only that, in this process of change and learning I’d also been inspired, I’d grown, I’d been challenged to change myself.


‘LEADERSHIP is the ability to create a story that affects the THOUGHTS, FEELINGS & ACTIONS of others’