About

Why - Inspire

Ubuntu

Our company, LifeTree, builds on the South African Ubuntu philosophy. Ubuntu stands for 'I am because we are'. The vision of LifeTree is inspired by the Ubuntu values. The word Ubuntu is used in various Bantu languages such as Zulu, Xhosa and Ndebele. Ubuntu consists of two words: ubu- and -ntu. Ubu- stands for ‘being’ in its most general, abstract form. In this sense ‘being’ is not a static concept, but something that is incessantly developing. However, this form of 'being' is still enveloped. -Ntu stands for the unfolding of this enveloped ‘being’, whereby it becomes concrete. The human being, called Umuntu, is able to investigate matters such as existence and truth, thus gathering knowledge. -Ntu therefore embodies the epistemological aspect of human existence. Ubuntu is based on the holistic nature of existence and regards life as a stream in which you, as a human being, do not swim around as a separate individual, but of which you are a part. From this perspective, you could say that Western man reasons his anchors away and becomes adrift. Egocentricity, loneliness and depression are logical consequences.

Core values

LifeTree believes that the philosophy of Ubuntu can make a valuable contribution to the development of universal humanity. As far as LifeTree is concerned, the Ubuntu principles of organic connectedness, fundamental equality and lived solidarity are indispensable for the future of mankind and the planet. For LifeTree, the following core values ensue:

  • trust
  • interconnectedness
  • humanity
These three core values form an interconnected stratification. On a basis of trust in yourself and in others, the possibility arises to connect on a deeper level, in a safe environment. This deeper interconnectedness is partly responsible for determining the extent to which we are able to interact with each other in a human way. This includes feeling love, but also assuming one’s own responsibility.

Sustainable and peaceful society

Every person is unique. Every person should have the opportunity to develop his/her talents in the way that suits them, within their abilities and the possibilities they have, and with respect for everything that lives. We believe that everyone should have the chance to build a life. An independent and dignified existence that contributes to a sustainable and peaceful society. Contributing to a society that is in harmony with nature. A society in which your cultural background, identity, religion, sexual orientation and/or age do not matter.

How - LifeTree

Holistic concept

For LifeTree, we have translated a combination of the inspiration from the Ubuntu philosophy and our own lifestyle into a holistic business concept. Our concept is outlined in our logo, in which the three people stand for our three core values (trust, interconnectedness and humanity). The symbols between the head, heart and hands of these three persons are old African tribal symbols. With these symbols, we illustrate our holistic approach to everything we are committed to, being:

  • balance and harmony
  • democracy and unity in diversity
  • combination of humility and strength
  • understanding and agreement from the heart
  • protection of Mother Earth
  • personal reflection and transformation
Based on this holistic approach, LifeTree focuses on stimulating dialogue regarding these topics, supporting social entrepreneurs to realise both their social and financial values, and creating an 'organism'.

Dialogue

As social entrepreneurs, we also organise sessions within both the field of education and the business community to stimulate dialogue about, among other things, lifelines, identity and values. By exploring these, it becomes clearer who you are in relation to yourself, to others, and everything and everyone around you. Moreover, by talking to each other about our (own) value(s), and how these values can be different for each and every one of us, we want to contribute to creating awareness, mutual respect and compassion.

Social Entrepreneurs

LifeTree aims to bring together social entrepreneurs and facilitate them both organisationally and financially. These social initiatives are based on:

  • Life Long Learning:
    creating the awareness that you can continue to develop yourself in all aspects of your life.
  • Social Inclusiveness:
    a society where people are connected and no one is excluded.

Organism

Together with our social entrepreneurs, collaborative and creative partners, we form an ‘organism’ in which all cooperating partners are open to cross-border team partnering aimed at sharing knowledge, skills and activities. Thus, we can achieve more from collaborating with each other, than each from our own initiative. LifeTree is like the circle of life, containing all of our activities.

How do we go about this?

  • Through UbuntuAmulet and UbuntuAcademy we organise sessions that contribute to (existing) educational programmes and the businesses by creating dialogue and awareness about, among other things, lifelines, identity and values.
  • Through UbunTree and FinTree we help both starters and more advanced social entrepreneurs with the establishment and development of their social enterprise. Thus, we help them to balance and maintain both their social and financial values.

Who - Soul

Jeanne Specht Grijp

Ubuntu

“As a child of parents who have lived in South Africa for years, the love for this country and these people was passed on to me at an early age. Because the Ubuntu philosophy is visible and tangible everywhere in South-African society, it was interwoven in my upbringing. And I, in turn, passed it on to my children. It resonates in my entire way of life, of being. Everything I see, think and do, stems from Ubuntu.”

Pieterpad

“For the past 30 years, I combined my work in finance and accountancy with social activities. Halfway through 2017, however, I found myself at a turning point in my life. I decided to conquer the Pieterpad walking route in September. For me, it was an inspiration course. 500 kilometres from Pieterburen in Groningen to Mount Saint Peter in Maastricht. 26 stages of approximately 20 kilometres each. At almost every stage, someone walked with me, mainly business relations, a good friend or my children. Wonderful walks that brought me lots of fun, special conversations and mutual inspiration.”

LifeTree

“Partly inspired by my Pieterpad experiences, I decided to set up a company from my own core, my deepest soul... Ubuntu. A company in which I could combine my identity, values, vision, mission, experience, knowledge, time, attention and network into one. In which the core values of Ubuntu are the common thread, and where Life Long Learning and Social Inclusiveness are either directly or indirectly at the centre of all activities.

As if it were predestined, I had the opportunity to take over UbuntuAmulet in January 2018. Since March 2018 this has become part of LifeTree. This is the new company that I started with my colleague Robert Bothoff, who I have known from the world of finance since 2000. I am grateful that together we will continue to shape this company by offering, for example, identity and value sessions in existing educational programmes. Through LifeTree we want to introduce as many children and adults as possible to the Ubuntu philosophy and this 'way of life', while at the same time raising awareness. We accomplish this by sharing knowledge, sharing stories, by inspiring and stimulating dialogue.”

Robert Bothoff

Interest in people

“I already had an aptitude for entrepreneurship at a young age. A strong feeling for numbers and what is happening in the world is something I inherited from my parents. A few years into my initial work in accountancy, I had the opportunity to get to know the ins and outs on the other side of the table, as a controller. In 2008, I took the plunge and traded the corporate world for freedom and entrepreneurship. Co-creating FinTree, at the time a recruitment and selection agency for financial professionals, was a logical next step for me. There, I met a lot of people with a real passion for their profession. My financial background combined with my sincere interest in people enabled me to make the right connection for many customers and find the right financial professionals. The perfect professionals to solve a temporary financial problem or to fill a financial vacancy. It became clear to me that proactive people fill me with energy. People with great passion for their profession. People who reach their full potential in a dynamic environment where creativity, responsibility and independence are stimulated. Guiding these people to a new work environment where they can further develop themselves gave me great satisfaction.”

Social entrepreneurs

“Nevertheless, in 2017, I felt that mediating financial professionals was no longer enough satisfying for me. I wanted to contribute more, share my expertise and network in the field of finance to help other entrepreneurs accomplish their goals. In March 2018, Jeanne and I joined forces. Together, with LifeTree, we are helping social entrepreneurs to realise their ideals. And that feels good!”