“I can now go out there, work and encourage other people to find a program like this.”
For 43 years, John Morley lived on the streets of Cape Town, sleeping on the pavement outside the South African parliament. His downfall began when he was stabbed, while aboard one of the deep-sea fishing boats on which he worked.
He became disabled and could no longer find employment as a fisherman. He started drinking heavily and lost contact with his family. For decades he eked out an existence by car-guarding and begging for hand-outs.
Khulisa offered John a lifeline when he joined their street cleaning pilot project for the homeless. Five months later, John had stopped drinking, moved back with his family and assumed a leadership position within the group, taking responsibility for the stock room where all the brooms, spades, clothes and bags are stored. He helped develop a set of rules and a stock register, and nothing went missing under his watch.
Having proven himself as a reliable, hard worker, with a passion for farming, John Morley will ‘graduate’ from the pilot project to start farming commercially in a city garden. Two major food retail chains have already confirmed that they will guarantee him a market by buying his produce.
Read the streetscapes media article here
In early 2015, Khulisa Social Services launched a pilot project in response to the growing problem of homelessness on Cape Town city streets.
We see increasing numbers of marginalised South Africans begging at intersections, sleeping in shop doorways and rummaging through rubbish bins for a bite to eat. While the well-intentioned give them small change, clothes and food, this is not a long-term solution. What can be done to help them break out of this cycle of despair?
“These are the people who fall through the cracks of society”, says Jesse Laitinen, Manager of Strategic Partnerships at Khulisa. “Many participants had been stuck in a cycle of petty crimes and bylaw offences like aggressive begging. With no fixed addresses, these citizens had limited access to social workers. They were constantly being arrested, placing strain on the courts and re enforcing a destructive and demoralizing cycle.”
Funded through the City of Cape Town Expanded Public Works Programme, Khulisa’s project provided vagrants with personal development programmes and opportunities to earn an income in order to help reintegrate them into society. Participants were paid a fortnightly stipend, enabling them either to return to their families with something to offer, or to pay for themselves to stay in a shelter.
Although the pilot project has now come to an end, Khulisa continues supporting group members. Khulisa is invregular contact with 80% of the group, 46% are still working 6 months later. The project as received funding from Ackerman Pick n Pay Foundation and Central City Improvement District. With the support Khulisa is setting up non-profit micro-enterprises in farming, baking, recycling and composting.