Free walking tours aid the homeless

At the back, from left, are Onezwa Mphemba, Stephen Bell, Shirley Fosi, Sibusio Duma and Janet Farquharson. In front are Theresa Solomons, Jesse Laitenen, Daphne Pretorius and Martin Bop Nielsen.

The R10 500 raised by Cape Town Free Walking Tours for the Streetscape Projects run by Khulisa Solutions, will go towards employing 10 more homeless people through Streetscape.

Cape Town Free Walking Tours, which runs from the Greenmarket Square, donated all the tips received during their tours on Saturday November 19, to the project, which aims to create work opportunities for people on the streets.

The tour company works solely on tips given after the tour.

Streetscape has already created sustainable jobs for 10 street people with the establishment of the Streetscape garden near Fruit and Veg City in Roeland Street and the Streetscape sandwiches business, assisted by House of H eatery (“Helping hand for homeless”, CapeTowner, October 20).

Jesse Laitinen, the manager of the Streetscape Projects, said the street people employed by them are paid R 1000 a month if they come to work every day for three hours a day.

“This R 10 000 will go towards stipends for 10 more people. Now, we have 20 people off the streets who have jobs,” she told the CapeTowner.

Martin Bo Nielsen, the manager at Cape Town Walking Tours, said the company had decided to get involved with Streetscape Projects last year.

“We go around with people every day, and we see the homeless people and beggars everywhere, and we know that if we start giving them money, there will be more of them and they will follow our group, so we can’t do that even if we wanted to.

“But we still feel for them because we see them and how troubled they are.”

He said they then decided to give something back.

“We decided to have an event to give money back to some of the projects and help these people get a good life”.

The CapeTowner accompanied Ms Laitinen and some of the participants of the Streetscape Projects on one of the District Six walking tours.

Three tours were held on the day, and all tips were donated to Streetscape Projects.

Mr Nielsen said that last year, they had raised R12 000 for the project.

“Nothing has been planned and evaluated yet, but I don’t see why we can’t do this every six months.”

He said he was introduced to Ms Laitinen through Cape Town Partnership, and when they had discussed the idea of giving back to the project, he “immediately loved the concept of Khulisa Solutions”.

“The story that stuck with me was that she said that the homeless people rock up to work on the first day.

“They come for a few days, and then all of a sudden they are not there.

“And that’s the deciding moment, because when they come to work the next day, after not showing up for a day, they are still accepted.

“This is when they realise that someone wants what’s best for them,” he said.

Ms Laitinen said that if Cape Town Free Walking Tours
continued to support the project, they would be “dancing for joy” and that they were grateful for the company’s support.

“We had so much fun on the tours, and it was an opportunity to talk to tourists and create awareness about the situation.”

She explained that Khulisa Solutions would continue to raise funds to create work opportunities.