Organisation helping to rebuild lives

Streetcape gardens in Roeland street.

The vision of Khulisa Social Solutions to promote a safer, healthier, more prosperous city, seems to be bearing fruit – quite literally, as the non-profit opened its third Streetscapes garden in Vredehoek on Saturday July 21.

This is a project that has served poor communities for more than two decades and its success is told by the homeless people who have benefited from it since 2015.

Streetscapes food gardens help to tackle homelessness in the city by creating jobs and opportunities to care for the environment.

The first garden site was an unused piece of land on a Roeland Street parking lot in 2015. The second garden opened in 2016 in District Six.

The two existing Streetscapes gardens have helped over 30 homeless people rebuild their lives. The organisation has been offered a piece of land on Constitution Street to create another green Streetscapes garden.

Counsellor at the Roeland Street garden, Faizel Juta, said the project helped street people get their lives and dignity back.

“We don’t give handouts here, but we give hand-ups as we take them in to work for us and they earn something and they get counselling every day,” he said.

Mr Juta, who has been working for Streetscapes for more than a year now, said the initiative had yielded positive results since its inception.

“We grow organic vegetables and sell them to fruit and veg stores in the city.

“We take challenges and turn them into opportunities by instilling values such as respect, responsibility, teamwork and happiness,” he said.

André Solomons said the initiative had greatly changed his life and that he had been part of Streetscapes since it started.

Mr Juta said Mr Solomons had been so dedicated to his work that when he had been in a car accident, he had wanted to come back to work immediately because he had been scared to lose his job.

“He’s the first homeless person to fight with the City of Cape Town to provide mobile toilets for the homeless people working here, and to this day, he’s the one taking care of it — a true indicator that if one could help their neighbour, no one would need help,” said Mr Juta.

For more information, log on to www.khulisa.org.za