Living Social Justice

A blog about responding to poverty and injustice, everyday and in all sorts of ways

Archive for the month “August, 2010”

The Big Issue

By Liesel Muller

A few months ago, after having asked God to open my eyes to the needs around me and show me how I can help, I was browsing through a Big Issue mag I buy on and off and my eye glanced over the monthly vendor profile.

Featured this month was Mr Kholisile. He talked about his dreams, his desires for his future, how he loves to go to church with his family on weekends, about his wife who is also a vendor and about his other skills he would like to make use of such as capentry and painting. And he explained his desire to one day get his loader license to increase his earning potential.

Although I took note of this last point, as a travel industry employee and summer beach lover what caught my eye and pulled my heart strings was that Mr Kholisile’s biggest dream for his family was to go to Camps Bay. His BIGGEST dream! A place I go every day in Summer! And I thought – I’m sure I can make that happen!

Table Mountain

After much perseverence and ‘knocking on several doors’ one of my contacts finally agreed to meet the family. The meeting went well and then the World Cup arrived and Camps Bay was booked up! After much waiting, praying for hope and for God to intervene, I admit I harrassed them a little and finally one of the directors of a company agreed to cut through the bureacracy and hand over his own private home.

A few weeks later Mr and Mrs Kholisile and their four beautiful children arrived for their weekend stay.

I shared the story with my home group and a few people felt the desire to contribute to a food hamper for the family. It was small but enough to feed a family for a weekend (after all we all know you don’t need much).

We have also researched the costs of the loader license but at this stage my request goes beyond my home group to anyone who feels strongly about skills empowerment. The loader license is a 14 day course and costs R2150 after which the company will assist with finding employment.

Should anyone be interested in assisting financially, please contact me and I will arrange this through the social worker at Big Issue.

Thanks, Liesel (082 450 9747)

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Identifying with people in poverty

By Deborah Hancox

Day one of two days we are spending as a church identifying with those living in poverty by living on R10 per person per day in our household. It strikes me that on the one had this is rather a lot of money because if there is a household of 4 people, that would mean a monthly food budget of approximately R1200 and we know households in extreme poverty live on less than R800 per month FOR EVERYTHING.

The second thing that struck me was how little it is. Like at lunch time today, as I rushed between meetings and had forgotten to pack a peanut butter sandwich, if I popped into the ENGEN and bought a pie and a coke, it would be about R20, two days of my food budget. Hmmm…. So tonight the family is getting samp and beans, made with onion, garlic, chilli, beef stock and a little pork shank, fat on.

As I write this, it is nearly cooked and tastes rather good, if I say so myself. Sides will be cabbage and butternut. Tomorrow night will be soya mince with rice. Funny thing though is how I felt when I went shopping for the food for these two days. I have to admit that I felt a bit ashamed… how do I explain it? I could see people looking into my basket at Checkers and there it was, R11 pork shank, pilchards in tomato, small (non basmati) rice etc. I thought status didn’t matter to me. I thought I was a tough NGO type! But boy, this was an eye opener. At least I could pay with my debit card and choose between cheque – savings – credit card so I that boosted my ego a bit.

Anyway, off to feed the family.

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