By Sam Rawson
In September, nine members of the Common Ground Street and Shelter Ministry graduated from NETwork’s job readiness programme. Wow! Here’s more.
For thousands of people living on the streets of Cape Town or in a shelter, hope doesn’t lie in a hand out or in small change but in the opportunity to work for a living. Having a job not only provides an income but it restores a person’s dignity and allows them the opportunity to live a life of productivity and fullness.
Sadly, the longer someone has had to survive on the streets the harder it becomes for them to find employment. Without a cell phone, clean clothes and a permanent address finding a job in a city with an unemployment rate of 17% is, well, difficult to say the least.
The Common Ground Street and Shelter Ministry exists not only to build friendships and disciple people towards Jesus, but also to help them find permanent accommodation, regular employment and lead a healthier lifestyle. After all, Jesus came so that we may all experience “life to the full” (John 10:10).
Thankfully, there are organisations like NETwork committed to helping people along the process to a full and abundant life in Christ. Last month, nine members of the Common Ground Street and Shelter ministry graduated from NETwork’s job readiness programme. A huge accomplishment!
The goal of the programme is to develop characteristics sought after by employers and to increase the self-confidence of the participants in venturing into the job market.
“The course really gave them all so much more focus and confidence,” says Richard Bolland, the Common Ground Street and Shelter Ministry leader. “Most of them have tried almost every avenue to get a job but the programme helped restore their dignity and give them hope. Having NETwork vouch for them is a huge asset to have in such a competitive job market where thousands sometimes apply for one entry level position.”
Meet some of the NETwork graduates:
Mashudu, 28, is originally from Limpopo and has been a part of the ministry for the past five months. He recently went for an interview for a security guard position and is waiting to hear back from the company.
Above: Mashudu, Ekrosi, Richard, Onke and Marcus
Marcus, 26, is from Zimbabwe and is currently looking for a job as a waiter. He hopes to use his future earnings to enrol in a graphic design course.
Felix, 22, is an orphan from Gugulethu who was raised by an aunt. The team is currently trying to get him into an adult education programme so that he can complete his matric.
And that’s not all that’s happening in the Common Ground Street and Shelter Ministry:
Ekrosi (above), 25, has just qualified as a fork lift operator and is now looking for a job in this field.
Maureen (above) is in her late 40s and has been on the streets for over 15 years. She recently came top of her Blue Sticker domestic worker training class. Well done, Maureen! She’s currently looking for a position as a domestic worker.
As a community, we really want to support people like Mashudu, Ekrosi, Marcus and Maureen in their search for employment – and there are loads more stories like theirs. If you know of any openings specifically for entry level jobs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Common Ground Street and Shelter Ministry
For those of you haven’t already heard, the Common Ground Street and Shelter Ministry is a dedicated team of Common Grounders led by Richard Bolland who meet twice a week to build relationships with and disciple people living on the streets or in shelters.
The ministry started last year (read more about that story here) and now meets on a Tuesday at the Kensington Haven Night Shelter (from 18h30 to 20h00) and on a Thursday in the Mowbray area (from 17h30 to 19h30).
The venue may change frequently – they’ve met at a railway station, in a subway, on the steps of a post office and in crowded shelters – but the heart behind the ministry has remained the same.
“We’re so aware that only Jesus can transform the hearts and lives of people,” says Richard. “Our hope is that through friendship we’ll be able to disciple people towards Jesus and help them along the path towards employment, permanent shelter and self-sustainability. But it takes a transformed heart to bear fruit.”
If you’d like to learn more about the Common Ground Street and Shelter Ministry, like their Facebook page here.