Living Social Justice

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

A heart for the homeless

Richard Bolland gives us an update on the Street and Shelter ministry!

Solomon, Marquez and Mashudu at their baptism last year

Over the past year, the Street and Shelter Ministry has experienced an amazing journey filled with both heartache and extreme joy. One of our closest friends, Graham, passed away while living on the streets; we temporarily withdrew our ministry from Kensington Night Shelter and the streets of Mowbray; we journeyed with our friend Mashudu through a retrenchment and then rejoiced with him when he found new employment; and we developed a growing relationship with Wynberg Night Shelter.

It’s taken us several months to firmly find our feet when it comes to tackling poverty and disempowering dependability. We’ve witnessed what an amazing joy it is to walk with someone through a struggle and at the same time dignify them in making decisions for themselves, taking their own initiative and finding their own path. “A hand up, not a hand out” has been a phrase close to our hearts.

Through companies such as U-turn, Blue Sticker Training and Living Grace, we have seen various people turn their lives around. Our relationship with Wynberg Night Shelter has proven to be our most successful partnership as it allows Common Ground Wynberg to be an anchor for many of the people we meet. There are several Wynberg Night Shelter clients who attend Common Ground services and home groups. The journey Christ is taking them on is so evident.

Mashudu’s baptism

We have set up a four week cycle at Wynberg Haven which includes a bible study evening, worship and prayer time, life skills and tough questions session, and then a social evening which is usually a quiz night with Pick n Pay vouchers sponsored as the prizes. This cycle has proven to give the supervisors at the Haven an opportunity to encourage their clients to join on specific nights. It has given our team a bit of structure as well as created a space for the Holy Spirit to really work in the hearts of everyone involved.

The next step for us is to partner with CWESI adult night school in Wynberg and offer our shelter friends the opportunity to finish their matric. CWESI offer a six subject standard grade matric certificate qualification, which is achievable within two years. We are trusting that we can get an extra boost in volunteers to assist us in this process. It’s an excellent opportunity for graduates and students to tutor people embarking on this new step.

As we progress into the year, we hope for more volunteers to assist us on Tuesday nights and if we can get our volunteer base up we hope to go back to the streets to assist people living on them.

If you’re interested in volunteering your time or would like to find out more, please fill in the below form

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