Living Social Justice

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

Archive for the category “Profile”

A Light in Winter

By Emily Oppenheimer

As the coldness of winter sets in, I found a place that warms the hearts of the city. I ventured into a place with brightly coloured walls with a door that read “There’s a beautiful mess inside”. I assumed the sign was to let visitors know what to expect when entering these four walls, but I left realizing that sign was meant to be carried over each and every one of us. Life can feel overwhelming, chaotic, and simply messy at times, but God sees beautiful.

This haven is known as Beth Uriel, meaning “House of Light” in Hebrew. Beth Uriel, a residential facility, has become a light and a beacon of hope for the 26 young men between the ages of 18-24 that call it home. Beth Uriel envisions each and every young man being independent, self-suficient, and one step closer to obtaining their dreams.

Photo Credit: Stewart Harris via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Stewart Harris via Flickr cc

Beth Uriel desires to give quality educational opportunities at both the secondary and tertiary levels to each individual in their program. Beth Uriel sees every young person just as that, an individual, with unique talents and skills. No two of God’s creations are the same, and Beth Uriel seeks to give each person the opportunity to discover their own passion and decide on a career they wish to pursue.

Wilson Johnson, a 24-year-old resident at Beth Uriel, is excited to pursue a career in Human Resources. Wilson said he has always been a people-person, but now has the excuse to dress professionally while doing what he loves. Another young man by the name of Sipho, has decided to become a pilot for South African Airways, and Beth Uriel gladly plans to encourage and equip him in his pursuit.

Beth Uriel doesn’t stop at meeting the basic needs of these young men. Instead, they ask how they can help develop their capabilities. How can we help these individuals become the men that God intends them to be? The greatest investment we can make in this life is into the lives of others.

If you are asking yourself how you can cross paths with these young men and help them along their journey? Beth Uriel is looking for tutors to help strengthen and sharpen their skill sets, whether it is in maths, Xhosa, or Afrikaans. Tutoring might seem small and inconsequential, but actually it can be the greatest gift given to another. It is one small gesture can change the direction of a life. It might be only thing needed for Wilson and Sipho to change a dream into a reality.

As a tutor, maybe you will meet Wilson or Sipho. Soon after, you might discover a new friend – somebody to partner and walk with on the road of life. Managing Director, Lindsay Henley, captured this truth as she pointed to a sign above our heads that read, “He who wants to bring about change, has to learn to be changed by those whom he wants to change first.” She said this would be her advice to potential volunteers. We must always listen and lay our assumptions aside when our paths cross with another one of God’s creations.

For more information on Beth Uriel or how to become involved with tutoring or mentoring, please email Info@commongood.org.za.

How much did you spend on lunch today?

By Lindsay Carlin

Did you know that there are currently 13 million South Africans who live under the international poverty breadline? That means they’re living off R10 or less per day. That’s R10 for food, medicine, education, transport, shelter and clothing.

In light of the upcoming Live Under the Line challenge, we took to the streets to find out just how much money South Africans are spending on food and discovered quite a range in tastes and budgets!  Can you identify with any of these candid interviewees?

Nathan from Steenberg, age 30

How much did you spend on lunch today?  R40, chicken and chips

How much do you spend a week on groceries?  R750 for three people (R250 per person)

How many times per week do you eat out?  Two

If you had to live on R10 per day, what would you buy? Cigarettes

What food would you miss the most if you only had R10 every day?  Sunday lunches like lasagna

—————————————————

John and Sandi from Harfield Village, age 60+

How much did you spend on lunch today?  R350, it’s her birthday!

How much do you spend a week on groceries?  R500 for two people (R250 per person)

How many times per week do you eat out?  Zero, we only went out because it’s her birthday

If you had to live on R10 per day, what would you buy?  Fish

What would you miss the most if you only had R10 every day? Chocolate chip muffins…and the cat because we wouldn’t be able to feed her

—————————————————

Mareldia from Parkwood, age 28

How much did you spend on lunch today?  R40

How much do you spend a week on groceries? R2000 – R3000 for four people (R500 – R700 per person)

If you had to live on R10 per day, what would you buy?  Bread

What would you miss the most if you had to live on R10 per day?  Milk in my coffee

—————————————————

Nkosikathi from Durban, age 39

How much did you spend on lunch today?  R0 

How much money do you spend a week on groceries?  R120 for one person

How many times per week do you eat out?  Zero

If you had to live on R10 per day, what would you buy? Cool drinks

What would you miss the most if you had to live on R10 a day?  Airtime

—————————————————

Marilyn from Ottery, age 42

 How much did you spend on lunch today?  Nothing

 How much money do you spend a week on groceries?  R500 for four people (R125 per person)

How many times per week do you eat out?  Zero, I don’t eat out

If you had to live on R10 per day, what would you buy?  Bread

What food would you miss the most if you had to live on R10 a day?  Chicken

—————————————————

Sam from Newlands, age 23

How much did you spend on lunch today?  R50

How much money do you spend a week on groceries?  R3500 for five people (R700 per person)

How many times per week do you eat out?  Six

If you had to live on R10 per day, what would you buy?  Coke zero

What food would you miss the most if you had to live on R10 a day?  Pasta and sushi

—————————————————

How much money do you spend on food?  We’d love to know so leave us your answers in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

Moving into Manenberg

By Sam Rawson

Pete and Jonathan at The Warehouse

Moving into a community that is notorious for its high levels of crime, gangsterism and substance abuse is a challenge few people are willing to take on. But in May 2010, after a year of doing community work in the area, Pete Portal, a 26-year-old from London, made a three-bedroomed house in Manenberg his permanent home – and a 19-year-old recovering heroin addict his digs mate.

If you’re from Cape Town, your jaw is likely hitting the floor. The area, created by the apartheid government as part of the Group Areas Act, has had a difficult time shrugging off its reputation as the gangland of the Western Cape.

And you don’t have to look far for evidence. Gang slogans and symbols are graphically spray-painted onto walls throughout the area, forming a constant reminder of the dangerous powers at play. So what would inspire someone not originally from the community to move into this area?

Read more…

Post Navigation