Living Social Justice

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

Archive for the tag “Unemployment”

Video: Have you heard of the 12 Campaign?

Did you know that one in every four people between the ages of 20 and 65 is unemployed in Cape Town? That’s a pretty scary statistic but you could be part of the solution. The 12 Campaign is an exciting opportunity to invest in the lives of 12 individuals and empower them with the skills and resources they need to build a better future. Watch the video:

Want to be a part of the change? Invest R1 850 per month for 12 months and enable 12 people to participate in the transformational Job Readiness Programme.

By signing up, you’ll receive a monthly mailer with a photo and an update on the individual benefiting directly from your contribution that month so you stay involved.

You’ll also be able to receive full tax benefits for the value of your contributions.

Click here to get involved or get more information.

Volunteer Q&A – Paradigm Shift


Full name: Rose Reddy

Congregation: Rondebosch AM

Occupation: Order Facilitation Manager

How long have you been a volunteer at Paradigm Shift? Since February 2012

When do you go and for how long? Thursdays for about 1 ½ hours

Can you explain what you do while you’re there? I assist with setting up for the Discipleship and Business Training Sessions. This entails putting out the training material on the tables, writing out the key learning areas on the board and putting up the visual aids. You either assist as one of the table trainers or one of the facilitators of the training. Table trainers assist with facilitating discussions and group activities at a table of about 5 to 6 entrepreneurs – very interesting and stimulating!

Can you tell us a bit about Paradigm Shift? The Paradigm Shift programme is a highly interactive training course designed to empower entrepreneurs with business skills at whatever level of education one is at and even those who do not speak English as a first language. It is designed in a way that encourages and challenges entrepreneurs to apply learnt skills through daily application, group discussions and written work in the workbooks and weekly challenges they do on their own.

Did you have any concerns about volunteering? I cannot say I had any concerns as I took comfort in the knowledge that God would be right there with me and he would give me the courage and confidence I needed to stand in front of people and facilitate. I always invited the Holy Spirit to be with me. It was also a great help to prepare thoroughly to ensure that you knew the material well. Prayer during my quiet times, before and after each session, was a great comfort for me.

What are  some of the challenges you face in volunteering? The difference in language is a challenge one faces when engaging with entrepreneurs, as many of the students are foreign nationals. It does get better when you start to engage one-on-one and you are able to explain concepts slowly and in simple language. What keeps me going is the belief that this work is God’s purpose and that he has chosen me to be part of it and I consider it a privilege to be used in such a manner. I always felt God’s presence with me while I was in the front facilitating a lesson. Every time I started feeling a little nervous, I was reminded that God was speaking through me and that he would always give me the words to speak to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

What has been the most fulfilling part of your volunteer experience? My most fulfilling experience as a volunteer was seeing the entrepreneurs grow in their business, grow in their confidence and their spiritual growth. Their enthusiasm and willingness to participate in all aspects of the lessons was also really encouraging. I enjoyed engaging with the entrepreneurs and the other volunteers and the team spirit was amazing. To be part of this initiative is an amazing blessing to me. I just feel so encouraged by this programme. God  IS at work! In  us and through us,  and I ask the Holy Spirit to continue to show me where opportunities to serve present themselves and step up. I feel so privileged!

– If you would like to find out more about volunteering with Paradigm Shift, please email The next course is starting in March so you can sign up until the end of February. 

How Should We Respond To The Farm Strikes?

By Sam Rawson6268943106_d0c073a5aa_b

After not having access to a TV for ten days, I tuned in to watch the local news last night and was shocked by the scenes of violence from the farm strikes taking place in De Doorns, just 30km outside of Worcester. Policemen shooting rubber bullets, people throwing rocks, a car overturned and burning… The images looked eerily familiar to footage taken during apartheid protests. But this is 2013, not the 1980’s. So what’s going on?

The violence seemed all the more shocking coming so soon after the Christmas season, a time which celebrates the arrival of the Prince of Peace. Part of me just wanted to turn the TV off, to return to the state of post-holiday tranquillity I’d enjoyed before turning it on, but at the same time I knew I couldn’t do that. As Christ-followers, these kinds of images, taking place so close to where we live, cannot be ignored. They require some kind of response. But what does that response look like?

On the surface, the situation looks like one that is not going to be easily resolved. The strikes started in November last year with farm workers asking for their wages to be increased from an average of around R80 per day (sometimes less) to R150 per day. The strike was suspended after an agreement was made that negotiations would take place between workers’ representatives and individual farmers, but the unrest resumed yesterday as about 20% of farm workers in the area gathered to protest at a local stadium, a meeting which escalated until strikers eventually shut down part of the N1 highway.

An increase in wages seems like a fair enough request. After all, R80 per day is hardly enough to support one person, yet many of these farm workers rely on their wages to support their families and extended relatives. If you take into account the cost of transport, electricity, food, clothing, shelter, and education, suddenly you can understand why the farm workers are so desperate for a wage increase. I would be desperate too if it meant my children were hungry and I couldn’t afford to buy them school shoes.

But this dispute is far more complex than just a wage increase. According to the Daily Maverick, a report was released on Tuesday by the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy which revealed that farmers would not be able to pay more than R104 per day without having to introduce greater mechanisation on their farms, which would lead to possible job cuts. And the report also stated that even if the farm workers did receive R150 per day it would still not be enough to provide the majority of their households with adequate nutrition.

Obviously, none of this condones the violence which has put hundreds of lives at risk, but it does make it easier to understand why tensions are running high on both sides. But what makes this situation even more heart-breaking is that the people who will suffer the most from it are the people who can least afford it. They’re the children whose parents are too frightened to go to work and now cannot put food on the table. They’re the students who stand and watch the violence from the side-lines unsure of what this means for their future.

Read more…

Part 3 – Living Under the Line

Nathalie Koenig weighs up the real implications of living under the breadline.

Shopping with only R10 per day to spend turns an otherwise average grocery run into a feat that requires a whole new level of planning, budgeting and thought. What goes into the trolley, no – basket? How much do we compromise taste and variety for tummy-filler capacity? Do we still buy coffee, and downgrade to no-name brand chicory (and share that with five others), or do we just go without for three days, and save the extra cash for some more tomato relish?

This attempt to identify with those living under the line really highlights that it’s no mean feat surviving with this budget. We can pull a few tricks, like stocking up on extra Wimpy sugar sachets, or heading for the buy-one-get-one-free specials – but imagine living like this fulltime? And with R10 for EVERYTHING? Does food trump education? Is the fight for basic survival barring you from working towards escaping a vicious cycle? And how do you find employment if the transport cost for an interview costs your entire daily budget – and some of tomorrows too?

Living under the line doesn’t only limit what you can have for yourself, but also what you can offer others. With so little for your own survival – can you really even consider sharing? What a privilege it is to GIVE! Most Common Grounders can afford to give but why should we? It’s simple. We give because we care – and we give because we can. That’s why the second part of the challenge – to donate what you would’ve spent to Common Good – is so key.

So ‘living under the line’ – a phrase that puts the means with which people survive into words we can understand. But as Christ-followers, we all live under the line of two arms stretched across a cross. We all live under the authority of a King who fully identified with people by becoming one of us, living outside of His power – and dying for us.

This is full identification with the vulnerable.

So let’s bear in mind the example Christ set as we consider the implications of this challenge.

Part 2 – Living Under the Line

Anneke Jagau contemplates whether to cheat, or not to cheat…

I don’t think that these three days will make me desperate enough to go dumpster diving but I have to repent, I am already thinking about ways that I can ‘cheat’. I can sneak past a coffee shop and take some free sugar sticks so that I can pimp by bowl of porridge in the morning. Technically, I don’t pay for it so don’t need to count that cost. Or what about the offers Pick ‘n Pay has sometimes: buy one get one free? During the challenge I can just eat the ‘get one free’ item – surely it’s within the rules as I didn’t pay for it!

And what about someone offering me something to eat?

Does that count? Or if someone offers me a taster in the supermarket… Everyone can walk into a supermarket and get a free taster! And that business meeting that I have, I am sure there will be food which I don’t have to pay for. Can I eat that?

I decided that for my challenge I can eat anything that is available to anyone. Not everyone has a job that comes with business meetings. Or flights with amazing plane food. I hate to admit that I like plane food, but during the Live Under the Line Challenge plane food suddenly seems like the ultimate gourmet experience. But if it’s not available for everyone, it’s not available for me during the challenge.

Anyone can sneak past a coffee shop and snatch some sugars, but first of all, I lack the guts to do it, and secondly, something tells me that it’s not entirely honest, so not the best idea during the challenge.  The ‘pay one get one free’ idea is also not entirely fair, since people that live on R10 a day usually don’t do that for three days but for their entire lives. The only ‘cheat opportunity’ that is left on the shelf is the one where I get to eat free tasters. Hmm…. Maybe I should move my challenge to the weekend. On Friday I could go to the market in Hout Bay, on Saturday I could enjoy the tasters of the Tokai market for breakfast, and the goodness of the Neighbourgoods Market for lunch… Yum!

I guess brushing my teeth with toothpaste is an amazing replacement for sweets. I may just take my toothbrush everywhere I go and have an instant healthy candy-substitute…. 😉

Happy challenge!

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