Thursday, October 13, 2011

Who says you have to be young to have fun?

Although the original target group for our Community Care Centers was primarily children, there is a growing group of elderly who have been frequenting Tiffany's Center in Paarl East and Lukhanyo in Mbekweni and having a GREAT time! There are 25 ladies between the ages of 55 and 83 who are regularly meeting at Tiffany's. Tuesday's are gym day, where the women spend time raising their heart rates on the bikes, weight machines and group calisthenics and then end their class with a little stretching and toning. Other days you will find them sewing and needle pointing anything from necklaces and earrings to simple clothing and tablecloths.
Their counterparts in Mbekweni, although a smaller group of women, have been getting quite industrious and crocheting and knitting beautiful jackets and sweaters similar to the ones pictured here. Just this month they began branching out and have been making beautiful, intricate beaded necklaces...the likes that would rival anything that you would see in the popular craft markets.
The women at Tiffany's also participate in regular events such as a the first Granny's Talent Show that took place on August 27th (during Women's Month). The ladies shared that one of the funniest talents that day was when one of the women shared a humorous poem drawing a comparison between arthritis and a boyfriend and had lines like "It chooses to be around all the time." According to the rest of the women, everyone was laughing hysterically. Additionally, several of these women participated in the Spar Fun Walk which took place on Heritage Day...September 24th. They have become so fit that several walked away with Gold Medals for their age bracket. So, let these women be an inspiration to us. You don't have to be a kid to have fun!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Voucher Project...the constructive alternative

The Voucher Project is a new initiative of our Homeless Care ministry, which provides food and work to the homeless people in the Paarl area. Residents of Paarl and visitors to our beautiful town keep the homeless on the streets by giving money into their begging hands. A little over two months ago, our Homeless Care team launched The Voucher Project, which was designed to empower the general public and give them a more constructive solution when approached by a person begging for money. Instead of giving money, an individual can give a voucher (booklets of 5 vouchers are available at many participating outlets throughout Paarl for R30 per booklet) which a homeless person can exchange for a meal or an article of clothing. The support with which this initiative has been embraced by the people of Paarl is overwhelming and in the two months since this initiative was launched, there have been over 3,750 vouchers sold. The voucher is also creating opportunities for a homeless person to be introduced to our other Homeless Care initiatives, exposing them to relationship programs that aim to restore and empower them. Above all, this positive response from the people of Paarl demonstrates the willingness of so many to make a difference and to help their fellow man. Our Homeless Care team realizes that there is no quick fix to the problem of homelessness. Now that this project has taken hold, the challenge is to maintain momentum and expand our efforts to deal with the root of the homeless problem in Paarl. A large part of the lasting success will be to give back dignity to participants of the Homeless Care program through employment. The age-old saying of "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" is particularly relevant when trying to effect sustainable change on our streets. Very soon through The Voucher Project, the Homeless Care team plans to launch two job creation projects in Paarl to achieve this goal. We look forward to sharing news in the near future about The Voucher Project Garden Services and The Voucher Project Car Wash.