Homeless. Having no home. No roof over your head.
But a home is so much more than a simple structure: It is a place where we live, sleep, eat and relax. It is our place of refuge that we share with our loved ones.
The team at MES (Mould Empower Serve) provide that for those that are destitute. This NPO has been reaching out to low and no-income people for the past 36 years, lending a hand both financially, socially and spiritually.
The constant influx of people to cities paired with a lack of work opportunities and infrastructure, as well as the staggering effect of Covid 19, is all leading to the breakdown of people’s livelihoods. Sadly, homelessness in South Africa is on the increase.
The staff of the MES Durbanville branch not only have big hearts (and an obvious camaraderie that is just incredibly special!), but they are people that “do”. One of their care workers, Senzo, puts it very eloquently: “We don’t just speak about the problem, but we go out and solve the problem. We go to those homeless people and we change lives”.
During the hands-on work that MES conducts on a daily basis, Franita Knudsen, the marketing manager at the Durbanville branch, asked those in her charge what the biggest challenge is when living on the street. Trying to imagine it, she expected that it would be being cold, wet or constantly hungry. The response was both surprising and poignant: Being invisible.
Let’s be honest here — our knee-jerk reaction when coming face to face with someone that is clearly destitute, is to simply ignore the situation (and the person!)… The cold, hard truth of this harsh reality makes us deeply uncomfortable. Most of us harbour a willingness to help, but where does one even start with a problem this big?! So since we don’t really know how to help, we end up doing nothing.
Fortunately, this is where the MES team comes in - superhero capes blowing in the wind and arms wide open - with wonderful systems and initiatives, shaped through years of knowledge and experience. Their motto is, “Give responsibly”. And this is exactly what we can all do, by purchasing their MES Moolah coupon booklets.
Each booklet contains ten coupons. Instead of giving the needy money, a coupon can be given instead, which in turn can be redeemed at MES in exchange for food, toiletries or clothing. Apart from assisting with these immediate needs, MES goes above and beyond by empowering people holistically to live independent, sustainable and meaningful lives:
A social worker is on hand and works tirelessly to help people re-establish not only contact but relationships with long lost family. The end goal is to get people off the streets and back to their loved ones.
MES offers a life skills program that aims to restore dignity and identity - a powerful tool to fight the vicious cycle of a scarcity mentality instilled by poverty!
Having an Identity Document is something seemingly simple that we take for granted. Without it you cannot get work, and very little else! But an ID costs R140. This is an unimaginable amount to part with when your priority is survival. And you may need help with the forms or where to go to start the application process…! One of the many things that MES will help with.
Simply put, everything that MES offers is built on the concept of giving a hand up, not a handout!
We are extremely proud to have MES Durbanville as one of our esteemed Outreach Partners, and look forward to working together in the future!
Purchase MES Moolah booklets at various Spar stores or at the Kenridge Deli for R100 (great to keep in your car to give coupons at robots!).
Donations of non-perishable food, clothes, blankets or money always welcome.
Contact Franita Knudsen to learn how else to get involved: email@example.com
Chatting with Franita. Clearly, she encourages an open-door-policy, and we were lucky enough to meet various of the wonderful staff and volunteers.
The lovely new premises in Queens Road, across from the beautifully renovated Shoprite centre.
This charming space with a food garden was lovingly created by Sprouting Minds, one of our amazing Outreach Partners.
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