Tshepo helps the community | Reporter Midrand


How do you compassionately serve the community of which you are a part?

For about 14 years, the Tshepo Community Development Initiative, a non-profit organization, has been doing just that – positively impacting the lives of youth, the community and the homeless.

Some beets harvested from the garden. Photo: Supplied

The name Tshepo is of Sotho origin and means hope, as such the initiative aims to be a place of hope, where individuals come for support, acceptance, inclusion and where they get advice. to prepare for a future they want. As the organization’s Nelet Kok explained, “We believe our activities give hope not only to our customers but to our community as a whole. “

The mission of the organization is to develop programs and implement initiatives that will holistically enable people to live independent, sustainable and meaningful lives. They carry out work in the areas around the north of Johannesburg and its surroundings as well as with young people and school children.

Children play “Connect Four” to stimulate the brain. Photo: Supplied

It started as a focal point in 2007 with the aim of responding empathetically to the growing number of homeless people in the neighborhood. It has grown to serve the community in a practical way and provide essential “services” – like showers, food and social services – to the homeless community.

Over the years, the initiative has successfully carried out four programs. One of them, Youth Development, sees them impact the lives of around 40 children, aiming to create a positive base for them through an after-school program, each child receives a meal and support for them. homework and other development activities. The Ngonyama Project, a monthly event held at the Windsor East Recreation Center in which around 300 children participate, teaches life skills with an emphasis on fun.

The Sizanani Garden is managed by the Tshepo Community Development Initiative. Photo: Supplied

Other programs include Sizanani Garden, an organic vegetable garden, where they have partnered with Farming God’s Way, to bring in seasonal vegetables and teach conservation farming techniques.

The garden is also part of a professional reintegration program for previously unemployed people. Finally, a job creation program that consists of three components: work rehabilitation – designed by an occupational therapist and teaches general pre-professional skills while working, business development and integrated social services, which sees the organization integrate their service with various soup kitchens in the Linden area.

As each day has its ups and downs, they are grateful for the opportunity to witness the changes that individuals who come to Tshepo are making in their lives. Kok added, “Whether it’s a shower, asking for help getting ID or attending a soup kitchen, it’s a step in taking care of yourself and yourself. create a future. “

Kok explained how important showers are to the homeless community, and in 2019 the initiative received a donation of a shower that gives soup kitchen attendees space to shower and wash their clothes. clothes. “A shower is a big deal for the homeless community, it gives a feeling of recognition and respect. “

Since 2018, they have helped 70 people get their identity documents, have 488 people in their advocacy database, and they currently have five micro-businesses employing 18 people who were previously unemployed. During the hard lockdown, their organization opened up as a temporary shelter to give 24 displaced people a safe place to live while practicing social distancing.

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