Cape Town is a place where meetings with friends and colleagues are often held at one of the city’s many sidewalk cafes. It is a convivial atmosphere which can be seasoned with a dash of guilt or empathy with the less fortunate members of our society.
Our traffic lights are another place where the contrast between the “haves” in their comfortable vehicles is in stark contrast to the “have not’s” on the side of the road.
“Many people don’t realise that the harm they are doing by giving money to people who beg from them,” said Tasso Evangelinos, COO of the Central City Improvement District (CCID) – an organisation that provides valuable top-up services over and above what the City of Cape Town provides. It is mandated to ensure that the Central City is safe and secure, and to address social issues in the Central City.
“Street children, for example, can earn between R200 and R1000 a day by appealing to the generosity of people in town, and sadly our research shows that as much as 90% of this usually are spent on drugs.”
The CCID has formed partnerships with several organisations that work with the homeless in the city and, as part of its Give Responsibly campaign, is encouraging the public to channel their donations to these organisations, rather than giving directly to the beggars on the street.
“Often the giving of money or food is an emotional response,” said Pat Eddy, Social Development Manager for CCID. “If you have just had a good night out and you are approached by someone, it is easy to hand over even quite large amounts of money. But by doing that, you are in a way “keeping” that person on the street.
“The Give Responsibly campaign encourages people to go beyond that kind of knee-jerk reaction and support organisations that are helping destitute people to change their lives.”
The campaign, which started in 2008, has already begun to see good results. Restaurants in particular have been very supportive and have provided information to their patrons encouraging them to support the organisations that are working in the city with people in need.
The NGO Straatwerk, with its job rehabilitation projects for destitute men and women is one of the organisations that work closely with the CCID. Many previously homeless people have found employment within the CCID projects.
The CCID has built up a good relationship with a few organisations that work with destitute people and children in the Central City. They are The Haven, with its vision to get the homeless home; The Homestead which provides residential care and family integration for boys; Ons Plek which does similar work with girls; and The Carpenter’s Shop which provides rehabilitation services and teaches skills to adults.
“We urge the Cape Town public to read the leaflets which will be distributed in key areas around the city by people wearing distinctive ‘Give Responsibly’ bibs for the period March to June,” Eddy said.
“And please don’t throw them away. We want you to keep the leaflet in your bag or your car, so that next time you feel inspired to help someone on the street, you can Give Responsibly by giving to organisations that are already making a difference in the lives of many people.”
For further information contact Pat Eddy at 021 419 1881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Issued by: Hippo Communications, contact Beryl Eichenberger at 021 556 8200 / 082 490 6652