Thirty-four-year-old Lulu de Bruins did not feel pity for himself or wait for hand-outs after being injured in 2005.Since cheating death after being caught in crossfire during gang violence in Hanover Park, he has found a spot to make a living in Claremont and has since turned his life around for the better.The incident left him paralysed, which he says made things worse for him as he does not have any qualifications. He has since been selling “Funny Money” in the streets and is currently based in Cavendish Street.Bruins says selling “Funny Money” is just a living by fate – it has both good and bad days. On a really good day he walks away with R200 and on dry days he makes less than R80, depending on the generosity of motorists. “Being disabled without any formal education is tough. I do not blame anyone for my situation but I still have hope that I can turn things around and have a proper job. Working in the street like this is no longer healthy for me. The harsh weather conditions and circumstances in the streets are no longer in my favour. It has always been my dream to be an independent person and earn an honest living. If only I could have a proper job I would leave this life. I am a business-minded person and have a driver’s licence.”His licence allows him to drive only automatic cars.Talking about how he ended up paralysed, he confesses that as a young boy growing up in poverty in Hanover Park, he quit school and got caught up in drugs and was eventually involved with gangs.“I was young and lost but I soon realised I was not going to make it. Unfortunately, before I could figure my way out, I woke up in a hospital bed with serious injuries. It’s the price I paid unfortunately. As soon as I walked out of hospital I knew I would be independent and had hoped to find a job.“It was hard as I had now moved in with a relative and I had to pay rent. Someone introduced me to ‘Funny Money’ and I never looked back. I have over the years managed to sustain myself in a way.”He says it is sad that some children do not choose to join gangs but are lured and sometimes forced by the elder members to join gangs.He advises parents to pay attention to their children and seek help as soon as they suspect they are involved in gangs.“I will not lie, children are targeted, easily get manipulated and/or forced. If they resist they are threatened and could be at risk of being attacked. As much as government is trying their best, I doubt this is a battle they can win any time soon. Drug use and gangsterism is like a virus, it operates in a way you will never understand.”V Lulu de Bruins can be reached on 074 762 1899 and he prefers WhatsApp messages as he is mostly on the road.