Eating out helps kids on the street

2016-11-30 11:42
Elsa van Huyssteen, from the Cape Town Multi Service Centre in Salt River celebrates getting a helping hand from Caroline Bagley from StreetSmart SA.

Elsa van Huyssteen, from the Cape Town Multi Service Centre in Salt River celebrates getting a helping hand from Caroline Bagley from StreetSmart SA. (dirk visser, vision photography)

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Eating out at a restaurant affiliated to a special project helping street children is the smart choice across the Western Cape and parts of South Africa.

StreetSmart SA, an organisation dedicated to helping street children rebuild their lives through donations from restaurants in the Western Cape, Garden Route and Gauteng, handed over R600 000 to their Cape Town beneficiaries for 2017 at the Salesian Institute in Green Point recently.

This is part of an allocation of over R1m raised nationally for the third consecutive year by the organisation with the balance to be distributed in the other regions later this year.

The Cape Town beneficiaries are the Cape Town Multi-Service Centre in Salt River; Home from Home based in Masiphumulele, Ocean View and Westlake; Learn to Live School of Skills in Cape Town; Ons Plek in Mowbray; TLC Outreach Projects in Table View, and School of Hope – Thembalitsha Foundation in Somerset West.

Melanie Burke, from Muizenberg, is the chairperson of the organisation and says there are currently 31 restaurants in Cape Town that have embraced StreetSmart’s vision to make a real difference to the lives of street children.

Funds are raised by adding a R5 donation to each table’s bill at participating restaurants. This donation is voluntary and diners are able to contribute more if they wish to.

“Through the work of our beneficiaries, our organisation provides opportunities to empower street children and other vulnerable children in our communities to live viable lives,” she says.

“Through the generosity of our restaurant partners and other supporters we are able to continue to expand our national footprint. For the third time in a row we are disbursing over R1m to beneficiaries nationally.

"We are excited to be able to continue this work through responsible giving via participating restaurants.”

Expressing her gratitude, Madeleine Thornhill, principal of Learn to Live School of Skills based at the Salesian Institute in Somerset Road explains that she could write books about the impact that the funding has on children in the project.

“What stands out for me is that our learners, who come from impoverished, gang invested areas with little to no hope of a better future, get an opportunity to escape from their environment,” she says.

“Through the life skills and vocational training that we offer, they have a chance of a better future. With basic skills in panel beating these young people can find employment and break the generational cycle of poverty in their families.”

Harald Bresselschmidt and his team at Aubergine Restaurant in Gardens have been participating since 2009. He says that they are grateful to StreetSmart for providing a simple and easy way to contribute to children in need. “Many guests are happy to help, but not sure how and would rather channel donations through an audited organisation than give to children on the street,” he says.

“Five rand is such a small amount to ask, but all of it adds up in the end to a substantial and helpful sum of money. We’re very happy to be able to play a small part in facilitating the valuable work that the organisation does,” says Bresselschmidt.

StreetSmart was set up in 2005 by a group of concerned Capetonians under the patronage of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and comprises board members representing business and the hospitality and tourism industries.

The organisation’s goal is to be part of the process of social normalisation and to encourage the public not to give money into the hands of a child as this keeps them on the streets.

“In essence, eating and donating at a StreetSmart restaurant is the responsible way to help a street child,” concludes Burke.

  • For more information, or make a donation, call 021 447 3227, email, or click here.

Celebrating the donation to Home from Home in Masiphumelele, Ocean View and Westlake are, from left, Eilene Michaels (Home from Home), Marion Thomas (StreetSmart) and Charisse Fourie (Home from Home).

PHOTO: Dirk Visser, Vision Photography

Rodney Abrahams and Madeleine Thornhill from the Learn to Live School of Skills in Cape Town celebrate their donation with Leonard Hersch (StreetSmart) and some boys from the panel-beating programme at the school.

PHOTO: Dirk Visser, Vision Photography

Gina Jagers, left, from Ons Plek in Mowbray celebrates their helping hand with Nils Heckscher from Streetsmart SA.
PHOTO: Dirk Visser, Vision Photography

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