Ex-drug addict makes a u-turn

2019-04-16 06:00
Brenden and Mauricia McDonald.

Brenden and Mauricia McDonald.

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After once hitting rock bottom, his life has now made a u-turn and he changed for the better. This happened after Brenden McDonald joined U-turn, a non-profit Christian organisation that believes in life after being homeless.

U-turn equips the homeless with skills to overcome homelessness through a phased program that was crafted over 21 years ago.

The organisation held a breakfast session to show people the work they do and how people can help to improve the lives of those who find themselves on the streets.

The breakfast was held at the U-turn service centre in Claremont last Tuesday.

McDonald was released from a prison in Durban where he was awaiting trial for a drug-related crime.

He landed in Cape Town with no family and found himself on the streets. Having been a drug addict for about 13 years, life was not easy on the streets.

He did numerous jobs through Straatwerk, just to survive. “I have swept every street in Cape Town. I later ended up in a shelter but it didn’t last long and found myself back on the street again. I worked hard and found myself climbing the ranks in Straatwerk,” he says.

He was then introduced to U-Turn and he is grateful that through their help and training he is now a better man, father and husband. “This is extremely emotional for me. I was on drugs for 13 years, with no hope. When I heard about U-turn I knew this was my chance to change my direction. When I got to U-turn they taught that I should have the will to change and be trained. I was taught not to be selfish but to be a parent and a father,” he says.

U-turn follows a four-step journey to employment. They provide 1400 lessons every month including parenting, money, management, IT and literacy. Mcdonald did the training and now works permanently as a labour recruitment officer.

“I graduated from U-turn in 2014. I had no experience in the office but through U-turn, I learned a lot. I want to tell everyone that this transformation is possible,” he says.

Explaining more about U-turn, the organisation director Sam Vos says this work is not one man’s doing. “Through your help, we help people think differently about their situation. We encourage people to do things differently and not look at their current situation as a permanent one,” he says.V For more information or to volunteer call 021 674 6119 or visit www.homeless.org.za.

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