‘My heart wants to give’

2018-09-18 06:00
Businesswoman and community champion Edith van der Rheede at her secondhand store in Kensington. PHOTO: luvuyo mjekula

Businesswoman and community champion Edith van der Rheede at her secondhand store in Kensington. PHOTO: luvuyo mjekula

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A 56-year-old mother gets joy out of helping needy people and would not give up her job for anything.

Edith van der Rheede, the owner of Second Hand Clothing (SHC) in Kensington, says the struggles she went through while growing up taught her to share.

“My heart just wants to give. For me it’s about giving and sharing,” says Van der Rheede, from Ottery.

She collects clothes and shoes and then restores and resells them at affordable prices. A Friday sale sees items priced as low as R1. She in turn uses the income to purchase school uniforms for needy schoolchildren in the Factreton area.

She says learners at WD Hendricks Primary School are some of her beneficiaries. She also helps bring hope to elderly residents by taking them out on excursions.

“It is heartsore for me when I see children living in such poverty and their parents not able to afford to even pay school fees,” she says.

The business gets the most donations from University of Cape Town (UCT) students. “We have bins at the different UCT residences where students drop in clothes they don’t want anymore, that they don’t want to take home with them. We do a collection and we empty the bins,” says Van der Rheede.

She says she makes “big collections” in June and November. The company also has a bin at Howard Centre in Pinelands where community members drop off clothes and shoes. Donations are also received from a company in Claremont.

Her customers hail from areas including Elsies River, Gugulethu, Langa, Philippi, Grassy Park and Athlone.

Van der Rheede is grateful to Shawco management.

She explains that she had been involved in the secondhand business as an employee of Shawco about eight years ago, running the Rags to Riches project.

After she was retrenched in December 2017, she was fortunate that Shawco management allowed her to continue running the project in Mowbray and Kensington.

She eventually got the opportunity to completely take over the project and she transformed it into her own business and changed its name to SHC.

Van der Rheede employs a couple of people who help her run the business. When the items arrive at the Kensington storeroom, they sort, wash and price the clothes accordingly. However, due to water challenges and restrictions, it is not always possible to wash the clothes, she says.

The feeling of satisfaction she derives from helping others is so intense, she does not see herself taking up any other job. She recalls that at some point in her life she was involved in corporate business but has left that life behind.

“I would never want to go back into corporate again because of the need in the community,” Van der Rheede says.

She says the business is about job creation and helping underprivileged learners, seniors and communities in rural areas. She appeals to donors to help with transport to take learners and seniors on outings. “We are planning to take some learners to Table Mountain later in the year and the Ken-Fac Seniors to the Christiaan Barnard Museum at Groote Schuur Hospital,” she says.

She is also running short on bedding and larger-sized clothes.

V For donations, call Van der Rheede on 082 212 7721.

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