From soup kitchen to social entrepreneur

Most people who are down on their luck, standing in a queue at a soup kitchen to get their only meal of the day, are not necessarily wondering how they can improve the lives of the people around them. But Paul Taljaard, Director of Hands of Honour, is not ‘most people’. 

The organisation is one of five finalists in the 2018 Chivas Venture Competition. They are each competing to win a share of $1 million, and the chance of a lifetime to represent South Africa in Chivas Regal’s Venture 4 finals to be held in 2018.   

 “Many of the men standing alongside me in the soup kitchen queue had skills, and I wanted to do something that would five back their dignity,” says Taljaard of the moment he decided to start his organisation.

Hands of Honour, founded in 2010, is a start-up Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) that aims to be a major force for the greater good in communities by creating employment opportunities, whether through upcycling or carpentry or other means.  

“We realised that people were throwing away things that could be used, so we decided to specialise in upcycling. We have created mobile ‘Angel Classrooms’ on wheels for under-resourced schools. Everything we do is with the community in mind, and to fulfil a need.”

The organisation has been widely recognised as playing an active role in creating a safer community, through the work that it does.

Taljaard hopes that the Chivas Venture award, if he wins it, will enable him to provide more employment and bring more hope for people living in poverty on the Cape Flats.

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