Honouring vulnerable women

Women’s Day came a day early for a group of women from the homeless community in Claremont. On Wednesday 8 August, an extra special breakfast was made to honour these women at The Powerhouse, U-turn’s Service Centre.

According to Roger Wood, women are perhaps the most vulnerable among those living on the streets.

“Often disenfranchised and voiceless as they struggle to survive, they are at risk of sexual assaults, unplanned pregnancy and lack of support services.

“Many have ended up on the streets through domestic violence, lack of adequate housing and financial resources. Once on the streets, their lives are a daily struggle to find food, clothing, shelter and warmth.”

Wood says it was important to honour them with this special event.

They sang together, had their photos taken, dressed up in various outfits and most importantly, had a delicious breakfast. They had bacon, scrambled eggs, mushrooms and baked beans prepared by a team of trainee cooks from Capsicum Culinary Studio based in Salt River.

According to Wood one of U-turn’s final phase Life Change champions shared her story. “She told them how she had grown up in a privileged home but had wasted opportunities by poor decisions. She had ended up living in a shelter before joining the Life Change programme. She’s 27 years old now but said: ‘I only started growing up nine months ago’. She has managed to turn her life around. From addiction and homelessness she is now able to be a mother to her children, so that they can grow up strong and resilient to life’s challenges. Her closing words were: ‘All I have today, God did it for me. I’m not perfect. I still make mistakes but God picks me up.’”

Wood says the morning ended with a special presentation of a small box of fruit, samoosas, muffins and chocolate. But the best gift of all was a handbag full of beauty products, given to each of the women. They walked out of the centre as confident women proudly carrying their handbags in their hands. Hopefully, they too were inspired to take the steps towards rehabilitation and reintegration, he says.

Wood says the organisers thanked a group of Old Mutual workers who donated handbags, as well as Charlotte Rhys and Faithful to Nature who added beauty products.

The Powerhouse provides daily meals to homeless and vulnerable people. The meals are given in exchange for a voucher given to them by concerned members of the public.V The vouchers are for sale through various outlets and the details of these can be found on the U-turn webpage: www.homeless.org.za/get-involved/#vouchers