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Ikusasa makes education a possibility for the vulnerable

The Ikusasa Foundation is a group of individuals from the Netherlands who have been supporting MES for the past few years. Every year they personally come to South Africa to donate stationery to underprivileged school children from Soweto and Hillbrow in Johannesburg. Even though COVID-19 travel restrictions meant that they were unable to deliver the donations personally, Ikusasa ensured that their valuable donations were still delivered in time for the new school year. The Ikusasa Foundation donated uniform vouchers, stationery and lunch packs to over 152 learners through the MES Social Work Support (SWS) programme for the 2021 academic year. The donations received in January this year were given to at least 80 school children in Hillbrow and 72 children from Mofolo Park in Soweto. The donation will add incredible value to ensure these learners have a successful academic year. Our Social Support Services include a holistic approach through assessment workshops for the After School Programme (ASP) parents and learners. Using our new Monitoring & Evaluation tool  Poverty Stoplight, social workers are able to conduct needs assessments to determine effective distribution of food parcels. Moreover, they also host workshops with the learners about social issues and how to respond to bullying or abuse. MES continues to appreciate the Ikusasa Foundation whose contribution supports us in serving inner-city children. Thank you so much for changing lives of our valued clients and their families

Valentine’s pick me up for shelter beneficiaries

On 14 February 2021, MES Johannesburg celebrated Valentine’s day with shelter clients at our Impilo Shelter. The day celebrated love and shared words of encouragement to support clients going through challenging times. MES understands the importance of spiritual enrichment and motivational talks as it exposes clients to stories of people who overcame serious difficulties in life in order to reach their potential. Pastor Chris, a well-respected member of our community, led the conversation on the day and was supported by Bhili and his wife who shared their personal journey. Bhili and Pastor Chris met while Bhili was in prison and have since been on a spiritual journey together. Bhili has since been released from prison, and along with his wife, they share a story of love and encouragement. The couple shared their story at the MES Ekhaya Shelter for the first time at the end of 2020 and their story did wonders in lifting the morale and mental wellbeing of clients. The Impilo Shelter clients and the shelter caretakers was spoiled with catering provided by donors in our community – delivious cupcakes from the Pennington family from Parkview Community and tea, coffee and biscuits from theParkkruin Familie Kerk congregation members and Oaklands Conference centre. The event was aimed at bringing back a positive morale and dignity to our beneficiaries. We are very thankful to Pastor Chris and his beautiful wife Lolo for sharing love and hope with our Impilo Shelter beneficiaries.

City of Cape Town’s Lion Club turned Centre of Hope in Durbanville

One would think that December resembles ending off, rest and winding down...well, not for us! December meant the opening and renovating of our new Centre of Hope in Durbanville.  In our world, December meant starting things, working hard, and winding up! After two years of prayer for a place within Durbanville, the City of Cape Town granted us the use of the old Lions Club which became a reality during the festive season. By the grace and goodness of God, we received an empty building with one desk, filled with potential and hope. We jumped in and started sourcing everything we needed to operate, reaching out to churches, schools, local businesses and community members. Our Durbanville community was simply amazing. Our GROW teams grew every day, we prepared meals, shared stories and had so much fun! On Christmas day, we served a fully cooked lunch with gammon, roast potatoes, fresh salads and much more. Tables were decorated to the brim and many of our clients enjoyed their first Christmas lunch at a beautifully set table with a filling lunch. We could not bear the thought of closing our Centre of Hope so continued serving our clients over the festive days. The new year started off with a bang! We implemented daily workshops, the Meal Voucher system, and started teaching values and speaking about dreams. Our GROW team also had their first Brightstar training sessions where life skills were taught, and hope was restored. Our aim with the Centre of Hope is to get businesses, churches and communities to take hands. We are currently engaging with the City of Cape Town, neighbourhood watches, churches, schools and businesses to create a network where positive change can be brought to Durbanville. It is amazing to see how willing and open people are to get involved. Our renovations are ongoing and we thank you for partnering with us in our dream to restore that which the Lord has placed in the lives of those around us. Your support makes our work and the change that you witness in the lives of our people possible. We look forward to what lies ahead in 2021. Cape Town After School Programme (ASP) kicks-off for the new academic year Our After School Program (or ASP) has restarted for the 2021 school year. Here we support parents by providing a safe place where their children can be given a balanced meal, educational support, and fun activities to keep them occupied away from the busy inner city. Our goal is to not only look after these children, but also instill in them the love of God and teach them biblical values, while also supporting them in any way they need whether it be emotional, spiritual or educational. Building relationship with residents through community dinner Our Durbanville Centre of Hope, in partnership with local churches and small businesses, has started a community dinner initiative where individuals from all walks of life can sit around the same table to share a meal. ...

Give Responsibility

MES Cape Town is calling on corporate donors and individual volunteers to support the Give Responsibly campaign, which discourages residents in the Western Cape province, from handing out money and goods to the homeless living in the streets. As our campaign objective and part of our role to empower and uplift the destitute, we urge the community to refer homeless people at non-profit (NPO) organisations, such as MES. While there is over 14 000 homeless people in Cape Town at cost of R700m spent a year,  according to  The Cost of Homelessness Study in Cape Town, there’s seemingly been short-term solutions to the problem which are not only expensive but fail to help people get off the streets. When and how to Give Responsibly? We encourage the public to “Take cash out of the system” by buying food and shelter vouchers and refer people in need to charity  organisations such as MES, who will assist them through a high-level of social support services which the street people need. Why should the public not give hand outs: Giving money to children on the streets encourages them to leave home and stay out of school, promote substance abuse and keeps them away from organisations that are there to help them. Giving food and clothing also does not help, it is sold or exchanged. Giving money or support directly to street people demotivates them to search for professional social services which can change their lives. SHELTERS IN THE CITY OF CAPE TOWN  MES Safe Space, 1 AJ West street, Bellville 021 945 8028. Elim Night Shelter, 47 Third Ave, Elsies River 021 591 2824. Happy Valley Shelter, Off Palace Hill Road, Simon’s Town 021 786 5087. The Haven Night Shelter, Moira Henderson, 107 Chapel Street, Woodstock 021 461 2533. The Haven Night Shelter, Napier, 2 Napier street, Green Point 021 421 6219. The Haven Night Shelter, C/o 10th Ave & Metaal Street, Retreat 021 715 0817. Loaves & Fishes Shelter, 1 Chatham Road, Mowbray 021 448 5900. The Haven Shelter District Six, 20 Selkirk street 021 465 1310 The Haven Shelter Wynberg, 16 Piers Road, Wynberg 021 762 8243. The Haven Kraaifontein, 21 Van der Ross Street, Eikendal 021 987 1967. What is Responsible Giving?   Sponsor a meal or shelter voucher. Sponsor a Job Rehabilitation shift. Donate good quality clothing, food products, toiletries and cleaning material to organisations who offer services to street people. Sponsor a grocery gift card voucher for food. Donate your time by volunteering. Sign a debit order form for a programme of your choice. Give time and respect to street the homeless. Referring them to charity. Using a resource list of your area. Know your ‘hood’ (neighbourhood) - get to know the organizations in your area. “Give a hand up, not a handout” Click here - Give Responsibly Click here - Read Cost of Homelessness Study in Cape Town

Help MES reunite Gogo with family and empower the skills acquired

Help MES reunite Gogo with family and empower the skills acquired MES is appealing to prospective donors and individual volunteers to assist in reuniting our granny, who has been part of a Knitting and Crocheting Project by the ladies living at our Impilo shelter since Covid-19 level-5 lockdown in Jeppestown, Johannesburg.  The knitting project has evolved to represent an opportunity for personal growth while developing valuable entrepreneurship skills. To get involved, please contact Tarryn on 011 725 6531 or email tarryn@mes.org.za or donatejhb@mes.org.za. Click here - Donate to MES Johannesburg

MES Kempton Park Charity Golf Day raise thousands in rands for After School Programme (ASP)

MES Kempton Park has successfully hosted its annual Charity Golf Day to help sustain and improve its After School Programme (ASP) for the less fornunate pupils in the inner city. Friday, the 27th of November 2020, saw a hive of activity at the ERPM Golf Club in Boksburg as Friends of MES and individual volunteers participated in the golf day. “It is a privilege to have finally hosted this event, as it had been postponed due to COVID-19 regulations. What is even more exciting is that this year our Kempton Park branch celebrates its 10th anniversary, so to be able to connect with our donors and supporters in this way was very special,” says MES Kempton Park branch manager, Helena van Blerk. The MES Kempton Park branch was opened on 1 August 2010, after a group of concerned members of the community came together to address the increasing problem of homelessness and poverty in the inner city. “The impact that the branch has made so far is evident in the number of lives changed and the real stories that continue to be told by the people who have found help and a home at MES Kempton Park,” adds Leona Pienaar, CEO of MES. The  range of programmes offered by the branch has grown from the initial overnight shelter and food relief programme to include an after school programme (ASP) for the inner-city leaners, a job and life rehabilitation programme for adults, and a variety of spiritual enrichment initiatives. “I would like to encourage everyone in Kempton Park to get involved; whether it is playing or sponsoring a hole or sponsoring a prize or sharing this invite far and wide! Your contribution will make a definite impact as proceeds will go towards the development of our new ASP facility,” adds van Blerk. MES has recently acquired its premises, and have set plans to expand the ASP as an urgent priority. This expansion will mean the children will have a bigger space for their playground, their own ablution facilities and a place they can call their own.

Rosebank Rooftop Sunday Market – giving hope to MES shelter women in business

During the COVID-19 lockdown period, the staff at MES Impilo Shelter realised that the shelter clients had immense creative talent. Through donations of wool, beads and sewing material the women started to produce various items. On Friday, 28th August 2020, MES Johannesburg hosted a women’s day event for the shelter women, with aims to tap into what women can do to help themselves in identifying skills for survival. MES Johannesburg is proud to announce that what had stemmed from their efforts are beautiful bespoke items that were on display and for sale at the Rosebank Sunday Rooftop Market on the 1st of November. This space allowed the women to showcase their items on a much bigger platform to a wider possible customer base. Lockdown has affected many livelihoods, especially those without proper employment. The way forward is to develop entrepreneurs from among our shelter clients who use their creative skills to produce and sell items. This will help them earn an income to cover some of their basic needs. We are pleading to the general public to come support our ladies beautiful handcrafted items. These items are more than just a product. They are hundreds of hours of failures and experimentation, frustration and moments of pure joy – they are made with love and passion with an intrinsic story of hope.

MES and GoldYouth Peer education – absorb over 70 youth to become positive role models and agents of community change

MES Johannesburg and Gold Youth have partnered in a programme that teaches young people the importance of positively influencing people around your community. This peer education initiative started on the 11th of November in the MES assessment centre in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. Gold Youth’s primary focus is to test and scale the methodology of youth peer education where positive peer pressure is structured to bring about sustained community change through an “each-one-reach-one” approach within the Early Childhood Development (ECD)  centres, After School Programmes (ASP), Training Centre and through MES recycling project. ‘’We believe that young people are capable of transforming their own communities through the skill Gold and MES offers. We took about 70 young people to join this peer education programme. Our goal is to give them the platform to be heroes in their communities,” said MES Johannesburg Programme Manager, Bonolo Masigo. Peer education is an approach to health promotion, where community members are supported to promote health-enhancing change among their peers. The aim of this programme is help teach or share health information, values and behaviour in educating others who may share similar backgrounds or life experience.

Compucut Signs deliver free signage for MES Port Elizabeth

MES Port Elizabeth expresses gratitude to Compucut Signs company for a new sign board at its shelter building in the Eastern Cape province. According to new branch manager, Ronny Naude, who is also one of the company’s Managing Directors this will bring relief to image of MES as far as branding is concerned. “We have freely decided to start charity at home, using our company resources to invest in MES. We are really grateful to be part of MES and helping our most vulnerable communities,” said Naude. MES PE accommodated nearly 60 homeless adults, including 44 men and 12 women. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot more has been lost and MES PE has appealed to the general public and corporate donors to assist with funding in order to expand on other services. “The services rendered to our client groups include a holistic approach of prevention, intake and intervention leading to a sustainable exit for each individual,” stated Naude. Presently, MES PE focusses on adults, older persons, social support services and enterprise projects.

MES PE thanks all donors for support during the COVID-19 lockdown

Since the national lockdown was announced by President Ramaphosa, many businesses, entrepreneurs and organisations have severely suffered the consequences. It is for this reason that MES Port Elizabeth acknowledges the struggle that many businesses and individuals are facing amid the scourge of COVID-19 pandemic. So thankful and appreciative for all donations made to our shelter during this strenuous time. Indeed, all of the contributions made have allowed the branch to provide daily meals, toiletries, masks, sanitisers and clothing for the winter season. In this light, MES PE takes this opportunity to honour those individuals for opening their hearts to our community and offering help where it was needed. The race is far from done and every effort is needed to ensure that our residents are given the best possible help. Every contribution makes a world of difference and that is exactly what every donation has meant to the most vulnerable and homeless. It is through such unflinching solidarity and faith that MES and partners fight together to overcome the dilemma of homelessness.

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