Celebrating the leaders of tomorrow on this #YouthDay2022

As South Africa commemorates the annual National Youth Day, on this 16th of June, Mould Empower Serve (MES) is appealing to prospective corporate donors, churches and individual volunteers to help fund the School Leaving Youth, as well as, Youth and Adults at Risk Focus Groups, which involves young people between ages of 18 to 35 who continues to bears the burden of a high unemployment rate in the country. For over 36 years, apart from rooting out the endemic of homelessness in the inner South African cities in Johannesburg, kempton Park, Gqeberha and Cape Town, MES has been working a hand in glove in an attempt to eradicate the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. Every year, through the School Leaving Youth Focus Group, MES enrol at least fourteen underprivileged members of the youth league through a twelve months service programme called the Joshua Youth Servant Leadership. They play a key role of mentorship in the Learner and Pre-school Focus Groups during the After School Programmes (ASPs), while housed at MES Genesis House in Bertrams, Johannesburg, and receiving a stipend. According the Focus group’s Program Manager, Meriam Moreki, they’re in a dire need towards developing the young generation into future leaders. ‘’The needs for them is to be able to take them to trainings that are accredited, we need R21000 for that. And, the other needs they have is to run the daily basics like to pay bills for their electricity and their food where they are staying.So, we really need funds for that, as much as we can help. For a Joshua to get stipend we need, at least, R1500 to R1600 monthly per Joshua, and they’re fourteen,” said Moreki. While most of these youngsters in the gap year programme are in need of funding and bursaries to enrol at university in the next academic year of 2023, according to Moreki, they have established a soccer team to mould their talents. ‘’I mean we are living in the city, we are living in the flats, what must they do? So, the soccer team helps them because some of them wants to be soccer stars. So, this is a platform for them to be able to showcase their talents. And, out of that we want to take them to tournaments, we want to buy them another kit at least for now," beamed Moreki. Meanwhile, some of the Joshuas have shared their meaning of Youth Day. ''What Youth Day means to me, I think it’s driven from the fundamental history that we have in our country on the 16th of June that the Youth fought for our freedom. What it means to me, rather, is being young and wanting to take up to leadership positions, and wanting to make a change in the world,'' said Brightness Ngwenya, a MES Joshua 2022. ''I believe Youth Day for me is to celebrate the freedom we received, the opportunity to going to school and have our own businesses,” said Kevin Diale, ...

Liezel lands a permanent job

Liezel Moses is a 26-year-old mother, who arrived at our drop-in centre in Parow on the 18th of January 2022, looking for a job opportunity. She helps to support her family, including her parents, while caring for her own children, since none of them are employed.    After losing her partner of eight years in a car accident, she has been making her way toward healing and finding peace, step by step.   Liezel was referred to, our job rehabilitation program, GROW, and was then given the opportunity to partake in the PEP program, because of her tenacity.  Last Friday, Liezel received the wonderful news about landing her permanent job with the VRCID, our valued stakeholders.   Her new permanent employment contract started on Monday, 13 June 2022.  "We’re so proud of Liezel and the progress that she’s making.” - Anelle Erasmus, MES Marketing Manager 

MES Social Workers determined to safeguard the rights of children amid Child Protection Week

Mould Empower Serve (MES)’s Social Work Services (SWSs) says they will do their utmost best as their responsibility to protect children from any acts of violence, exploitation, and abuse which may render them becoming homeless. The organisation made the remarks on Thursday, the 2nd of June, during commemoration of Child Protection Week held at Laerskool Primary in Claremont, south of Johannesburg. Under the national theme “Let us Protect Children during COVID-19 and Beyond” led by Department of Social Development (DSD), Child Protection Week is marked annually between 29 May till 05 June, to raise awareness of the rights of children as articulated in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and Children's Act No. 38 of 2005. As for MES Johannesburg’s Social Worker, Bongani Nxumalo, has encouraged an audience of more than two hundred Grade 6 and 7 Laerskool Primary learners to say no to the use of drugs, as well as, engaging in sexual activities at a young age. Nxumalo stressed the need for a collective enforcement in rooting out so called “blessers”, the adults who are involved in sexual activities with children in exchange for money or material items. “It is the duty of the learners to enjoy their childhood, and not allow obstacles such as drugs, and abuse to determine their future. Blessers are messing up with the future which is in the hands of children,” said Nxumalo. With the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour held recently and hosted by South African government in Durban between 15 and 20 May, Nxumalo condemned with strongest possible terms practices of child labour that are still prevalent in Africa involving 160 million children. Meanwhile, Captain Thomas De Bruyn, of Sophiatown Police Station in Johannesburg invigorated the pupils to report to their teachers any acts of bullysim and selling of drugs which may be taking place in the school. While encouraging the learners to take their schoolwork as serious as their future, the captain maintained that children should be regarded as angels and not criminals. “Do not think you’re too young not to get arrested. We have a juvenile prison designed specifically for young people like you, whom may fail to be disciplined and involve themselves in illegal activities,” beamed Captain De Bruyn. The Child Protection Day commemoration featured Mosala Kelefetswe, 34-year-old retired drug addict who gave testimony to learners about his past miserable life of drugs and criminal activities. Kelefetswe confessed to the audience that while he became homeless because of indulgence on drugs, him and his friends would steal and rob people in the inner city of Johannesburg. Interestingly, through the help of MES in 2013, Kelefetswe was rehabilitated through South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA), where he’s now a changed heart. Kelefetswe is now a Social Auxiliary Work student at the Joburg Child Welfare and is expected to graduate in July 2022. “Firstly, I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and saviour. There are different activities one can do ...

MES, my saving grace

Like many others, Mpendulo Mahlalela (26) left his hometown and moved to Gauteng in search of employment opportunities. Mpendulo grew up in Jeppes Reef, Mpumalanga. He was raised by his Grandmother and completed his matric in 2015. After his Grandmother passed away, Mpendulo realised that he didn’t have anyone to lean on for financial support. He decided to go in search of a job somewhere else as he wasn’t having any luck in his hometown. Mpendulo arrived in Germiston at the end of 2021 with hopes of finding employment and a better life. But he was alone with no one to call or anywhere to go. After spending a week looking for work and living on the streets of Germiston, Mpendulo decided to leave and try his luck in Kempton Park.   Mpendulo spent three days living next to a taxi rank in Kempton Park. This was where he met someone who told him about MES Kempton Park. He immediately made his way to us in search of shelter. Mpendulo has been with us since and he is determined to build a better life for himself. He has just joined the GROW job rehabilitation team. He shared that: “MES Kempton Park has given me more than I was looking for. Firstly, I am grateful for the humble service that I have received from the staff. I was welcomed without judgment and with patience and persistence my Social Worker continues to work with me through my various challenges”. “While working at GROW, my hope has been restored because I know that I have something to look forward to the following day, instead of sitting around aimlessly.”

MES extol employee, Chatikobo for her PhD qualification

Despite the challenges of having suffered from depression in the last academic year of 2021, after four years of embarking on her PhD Journey since 2018, Nyasha Chatikobo can now put the title “Dr” after her name. “I was studying Project Management and PhD, while working at the same time. So, my brain collapsed,” said Dr Nyasha Chatikobo, 32-year old National Impact Advisor for Monitoring and Evaluation at Mould Empower Serve (MES). Hailing from Bulawayo, second largest city in Zimbabwe after Harare, Dr Chatikobo came to South Africa in 2009 to pursue a Social Work degree qualification at the University of Fort Hare, Eastern Cape province. After accomplishing her qualification in 2012, she advanced her achievement to a Master’s Degree in 2014 to 2015 record time. In 2018, while employed as an Impact Advisor for Monitoring and Evaluation at MES, Dr Chatikobo immediately took her enthusiasm in academia to another level, as she enrolled for her PhD in Social Work with the same university where she’s now graduated as Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work. Important to note, she is also graduated for a Higher Certificate in Project Management in the academic year of 2021 at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, Gauteng province. Asked about her PhD research topic, Dr Chatikobo investigated The Impact of Treatment Programmes offered to relapse patients in Rehabilitation Centres in Gauteng. More ever than before, she is delighted that her qualification and experience in research will help MES become an outstanding information leader it is, in provision of in-depth knowledge about substance use disorders, in order to alleviate the scourge of homelessness found in the inner South African cities. “It is an honour to serve the homeless and being able to understand what they go through in order to come up with solutions to solve homelessness. This will help improve our approach method of intervention with homelessness,” beamed Dr Chatikobo. While aspiring for a practical success in treatment of substance use disorders, Dr Chatikobo says she’s grateful for the support received from MES allowing her study leave and extra time to focus on completing her studies. Interestingly enough, in addition, Dr Chatikobo also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in the course of Monitoring and Evaluation acquired in 2018 from Stellenbosch Univiversity, Western Cape province.

Young heart changed and turned around for the better

  Rochihauno Ford (26) has been a participant in our GROW programme since April 2021. Unemployed, Ford approached us in search of help and received job rehabilitation support through GROW. Throughout his journey within the programme, Ford showed great potential, he was always on time and eager to learn. His stepfather unfortunately passed away last year, leaving him and his 2 siblings without financial support. Rochihauno enjoyed a special bond with his stepfather who was always there for him. His passing did not only put the family in a financially vulnerable situation but has also taken a massive emotional toll on them. Rochihauno returned to the centre, put in extra effort, worked harder than before and soon became a GROW team leader. MES has been a place of spiritual and emotional support for him and has arranged for counselling to help him through the healing process. We are humbled by Ford’s personal journey and inspired by his resilience. He was awarded a place within the Public Employment Programme (PEP) as team supervisor. Today, his good work ethic and positive attitude has landed him a permanent position at the VRCID cleaning department.

87% off the street due to skills-for-jobs partnership

In a recent survey done by MES and our partners indicated that unemployment is one of the main contributors of homelessness in South Africa. To address the issue, the City of Cape Town Public Employment Programme (PEP) has teamed up with MES and 13 partner organisations. The programmes hopes to address homelessness through skills development. Our GROW programmes has become a key component of the PEP partnership. GROW is a job rehabilitation programme offered by MES. The programme provides the homeless and unemployed community with an alternative to aggressive begging and petty crimes. Five MES clients who participated in the programme have since become permanently employed as a result. The programme is designed to give our clients access to skills development and employment opportunities, like in-service training. The objective of this programme is underscored by the vision and mission of MES, which is to empower people holistically to live independent, sustainable, and meaningful lives. The hope of seeing homeless people build lives for themselves hinges on their ability to find and sustain jobs. Our goal is to see more people becoming permanently employed, so they can get off the streets for good. To find out more about PEP and how the programme continues to drive sustainable change within the homeless community of Cape Town, please read the LATEST SURVEY HERE.

Meet Senzo, a MES Outreach worker who supports the homeless in Cape Town

  "It humbles me, each day I meet people who have degrees and who wanted to be something in life, it happened to them."  - Senzo Madida, 21 Outreach Worker for MES Cape Town.  Outreach with MES entails going out on the street to find out where homeless people sleep, and to build relationships with them. The goal is to network and inform them about the services that we have to offer. "I go out and see where they are living and see why they are there", says Senzo, a MES Outreach Worker in Durbanville, who sees roughly 45-50 homeless people each week. According to Senzo, building relationships with those in need is key in getting them to trust you enough to accept help. To achieve this, Senzo works closely with officials at the City of Cape Town. As soon as they inform Senzo about new tents being pitched by the homeless, he accompanies them to where the need is, offering services and support to the homeless. "Most importantly, I build trust. We need to go on the street and tell those in need what we can do to help them. They need to be able to trust us enough to let us help them. Usually, we judge people without understanding what led someone into that situation", says Senzo. "Usually, the first thing that people need is an identity document, so that they can get a job. That's one of the first things that I assist them with", he continued. According to Senzo, anecdotally, almost all of the people who are on the streets in his area are from other parts of the country. Usually, they came to Cape Town in search of better opportunities. However, they don’t have any friends or family here, which leaves them with no support structure. In doing outreach, Senzo tells, you also come across those who were transferred to a prison in Cape Town from other parts of the country. Upon release, they're either too ashamed to return home, or their families flat-out reject them. Their chances of getting a job are exceedingly low because employers don't take kindly to criminal records. In his experience, Senzo has seen a cycle emerge among those released onto the street after having been in prison: "They live on the street for two weeks before being introduced to drugs, after that, the likelihood of them getting off the streets is very low indeed", Senzo elaborated. "There are also those who want to go back to prison because, after a month on the streets, they find that life was better in prison, so they commit other offences to go back", he added. For most people, getting off the street is very difficult. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication from both the outreach and social worker, and the homeless person in question, to make it happen. Senzo went on to share what the most profound impact that his job had on him was, saying: "it humbles me, each day ...

Happy birthday MES Cape Town: 9 wins over 14 years

At the outset, the Bellville Care Mission functioned as an outreach ministry before registering to operate as a non-profit organisation in 2005. During 2007 it became clear that MES Johannesburg and the Bellville Care Mission shared similar dreams and organisational cultures. This resulted in the merging of the two, where the Bellville Care Mission was registered as a MES Branch in March 2008. Since then, MES Cape Town has established a very strong outreach and social relief component that serves the immediate and short-term needs of the homeless and unemployed community. In 2013, LECA farm opened with the aim of teaching MES clients how to grow vegetables to sell at markets. This was the start of the container gardens. Off the back of this initiative, between 2014 and 2015, we launched the GROW job rehabilitation programme, where our clients are given work and skills development opportunities, in partnership with other organisations and businesses. Around that time, social work and occupational therapy services paved the way for the further expansion of vocational skills training and job placement in 2015. We also saw the LECA farm start operating with hydroponic tunnels and aquaponic systems. In 2016, MES Cape Town started providing services to the tenants of our sister company Madulammoho Housing Association (MHA), which exists to provide people with access to affordable housing opportunities. These included Social Work Services (SWSs) and was the start of youth nights as well as our educational holiday programmes for the children. Around May of 2017, MES Cape Town opened the doors to our step-down shelter, The Safe Space. This facility has since been addressing the enormous accommodation need for the homeless. In that year, the LECA farm also obtained funding for expansion. On the 28th of November 2018, the MES Bellville Safe Space was awarded a Bronze Certificate for Social Innovation. The Impumelelo Social Innovations Award Centre is a leading awards programme in South Africa, rewarding excellence and innovators who find creative solutions to public problems. The first after-school programmes (for primary school children) started operating in both Belhar and Scottsdene, on the 1st of February 2019, both of which are low-income estates. Monthly Coffee Clubs were also introduced to secondary school children in both estates. LECA farm is handed over to Streets Scape’s whose mission model is based on the rehabilitation of street people through veggie gardens. 2020 brought its own challenge and we quickly had to respond with the opening of emergency kitchens and shelters to cope with Covid-19 lockdown levels. By the end of 2020, we were able to establish our Parow and Durbanville Drop-in Centres, despite the challenges brought by the pandemic. Last year, on the 1st of February, we opened the door to our 2nd Phase Accommodation programme, which caters to rehabilitated homeless people who are ready to move on following job placement but cannot yet afford market-related accommodation. Until now, we have been focused on expanding our GROW Job Rehabilitation programme, while planning our first Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre, ...

“The dream of HR team is to see MES grow into other provinces,” says HR Manager

For the past 35 years, MES has relied on the servant hearts of its staff to carry out the commitment of serving the vulnerable community of the inner cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Kempton Park and Gqeberha. As an organisation which has grown over time to serve on a national level, it takes Human Resource (HR) expertise to ensure that the staff that serves at MES is dedicated to their work. The HR team at MES is responsible for recruitment, staff training, processing of monthly payroll, staff recognition and being the general staff support system. The team also acts as custodians of the processes and procedures of the organisation and ensure compliance to Labour Relations issues. “It is amazing to see the growth of the MES team over the years and especially the HR team. To realise that as a support service to the Focus Groups, we are not just clocking into work but we are here serving our staff so that they can better serve the community. We especially thank God for strengthening and enabling our staff to stand on their commitment to serve particularly in this difficult time,” says Portia Nyoka, National HR Manager As the year comes to an end, the dream of the HR team is to see MES grow into other provinces, where the help and services of the organisation are also needed. However, a dream that is closer to the heart of the team is to be able to get a wellness partner that can conduct an Employee Wellness Programme for the staff of MES. Working within the NPO sector means that the organisations do not always have funds for perceived-simple things like a team-building activity or even gifting staff with a cup or jacket. These small initiatives create a sense of belonging for any work environment and ensure that staff love coming to work. This is the area that partners and donors can play a big role in supporting the NPO sector to carry out the work they do in the community. “The past year has been a difficult time for everyone, as a team we have learned that we need each other to stand and move forward. It has been encouraging to have the committed partners that have supported MES and the continuous dedication from our staff to change people’s lives,” ends Nyoka.

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