HERE ARE SOME GREAT STORIES WORTH SHARING
My name is Pastor Deborah from LFM Foundation
I came across MES on social media. I was very intrigued by the activities they were doing with the ladies at the Impilo shelter during the Covid-19 lockdown time and I wanted to get involved!
Over the past few months I have been a volunteer at MES Impilo shelter; teaching the ladies to sew, knit, crochet and bead. It’s really been awesome to be involved with these ladies.
Sometimes people caught in difficult situations do not see a way out, but MES is really offering these ladies not just a bed and a plate to eat, but an opportunity for them to learn a skill that will assist them to make a difference in their lives when they go back to their families and their communities.
As a pastor, seeing people’s outlook on life change is what keeps me going. Every week when I meet with the MES ladies, they have improved their skills a lot! I am really proud of them and the strides they are making towards their self-development and their own growth.
MES is really doing a great job of changing people’s lives in the inner city of Johannesburg and I pray that their influence will increase across the country and into many other inner cities where this kind of help is needed.
The people that work at MES take their work as a calling, meeting people like Taryn who is a very passionate Fundraiser, Mama Patience the Caretaker at Impilo Shelter and others in the team, you can see that they really care about the homeless and have a heart for the vulnerable people! This is amazing to see in a time when people just work for money.
I pray that God continues to bless all at MES, that He provides partners and donors to partner with MES to continue the great work. I wish everyone an amazing Christmas season, a restful holiday for those taking some time off, safety for those travelling and protection for all during this second wave of Covid-19. I look forward to a continued partnership in 2021.
Gigini Moyo, MES shelter client turned jewellery seller after years of homelessness
I used to live in the streets of Johannesburg before I moved to Impilo shelter. Before MES social workers took me off the streets, life was difficult having to worry about my next meal or a place to sleep and not to mention the cold nights and rainy days, the abuse we endured from the police and drug lords.
I lost hope in the system when I first came to Johannesburg to seek employment and things did not seem to go well for me. I ended up living in the streets of Jozi, eating food from garbage. I was introduced to MES by one of the social workers about a month ago, told me about Impilo shelter and how I can change my life there.
It has already been a month, but I can see my life progressing and all thanks to Tarryn, who introduced me to the beading project and now I am able to sell my accessories outside Impilo Shelter. The money that I get I am at least able to pay R20 for overnight shelter, sometimes it is difficult, but it is better than not doing anything with your time.
In the future, I hope to grow my small business and hopefully one day I will be able to help others like me. I am pleading to the general public for support and even big corporate companies to support us because there are many of us who are trying to change our lives for the better. I am grateful to MES for taking me in. I would also like to thank all the donors who donated materials to us to start our businesses. God bless you.”
MES volunteer witness grace of God upon shelter client
Arno Bester was a client of MES Port Elizabeth shelter from January 2019 to March 2020. Shaun Slabbert, a volunteer at MES Port Elizabeth, first engaged with Bester in 2018 during a telephonic conversation.
“I first met Arno telephonically in 2018. He reached out MES PE for help, after leaving another local shelter. As I remember, the nature of the conversation was for him to figure out how to get back into what I can only refer to as “work society”. I recall the conversation well; he asked for some advice and we chatted about how overwhelmed he was with facing the outside world again. Little did I know that this was the start of a relationship that would go down some rough roads and windy paths but ultimately end in a testimony,” remembers Slabbert.
After a rocky journey and losing his job due to drug relapse, Bester joined MES PE in January 2019. His life slowly started showing signs of improving and the MES team recognised his improvements. However, old habits started forming again and within 3 months he relapsed. This escalated and led him to leave the shelter and start living in the bushes near the shelter.
At the beginning of July, 2019 after 4 months of being back to his drug habits, Bester came back to MES to ask for help. He went cold turkey to work the drugs out of his system and then started his journey back to living the life he knows now.
Bester secured a car guarding job where he was able to support himself by using the tips he received. Some days he was able to pay the full shelter fees and some days he came up short, but he always made up for what he owed and even when he was ill he made plans for someone to fill in for him at his car guarding job.
Bester started attending the MES Community Evenings, which are held on Wednesdays, and he soon became known as the guy who was brave enough to share. Though he struggled with confidence to pray for people, he always seemed to find a way to show his heart to people and he shared how he always prays for the people that he was helping to park and guard cars for.
One particular Wednesday evening, he shared a story of when he dropped a bottle from a packet he was helping pack in the car, how he quickly went inside and repurchased a new one and replaced it for the customer even though he could hardly cover his own costs for the day.
By the end of 2019, Bester had become an actively involved and trusted member of the MES shelter.
Bester’s trustworthiness led to him being invited by Shaun Slabbert to assist him to run a temporary shelter that he was opening in the city to prepare for the COVID-19 Lockdown. Bester was appointed manager of the temporary shelter which was opened at a school run by Jerusalem Ministries, which was going to be vacant during the lockdown period.
“Arno is someone who shows so much grace for others. Upon the temporary shelter closure, Arno was employed by the school as a resident house father. The scripture ‘for I know the plans I have for you’ comes alive for me as I sit and reflect on Arno’s journey over the last two years. I get to be encouraged that change is possible for all our clients and all those who come through our MES PE doors, when they surrender their hearts for the Glory of GOD,” says Slabbert.
Basil, a shelter client ascends to full time job after hard lockdown
At MES we love to see our most vulnerable and poverty stricken communities empowered. Most importantly, we delight in the amazing transformation that we witness with most of our homeless beneficiaries driven back into the mainstream society and getting employment.
Meet Basil, who has been staying at our Safe Space Shelter in MES Cape Town since the start of Covid-19 lockdown and, as the levels dropped, Basil moved up, little by little, until he realized MES services are there to mould, empower and serve him with respect.
Through our Social Work Services (SWSs) and the GROW Job Rehabilitation programme offered at the shelter, Basil has worked himself into a full time job and found permanent accommodation. We would like to thank every donor and individual volunteers who have made it possible for us to keep Basil in a safe space with nutritious meals.
It is, indeed, our dream to see every MES client reaching their full potential and being empowered to live a better life. Congratulations to Basil and may God’s peace be with him and his family.
Achmed’s gardening passion expand beyond Covid-19 lockdown
Achmed is 65 years old and has a kind manner about him. Achmed has been living at the Safe Space shelter since the beginning of lockdown. Throughout his life Achmed has followed a long nomadic journey.
He worked and spent time on farms in the Paarl area, where his love for growing veggies started and has always stayed with him. So, he took it upon himself to start a veggie garden at our Safe Space and ever since his first harvest, Achmed’s passion remain unstoppable.
With the help of various donations, he has now converted sandier ground into fertile soil, bearing beautiful veggies. Interestingly enough, some of the shelter clients support Achmed’s garden and some are even assisting Achmed in his garden duties.
Currently he is growing potatoes, carrots, cabbage and beet root, just to name a few. If you want to support Achmed’s garden please contact us a 021 949 8736 or email us at email@example.com
CATRIONA OVERCOMES ADDICTION
Catriona Shaikh left home because she felt like an outcast in her own home in Rustenburg, North West province . She felt she did not belong with her family due to racial issues. She then left home and her two sons because she wanted to experience life on her own. She went back home to look after her mother after she had a stroke, but after their mother passed away, her sister sold the property and that is when she ended up homeless.
According to Catriona, it was her boyfriend who referred her to MES. Catriona was recently hospitalized while at MES Impilo shelter due to health issues relating to alcohol addiction. She was then dignosed with a chemical imbalance condition. Through the help of MES health staff, she has conceded to taking medication to help her to overcome the addiction and get her health back.
‘Everyday I can see myself steadily changing; changing for the good and becoming a better version of myself, I am so excited! I am attending Care Group classes here at the shelter, where we are encouraged to write down long-short term goals for ourselves on a regular basis. This has helped me to re-ignite my passion for working with young people and I can see my dream of opening a Youth Development Programme where I can help troubled young people from my hometown a reality. Many young people from where I come from are struggling with drugs and alcohol abuse and addiction, and having gone through the same I believe I can be able to help them get out of it.” Said Catriona confidently.
MES has changed her life because she has now stopped using drugs and alcohol. She wants to become a better mother to her two sons. Catriona has also expressed her interest in serving at MES, as she is really passionate about helping young people.
Catriona is currently involved in the MES Johannesburg Gardening Project that was recently started with the aim of developing the shelter clients’ long-term skills that will help them to be able to sustainably exit the shelter environment.
‘’My dream for joining the project is to see homeless people like me being fed and not struggling for food. As soon as our harvest is ready, I want to sell it to ensure we have money coming in to buy more seeds and to feed more people in need. I cannot thank MES enough for what they are doing for me, noone has ever done this for me before! Everyday I have something meaningful to look forward, something that will make a big impact on the lives of other people.” Said Catriona.
MEET MARIUS BASSON
Marius Basson is a 53-year-old gentleman originally from Kokstad in KZN. In 2012, Marius left his hometown for a contract job as a mechanical fitter at Sasol, in Secunda (Mpumalanga). Mid 2013, his contract job came to an end and he decided to journey to Johannesburg in search for new job opportunities.
Unfortunately, while on his journey to Johannesburg, Marius was involved in a car accident injuring both his legs. From the scene of the accident he was rushed to Natalspruit Hospital where he was admitted for a period of three months. During his stay at the hospital, Marius was assisted to file a claim with the Road Accident Fund claims office.
Three months later, after being discharged from the hospital, Marius was left destitute and homeless. He had no relatives or friends in the area nor in the surrounding areas, therefore he had no helping hand and found himself wondering the streets. Eventually, towards the end of 2013, Marius made his way to Randburg and settled in the streets of Westdene. Fighting to survive in this new and challenging environment for a period of 5 and a half years, Marius developed a drinking problem and an anger problem due to stressing about the progress of his RAF claim.
Due to the fact that the lawyer representing Marius’ RAF claim is based in Kempton Park, in 2019 Marius decided to settle in the area in attempt to make the process of following up on the claim easier for himself. One day, while roaming the streets of Kempton Park, Marius met a man who told him about MES Kempton Park and how he could be assisted by the staff working there. In June 2019 Marius started staying at the MES Kempton Park shelter and later joined the GROW programme.
After a few months of working at GROW and years of missing home, Marius had saved up enough money to buy himself a bus ticket to Kokstad. For the first time in 6 years Marius journeyed back home and stayed there for only 3 months as his pending RAF claim would not let him rest. In February 2020 he made his way back to Kempton Park.
His RAF claim is yet to be concluded however during August 2020, while working at GROW, Marius managed to secure a contract job at Ukhasi Construction, through the help of William Hills (GROW Programme Co-ordinator). He is currently working and staying at the MES Kempton Park shelter, while proactively following up on the progress of his claim.
Marius said “The only reason I came back to Kempton Park this year is because of my claim. When I’m finished with this case I am going back to Kokstad. I miss home, I miss my family and I want to be with them. Here I have no family, but MES Kempton Park has become a second home for me. MES has helped me a great deal, if it wasn’t through MES, I would still be staying on the streets. Being at MES has helped me kick my drinking problem and the GROW workshops helped me to turn away from my violent ways. Being here has helped me to keep my mind occupied with positive things and keep my emotions intact. If it wasn’t for MES I wouldn’t be where I am today. Hope, faith and the help I’ve received at MES Kempton Park has helped me not to give up.”
MES Kempton Park helps to transform Sophonia’s life
Sophonia Katisi is a 44-year-old man who is originally from Limpopo, in a town called Botlokwa. In his early 30’s Sophonia moved to Pretoria in search for a job as a security guard and was fortunate to find employment. During this period, Sophonia was blessed to receive an RDP house in Mamelodi, a township in Pretoria.
Being a single Dad, receiving this house meant that he could finally bring his son to live with him. However, along the way Sophonia fell into the trap of using drugs. He started off with using dagga then moved on to using a range of other drugs. The addiction led to him sell his belongings just to sustain his drug habit.
He started to skip work which eventually lead to him leave his job. In desperation to get money, he attempted to sell his RDP house. Fortunately, the news reached his family in Limpopo, the family then sent his younger brother to move in with him in order to look after him and the house.
After a while, he resorted to borrow money from the wrong crowds and not paying it back, he even started to steal from people within his community. This led to his life being threatened and he eventually fled Mamelodi. He then found himself living on the streets of Kempton Park, without food, clothes or even a blanket. He resorted to using Nyaope to try and cope with living on the streets.
In October 2019, Sophonia started to become ill and in an attempt to seek help he went to a church on Margaret Street in Kempton Park. The pastor of the church referred him to MES Kempton Park and paid for him to shower and receive a meal.
When he arrived at MES Kempton Park, Sophonia met with Soul Malatji (Social Auxiliary Worker), who assessed and referred him to the Department of Social Development (DSD) because of his drug problem. During the application process for rehab, Sophonia started attending sessions with a DSD Social Worker, while staying at the MES Kempton Park shelter. At the same time, he was being strictly monitored by Soul, which was a formal request from the DSD Social Worker. Sophonia completed the required number of sessions and was placed into the SANCA Rehab centre.
At the beginning of 2020, Soul Malatji was contacted by SANCA and the DSD Social Worker, to inform him about Sophonia’s progress, his successful completion of the programme as well as to request shelter for him. He then joined the GROW programme and worked with dedication and discipline. Through the help of Soul, he managed to secure a job as a security guard at a construction site in Kempton Park.
“My life was terrible, I never thought that I will work again, regain my strength and restore my dignity again after so many years of struggle with drugs, but with MES Kempton Park I have realised all my dreams. I want to say to people with the same problem as mine out there, never ever loss hope in life, there are places like MES, where you can get help, only if you are ready to change your life, speak to a social worker and seek advice, they will help you to move forward and make your dreams come true.” Said Sophonia
In conclusion Soul Malatji shared these words on Sophonia’s journey and as encouragement to others in the same situation: “With the help of the DSD social worker and SANCA I have worked very closely with Sophonia Katisi to transform his life. It takes minutes to destroy your life and takes miles to recover. With Sophonia the journey was very hard however, at the end it proved that if you as an individual are willing to change from bad habits to good habits it is possible. He was a very good individual in our GROW programme and in the shelter. He is eager to learn from other people and from his mistakes. I am very grateful for his progress in life and I am wishing him all the best in life.”
Meet Thumisang Dube, a 31 year old man who is originally from Zimbabwe and is a panel beater by profession.
Prior to staying at the MES Kempton Park shelter, Thumisang was living in Midrand, but due to his life taking an unfavourable turn, he had to move out.
He first came to MES Kempton Park at the beginning of March 2020, looking for accommodation at the shelter, after he had found a job as a panel beater in Pomona. Shortly after his arrival at the shelter the country went into lockdown, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thumisang says that during the lockdown levels 5 and 4, he managed to save a lot of his money. This was possible because while at the shelter he received all his meals and the accommodation at no charge as the overnight shelter became a stay-in shelter, for which the shelter clients were not being charged for their stay.
“During the lockdown levels 5 and 4, staying in all day was challenging but to keep myself busy I started doing some research on small business ventures, which I first came across on WhatsApp. This research yielded positive outcomes which lead me to consider it as and when the lockdown levels lower.”
When the country moved into lockdown level 3, Thumisang went back to work in Pomona and shortly after that he managed to find himself a place to stay and moved out of the shelter.
Soul Malatji (Social Auxiliary Worker) worked closely with Thumisang and got to interact with him even more during the lockdown, this is what Soul had to say about him: “Thumisang Dube is a very well organized and someone who is dedicated to work hard, better himself and is eager to learn from other people. There were no unpleasant behaviours and surprises from him during his stay at our shelter. He is very disciplined and willing to assist in the shelter with cleaning and packing of stuff when necessary. I am very grateful for his contribution at the MES Kempton Park shelter and very confident that he has the intelligence, work ethics and communication skills to add value wherever he works.”
Thumisang says that he is very grateful to MES Kempton Park for playing the role of a stepping stone to rebuild his life again. He added that his future plan is to open his own business (though he didn’t reveal in what kind of business that would be).
In parting he said, “When your opportunity comes, grab it with both hands and make sure that you do your best to make it a success, then God will do the rest.”
Bruce Nyalunig is a young man from Mpumalanga who came to Johannesburg to pursue his dreams in music like any other young person; he had hope that Johannesburg would give him his biggest breakthrough in his music.
Bruce left home because he felt like he did not belong, and that his parents could not take care of him and help him pursue his dreams, so he chose to leave home to hustle for his dreams that he strongly believes in. He rented a place with his friend until someone decided to steal their production equipment that they used to earn a living, they both got kicked out and ended up homeless and had to sleep under bridges.
Bruce was then introduced to MES or rather placed at MES because of the lockdown. He was taken in and that is where he says he started seeing changes in his life. In his own words he said that MES has moulded him into someone who is capable of taking responsibility in making his dreams a reality again. He says he was able to have a warm cooked meal for the first time in the three months since he had been on the streets.
When asked what advice he would give to someone who went through similar challenges, he replied to say “never wait for anything to come to you, but you must go for it yourself”. Bruce says he is glad that he came to MES and he is now in the process of changing his life for the better.
RIAAN NEL – MES Kempton Park became my family
“Last year, I went through a few difficult obstacles in my life and ended up on the street in Kempton Park. Although I had a job as a driver at a local Appliances Company, I couldn’t afford to travel every day from Kempton Park to Alberton, where the rest of my family (wife and two children) were staying. Finding affordable accommodation in Kempton Park was also a challenge and I ended up at the MES shelter in January 2020. Something I never thought would happen to me,” says Riaan Nel, one of MES Kempton Park’s recent clients for the last five months.
He continues: “Anyone of us can fall at any time in life and while I was on an emotionally low point in my life, the staff of MES walked the road with me. I had to start to build a life again, from scratch – they were there for me. They became like my own family. I was well looked after, by having a warm bed and meals every day. They provided not only in my physical needs, but also in my spiritual.”
“During my time at MES in Kempton Park, I have learned more about people. I have realised there really are people that want to change their lives and haven’t gotten the chance yet. It is as if the world does not want to give them a second chance. However, with the support of an organisation like MES, there is always hope. I have also learned during this time to be humble and treat others with dignity.
For the destitute out there, I want to say: “Believe in God and pray continuously. The Lord will provide.
In conclusion Riaan said: “MES Kempton Park and its staff, were like angels on my journey. Thank you for keeping me safe and caring for me emotionally. You have always been there to listen to my challenges, always picking me up and I thank you for that. I would also like to thank MES in general for providing such wonderful services to the needy and for also providing excellent support to those without jobs. I salute you for that.”
In May of this year, by the Grace of God, Riaan found very suitable accommodation in Kempton Park and was reunited with his family. Soul Malatji, social auxiliary worker said: “It was a pleasure to have Riaan as one of our shelter clients. He is disciplined and was always willing to help in the shelter. I wish him all of the best for the next phase in his life.”
Manase Pakela is a 42 year-old woman and a mother of a 23 year-old son, who is currently studying at The University of Free State. She is originally from a township called Thabong, situated in Welkom in the Free State. Being a qualified fire fighter and paramedic, Manase worked at a fire station in Welkom for 15 years, but lost her job in December 2018.
After losing her job, she made her way to Kempton Park in search for work opportunities. However, time passed and she couldn’t secure a job which lead to her funds running out. Because of this, she could no longer afford to continue paying rent for the place she was staying at and had to leave. In her search for more affordable accommodation, she was lead to our overnight shelter at MES Kempton Park.
Manase reached our doors not long before our country went into a national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Before lockdown, she had joined our GROW programme, where she could earn enough to pay for her overnight accommodation. Soul Malatji (Social Auxiliary Worker) says “I am very grateful for her contributions to our GROW project, she is very patient, hardworking and always has a smile on her face. She is like a mother, sister and aunt to the fellow clients in the shelter and she plays a very prominent role in the shelter.”
Manase shares how she has experienced life at our overnight shelter, during lockdown “I can never thank MES and especially MES Kempton Park for all you’ve done for me, I am forever grateful. You helped me right when I needed help most. If anyone deserves thanks, it’s MES staff. You have been extremely supportive through this difficult time of the Covid-19 pandemic. I could have not gotten through it without you. Your support has made me a strong person and I will be forever grateful. You always take your time to help us and time to be kind. You are the most wonderful thing to happen to me and I am fortunate. I was new in this city and didn’t know much about the area. You have given me so much respect by giving me accommodation for the three months of lockdown without me having to pay for it, and honoured me with such great hospitality. Saying thank you does not seem enough for what you have done for me. You acted like a lifesaver for me and made this journey way easier then it could have been. I still remember how miserable I was when I came to this place. You welcomed me with warm hands. Your friendly staff and personal service made me feel like I was staying at a home away from home. Once again, I thank you for your hospitality and for making me feel so welcomed.”
Manase is actively searching for employment, she is diligently sending out her CV for every opportunity that comes up in the newspapers and the job sites on the internet.
JAMES DHLUDHLU’S FAITH AND HOPE IS REVIVED
James Dhludhlu is a 40 year old man, who is also a shelter client at MES Kempton Park and proof that hard work does pay. Through the GROW programme, we have recently managed to secure a temporary job for him at a nearby construction site.
James shares his story: “Originally I come from Tembisa. A few years ago I lost my job and started to experience some conflict with my family, this led to me falling ill with no one to help me and no place to sleep. When I came to MES Kempton Park, my story changed. MES gave me accommodation and I got involved in the GROW programme. In 2017 I got a job at a construction site in Nimrod Park and I was able to rent out my own place. However the construction job came to an end and I found myself going back to MES Kempton in October 2019, at this point I had lost all hope and didn’t see any hope for me and my future.
But MES and the church close to MES helped me and gave me a chance. They helped me with counselling which gave me hope for the future. Now I’m strong mentally, physically and spiritually. I am a believer and have faith in God through the lessons of life and with brother Soul (the Social Auxiliary worker) always encouraging me to not lose hope and to be patient.
At MES I have a shelter over my head, food to eat and clothes to wear which makes me very thankful. To my fellow brothers and sisters I would like to say first trust God with all your life. Then set long term goals for yourself, don’t be short sighted but work for a better future. MES is a place where you can turn your life around. MES cannot help to turn you or your life around if you don’t discipline yourself, it is your choice. You will not find the right answers in drugs or alcohol.”
JAMES’ TAKES A BRAVE STEP TOWARDS REBUILDING HIS LIFE
James Geldenhuys is a 37 year old male, whose journey with MES started as a shelter client in July 2019.
After joining the GROW job rehabilitation programme, his life story was revealed, during a skills session, presented by our Social Auxiliary worker, Soul Malatji. On that specific Monday morning, James had the courage to come forth and state that he had anger issues and needed help.
This revelation, encouraged us as a branch to start with counselling sessions. However, as our staff resources are very limited, we approached volunteer counsellors to assist us with these type of sessions. James was then also the first client to attend regular sessions and always completed his homework with diligence. He eventually progressed so well that he eventually landed a job and moved out of the shelter. James is still continuously attending counselling sessions and busy with his emotional healing journey. “We are grateful for our volunteer counsellors assisting us with making a difference in the lives of our clients at MES” said Helena van Blerk, Branch Manager.
Soul added “I worked very closely with James during the time at which he was a part of GROW. During this time I got to learn more about his life as well as his character. I am very proud of how hard James has worked to change his life for the better.”
DENISE PETCH IS POSITIVE ABOUT THE FUTURE
Denise Petch is an elderly female client of MES Kempton Park. We sat down with her during Women’s month to find out a bit more about her. This is what she had to share.
She lived in Kempton Park for her entire childhood and most of her adulthood, where she worked for 25 years in various divisions at a Corporate bank. She shared her feelings about dealing with an unfair dismissal and being fortunate to have won her arbitration case.
After this unforeseen matter, she found it difficult to find permanent employment. Denise continued to search for employment while being faced with additional personal strain of taking care of her mother. After her mother’s passing in 2004, Denise got involved with a man who financially abused her for three years and when she had no more money to give, he left her destitute. By good fortune, someone sponsored her to come back to her hometown, Kempton Park, and shortly after that she found her way to MES Kempton Park.
She expressed her gratitude for the value MES has brought to her life by introducing her to the GROW programme, convincing her sisters to sponsor her stay at the shelter and for the support from John and Soul during the time she was hospitalised for 10 days.
Denise says that even though she is not completely out of the woods yet, she knows that whenever she needs help or advice, the MES staff are there to help her.
Denise encourages those in need to approach MES for support. “Always feel free to talk to someone about your problems, because you cannot always do things on your own. The staff at MES are always willing to try and make a plan for you. They will make sure that you get the help that you need. Sometimes it takes long to get issues sorted out, but they will get sorted out eventually.”
THABANG MOLEFE – A SHELTER CLIENT WITH A NEW VISION FOR HIS LIFE
Thabang Molefe grew up as an orphan after being removed from his alcoholic grandmother’s care when he was three years old. When he failed his Grade 11, he was asked to look for a job and a place of his own. He lost his job in April and has been homeless since.
He was referred to our organisation by social workers from Benoni and came to MES Kempton Park, without an identity document and no money for sheltering. Thabang was hopeless and devastated. Our social auxiliary worker managed to refer Thabang to the Kempton Park clinic for blood tests and they helped him to get his medication. He was then also registered to partake in our GROW Project. This helped him to raise money to apply for an identity document. We have also assisted Thabang to open a bank account.
In Thabang’s own words, “The service I have received from MES, was very good. When I told them my story, I wasn’t judged and they tried to get me back on my feet as soon as possible. They have provided me with enough space to fix my life on my own, and they are also there when I am in need for daily lessons. I am grateful to MES and hope that I will continue to grow with them.”
MES KEMPTON PARK SUPPORTED STAN DICKI ON HIS ROAD TO A BETTER LIFE
Stan Dicki was born and raised in Barberton Mpumalanga and although being in jail for a short while, he still managed to study electrical engineering and start his own business. However, the beginning years were not easy.
He lost his business and had to do part time jobs for a couple of years. Eventually he decided to move to Kempton Park in 2016, but still life was difficult and he had to spend a few nights on the streets. Fortunately he heard about MES Kempton Park for which he is extremely thankful. “At times when I needed it most, MES provided me with a place to sleep and a place to bath and wash my clothes so that I can be presentable when I go out to look for work.” For a while Stan moved out of MES and worked as a contractor, general worker and foreman. His journey still had its challenges and he moved back into the MES shelter. The second time he got involved in GROW and currently Stan is working on a part time basis at Sakkie’s Electrical, with the hopes of eventually working on a permanent basis. He has registered his own company again which focuses on electricity and waste management.
Stan concludes: “With all that life throws at you, you can pick yourself up and better your life. With the help of places like MES and of course perseverance, I am a living proof.”
Carl Bischoff (oom Kallie) is an old man that came to our shelter, after being discharged from the hospital. Before that he lived on and off the streets for about three months. He had nowhere to go and MES Kempton Park gave him a place of safety. His family was in Cape Town and also not in a position to let him stay with them. He immediately settled in and also became part of the MES GROW-Project where he regularly worked the Jesus-Saves-Daily shift. “At MES, I felt part of a family and I am extremely thankful for everything they helped me with. Being in the Kempton Park shelter, gave me inner peace and allowed me interaction with other people, building relationships for life. The service from the staff was excellent and as an elderly person, I am extremely grateful for that. It was ‘n privilege to be part of the GROW-team. It motivated me to be positive about life again and allowed me the opportunity to earn some money.” After four months, Carl was relocated to the PE shelter, as the environment is more suitable for elderly people.
Michael Ramakoka’s journey started in MES in October 2015, after living on the streets for about a year. He became part of the GROW-Project and within a month was promoted to foreman. At MES I have learned how to take care of myself and be responsible. I learned a lot about teamwork and being patient. As leader I realised that I am a role model for other team members and if I make mistakes, it will also influence them. In my time at MES, I did make mistakes. I am very grateful to the organisation for allowing me to learn from that and move forward. As a leader of a team, I have realised to work effectively, everyone needs to know what they are doing, roles and responsibilities need to be clear. The regular outreaches at MES, encouraged me to be a better person and not lose hope, as the Lord has a plan for my life. My dream for the future is to complete Matric and then qualify myself as an ambulance driver.
GROWING WITH MES
Tumelo Maripane a 29 year old young man was integrated in the GROW project last year September and was assigned to work at Stay City. Little did he know that his breakthrough in imminent. He was spotted by a guest attending a conference and this guest was attracted to him because of the way he was performing his duties. During that particular shift the guest approached him and inquired about the meaning of the words on his reflector jacket. Tumelo told him about GROW project and he commended him for his performance.
He recruited Tumelo for a merchandising job at Pick ‘n Pay and that was his exit from the project. He has been working there to date. Tumelo came back on Wednesday to ask for a reference letter because he will be going to Canada to learn more about merchandising. At Pick ‘n Pay he was spotted again by the regional manager while he was busy working in an isle. According to him the manger was so excited in the way he packed his isle that he was chosen as one of staff members to represent Pick ‘n Pay in a warehouse in Canada. He was also assisted with the application of the travelling documents and will soon be leaving the continent.
A START …
It all started in 1999 when both my parents passed away as they were both infected with HIV/AIDS. After their funeral I was forced to leave school as my relatives and family could not take care of me. I was forced to go stay at the streets of Hillbrow at a very young age and that’s where life became very difficult for me as a means of crime and street begging became a way of surviving for me. One day a fellow street friend introduced me to mes and explain to me that thats a place i would get help as i was young and before i could get into a serious problem with the law since i was involved in criminal activities.
In 2007 in went to bg alexander were i explained my story to the social workers who then helped me with accommodation and sent me to training for skills, in that period i was sent to stallion security training centre for security grades, completed them and got a job as a security officer. I continued working for various security company’s it was not easy that time for me as security was paying a small salary but i continued working for this company’s earning a the salary to survive. Today am working for a fast growing retail cowpony as a senior manager in safety and security.
Thank you very much mes without you I won’t be were i am today!
In future am planing to donate something for the organisation as a thanks giving.
Thank you with kind regards
WELL DONE KAGISO!
Kagiso Kgotlhang is a Gr 12 learner at High School Die Fakkel. He is one of the foster children of our office.
- Kagiso has been selected as the Head Secretary of the Leader Councillors at the school.
- Kagiso is a well-known representative athlete of the school.
- Kagiso is one of the Top 10 achievers of the school, taking 2nd place.
- Kagiso is also a good chess player.
SNENHLANHLA AND OWAMI’S STORY
Snenhlanhla Phungula and Owami Dube (siblings) they were born in KwaZulu-Natal in Rural area, but grew up in Gauteng in a formal settlement with no electricity and no access to community facilities. Their father left them when they were very young and their mother was illiterate and that makes difficult to find employment and her dream is to see her children completes matric and further their studies. Their mother started to work on the road as a volunteer earning R520 per month and it was find difficult to make their ends meet for the whole family. Sometimes she is doing recycling to put plate on the table.
In 2016 Assessment centre conducted an awareness campaign in the informal settlement, one of the Committee members spoke to one of the Auxiliary social work concerning this family home situation as children dropped out of school in June due to that, they did not have school uniform. The mother was invited to visit our offices for help, home visit was conducted to confirm the situation then the process of applications took place and her children got a Bursary from Ikusasa and she was also helped with food parcels and blankets for her children.
Currently she is cleaning the street as volunteer, in January 2017 her children received stationery packs and also vouchers for school uniform they are now attending school in Denver primary school (no fee school) to achieve their matric.
A STORY OF HARDSHIP AND HOPE
Mary* (38) has been in a relationship with Josh* for seven years. At the time of her assessment with the MES social worker she was living with Josh* and their three children. The main presenting problem reported was that Mary* was struggling to provide the basic needs for her children. This was caused by the fact that she was overwhelmed about taking care of the children including Josh*, who had stage 4 cancer. She had no support from her family and friends. The only source of income was the child support grant. So many factors counted against her, she is uneducated; her family relationships are strained and she is unemployed.
Despite all the challenges listed above, Mary* showed commitment to her individual development plan as follows:
- She managed to locate resources that can help alleviate her situation. Specifically, she got the hospital social workers involved. These social workers assisted her to apply for a Disability Grant for her partner. She sourced assistance from the Hospice Home Base carers to come to her flat and assist to take care of her bedridden partner. This afforded her the opportunity to explore work opportunities. Luckily she got contract work as a cleaner in one of the rental estates.
- Furthermore, she opened communication lines with her in-laws. These in-laws revealed that they took out a funeral plan for Josh*. Josh* passed away two months ago. The in-laws assisted Mary* to bury him. Unfortunately, Mary* was at the verge of losing the flat that was leased under her deceased partner’s name. One of the local businessman heard about Mary’s story and decided to pay for her rent for the next upcoming 2 months. Mary* used her deceased partner’s disability grant to settle her rental arrears at the time.
- Mary* was assisted with food parcels from MES and Local Hospital hospice. The food parcels were a great relief as she was struggling to feed her children.
Currently, Mary* is still staying in her flat with her children. She is continuing to search for a permanent Job and she continues to mend her relationships with her family.
We ask for prayer for Mary* and her children for a brighter future.
Mary is an alias to protect the true identity of our client.
She has been with us since last year October, came in emaciated, dehydrated and dull eyed. We all fell in love with the innocence in her gaze. Her small figure limping along in our corridors. Our eyes on her anxiously waiting for any signs of improvement, but she kept disappearing right in front of us. Hospitals and clinics unwilling to do extensive investigations, as she is here without permission from the land of cold mountains, caught in the vicious clasps of poverty and not being able to return.
As last hope we traced her family and let them know that we will send her home for her last days there, as soon as she was strong enough to travel. Then she took a turn for the worse again, but a blessing in disguise as the merciful doctor discovered that her medication regime was destroying her kidneys and started her on a different regime.
The small ambers of hope is glowing again, and maybe this time we will send her home to her people to recover and not to for her last days…
By: Hermien Owens-Collins
ITUMELENG IS GOING HOME!
Itumeleng was admitted at Impilo at the end of October 2015. She was started on her treatment and we expected her to get better, but she just kept losing weight. Intermittently we sent her to the hospital with shortness of breath, requests of further investigations. Most of which was ignored or just smoothed over with very little treatment. We made contact with her family in Lesotho, telling them about the situation and that we didn’t understand why she was not getting better. We were going to send her home to die with her family. She hardly whispered when anyone spoke to her, and slept most of the time. Many people interceded for her in prayers. Then one day she was diagnosed with a blood clot in her leg and we sent her to hospital again. It was then that they discovered that she was not responding to her treatment, and the reasons why – after many investigations which was long overdue, she was put on a different regime. She came back to us, and slowly, over the period of two weeks, we could see the changes in her.
Today, she is thriving, and her loud voice echoes through our corridors, her laughter and smiles come so easily. And this time she will be sent home to start a new life. She went home on 15 May 2016. Praise to God our Lord who see us.
HOPE FROM THE BAY
People say that the choices that you make have consequences. Most of the time the choices that you make, lead to consequences that aren’t good. I can tell you a story about the choices I have made.
One day, I woke up and decided to give up the keys of a guest house I had managed for seven years, not knowing what my next step would be. I stayed at another lodge in Newton Park for about six weeks, spending all the money I had. One day I realised, my savings had run out. I had to decide on a next step. I did not want to stay with my children, so I decided to find a shelter to live in. I chose the MES Shelter.
I have learnt more at MES during the three years I have been employed as a supervisor than my previous employment.
I felt out of touch with reality, serving the needs of the rich, at MES you serve the under privileged. There is a much bigger reward serving the poor than serving the rich. The privileged seldom truly appreciate those who serve them. Whereas MES’ clients appreciate all the help they receive, because many of them are dealing with feelings of hopelessness and MES restores their hope and repairs their souls.
One of my father’s dreams, was that I work with children, this dream came true when I got the opportunity to work with Mrs Theresa Jaquire on the puppet show. The Lord is blessing me!
– Sharesse Smith (supervisor MES PE)
GOOD NEWS FOR ETHEL MADIKAZI
One of our other clients, Ethel Madikazi came to MES six months ago as a care worker. We took her on as a nonpayer to help us with the elderly. Unfortunately we did not have anybody for her to care of as most of the sick elderly were in hospital. We struggled to find her a job and could not keep her here anymore as a nonpayer. With great success we found her now a job at the Nazareth House as caregiver. We praise the Lord for answering our prayers.
Cynthia is a young lady who was trained as a chef. After a serious head injury she unfortunately lost her job and her relationship with her family deteriorated. She ended up in the street and started using drugs. When she first entered the shelter, she was also suffering from epilepsy. After many counselling sessions, she was reunited with her mother. Her epileptic attacks are currently under control and she is of great value in our kitchen. For Cynthia spring has at last arrived!
Zakhele Nkosi is a 25 year young man who reflects an example of an individual that MES has helped against the odds stacked up against him.
Zakhele was born in Booysens, Gauteng and attended a boarding school in Magaliesburg from when he was 4 until the age of 18 when he dropped out of school to live with his mother. In 2011 his mother, unfortunately passed away, leaving him with his grandparents in Standerton where he had given up on life after the untimely death of his mother. He soon became involved in robbery and dealing drugs.
He adopted a belief system where he was God and did not need to depend on any other person for spiritual guidance. He became a violent individual and was soon asked to leave his sister’s house which he had been living in.
He moved to Hillbrow and met a MES client by the name of Lucus, who introduced him to Pastor Pholoba. The pastor preached to him and with some time, he accepted Jesus. The pastor exposed him to the MES culture and cared for him as his own. He entered the GROW job rehabilitation programme and the pastor assisted him with a place to stay. He is now independent and works at a restaurant in New Town. He has also been given the opportunity to study Theology in Pietermaritzburg as his dream is to become a pastor and facilitate the process of saving others as he was saved.
CHANGE FOR CLIVE
Clive comes from a large family and as a boy, he left his family to find himself. At age 15, after two years living on the streets, he found employment in Parow. Life with gangsters, however still brought him in trouble and twice he ended up in jail. He was released and then as time went by he realized that he needed to change. He heard about MES from word of mouth, he started to attend all the job rehabilitation programmes that were offered, to his benefit they gave him broader perspective and helped him to look at life in a clear and different way.
He started to learn how to use a computer. Clive also mentions that learning how to use a computer and develop his skills has really played a huge role in his life, this opportunity that he was given at MES is a once in a lifetime opportunity and he will never take it for granted. He has been working for GROW (God Restores Our World) for almost a year, he mentioned that this opportunity has given him the chance to grow as a human being and also the ability and ways to develop himself. Clive now is one of the supervisors for the GROW participants, he is thankful to God and to MES for the chance at life that he has been given and he is a firm believer that everything works out as long as you believe and aim to achieve it.
WORDS FROM OUR CLIENTS …
“I, today hold my certificate of Business Experience Course because of the way you value your client (me). This has really improved my life and the way I approach my small business which provides food on my table today. I thank you and may you shine forever.” – Selina Marumo (Impilo patient)
“I am a single parent and I cannot afford to feed my child as well as MES crèche does. My child has never eaten like he has at the crèche- and I would also like to thank you for the bursary given to my child. Because of this bursary I can also take care of my other children that are in school. My child looks forward to coming to the crèche and his speech has also improved after only 3½ months in the school.” A crèche parent
“The people of MES were like angels. They gave love like I was at home, which my own parents never gave me. At home it was really, really bad.” Micheal Pietersen
“I would like to say thank you to MES for everything that they have done for me I am so grateful my life has changed for better. I still don’t believe the life that I have now it feels like a dream, God is faithful.” Angela Mbulawa
PROGRESS ON SOME OF THE GROW PARTICIPANTS
Lubabalo Mpayipeli is 30 old and he comes from Eastern Cape. After completing matric he wanted to study tourism but due to lack of finances he couldn’t pursue this dream. Both his parents are pensioners and could not afford to support him financially.
He then decided to come to Johannesburg in search of work opportunites. Unfortunately life was tough for him and he slept on the streets sometimes. When he had money he booked himself in a shelter. Through word of mouth he heard about MES and came to seek for help at Assessment Centre. MES informed him about the courses we offer. While waiting for training he was integrated in GROW project so that he can meet his daily needs.
After a month he did computer literacy and was offered free accommodation at Ekuthuleni for the duration of his training. He completed his training and is hoping to find permanent employment. While waiting for the latter he continues to participate in the project and is grateful for what MES has done for him.
Ferron Hancock is a 24 year old young man from Free State. He is currently sleeping at Ekhaya overnight shelter. He left home because of domestic problems which started after the death of his mom who was then married and living with Ferron’s step dad.
Apparently after his mom died he received threats from his step dad and step siblings because they wanted a share of Ferron’s late mom’s estate. As a result he felt unsafe and decided to relocate to Johannesburg for a peaceful life and better opportunities. He was in Johannesburg for a week and had no support system whatsoever.
MES assisted him with accommodation at our overnight shelter and integrated him into the GROW project. Surprisingly during the F2G (free to grow) training he remembered that he loved farming and that passion was again revived. He is currently doing gardening in our creches, growing vegetables. He was also assisted with re-application of a new ID card and will do computer literacy training next year.
We celebrate with Ayanda Sende for a new job she has found at Soweto Bulletin newspaper company.
She is employed as an Advertising & sales executive and is on three months’ probation.
Should she prove herself to be competent she will sign a contract for a permanent position. She will also write an article on spiritual upliftment for the newspaper.
CAPE TOWN STORY OF HOPE
Jacoline Pedro, a single mother of three children, is living in Bellville South. She joined MES four months ago to be part of the GROW (Job rehabilitation) programme. She heard about MES when se want to SASSA to apply for a food hamper but unfortunately her application was rejected. Jacoline was very disappointed, not so much for herself but for her three daughters. She walked the streets of Bellville to see if there was anything she could do or even figure out a plan for herself and her family.
She was informed about MES and the assistance that is don’t for the homeless and unemployed community. During her GROW shift she learned about the opportunity to apply for the food parcels. She applied and great was her surprise when she found out her application was successful. Jacoline mentions that the groceries she receives assists her and her family tremendously. It has lightened the load in the household. With and ecstatic beautiful smile on her face Jacoline is thankful and appreciates the opportunity and the efforts put together in making this possible not only for herself and her family but also for the other families that are going through similar situations as herself.
HOPE IN JOHANNESBURG
*Katlego was found playing outside because his single mom could not afford a Pre-School.
Someone from” St Peters Childcare” saw him and made enquiries about Katlego and found that his mom a domestic worker had no choice but to leave him outside the room.
The gentlemen from St Peters approached us at the ECD centre and pleaded for me to register the child– even though I told him that we had no space. Katlego was registered in a younger aged class due to space.
This “Good Samaritan” has given Katlego a bursary to cover all his requirements.
Not well versed in English (which is our medium of instruction) – he struggled in the beginning – but much to our amazement he picked up very and his mother also assisted.
Due to the nourishing meals ( thanks to KFC) the children eat – which is well balanced – Katlego is doing extremely well; he can concentrate, is very energetic and from a shy little boy he is now very talkative and assertative.
St Peters keep a constant check on Katlego by visiting him at the creche and also checking on his mom, and the conditions at home.
Katlego is in Grade “R” this year – and will graduate in November 2017.
The donors have said that they will assist Katlego – till he is properly settled.