Restoring hope for the homeless

Julian Nieuwoudt with his mother, Mrs Nada Nieuwoudt and Mr Johannes Shabala, during the feeding and job creation outreach programme that took place on Saturday, March 29.

A feeding and job creation outreach programme took place at the Edenvale Methodist Church on Saturday, March 29.

The once a month outreach is aimed at uplifting homeless people in the Edenvale area, providing them with food and basic needs such as clothing.

The programme also aims at finding jobs and accommodation for the homeless who seek to change their lives and who are committed to change.

Mrs Nada Nieuwoudt, one of the organisers said, “It is easy for anyone to judge homeless people by asking why they don’t do anything. When you are stuck without an ounce of hope, it is difficult to uplift your life. If community members get to know homeless people, they would realise they are real, beautiful human beings who are funny, who laugh and who tell stories.”

“It is important for me to remind the community that no person should think they are too small to make a change. The change can only take place when community members work together. The point is to give homeless people a second chance, it is possible,” said Mrs Nieuwoudt.

Mr Johannes Shabala, a homeless man whose life has been transformed by the initiative, has found a home, a job and has become a completely different man.

“I used to battle with my life before. I lived on the streets for quite a while. I met Mrs Nieuwoudt and she introduced me to the outreach programme. I can say now things are going my way through God’s will. I hope I see more miracles in other people’s lives. I am a testament that one can change their lives and I hope others can use this as an example,” said Mr Shabala.

Mr Andre Campbell, who heads the outreach programme said, “The importance of the outreach is to give the homeless people in the area hope. A lot of homeless people have given up hope, so for me personally, it is just about planting a seed of hope in their lives. It does not matter what decisions they have made in the past, this is us giving them hope and in the long term, putting them in jobs and homes, bettering their lives.”

Kgomotso Nkabinde

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