A helping hand for the Homestead

Henry Mathys, the Waterfront’s programmes manager for social inclusion, outgoing chairperson of the Homestead, Paul Hooper, with the new chairperson, Nqabakazi Mathe and the CEO of the Waterfront, David Green.

The V&A Waterfront team has handed over a cheque for R50 322 to the street children charity organisation, the Homestead.

The handover took place on Thursday March 25 at the Waterfront head offices.

The money was raised over the Christmas holiday season as part of the Waterfront’s annual festive gift-wrapping initiative.

The Waterfront CEO, David Green, said the V&A had a long relationship with the Homestead, as the team share concern for the welfare of street children.

“We are really pleased that we could leverage our property to raise funds for the Homestead to carry out the incredible work they do.”

He also thanked the shoppers who made use of the gift-wrapping services over the December holidays.

The Homestead, whose head offices are in Strand Street, provides accommodation, family reunification and reintegration services to boys living on the street.

The outgoing chairperson, Paul Hooper, said their relationship with the Waterfront was due to the fact that the team wanted to make a difference and wanted to be part of the community.

He said the Waterfront was also assisting with opportunities for the boys from the Homestead’s Launchpad in District Six.

The Launchpad accommodates older boys who have been through the rehabilitation programme and are now settled down.

Over the past year, the Waterfront had created temporary employment by having the boys work as Covid-19 marshalls at the precinct, ambassadors at Battery Park and also at the gift-wrapping desks during the holiday season.

The Waterfront had also supplied the Homestead kitchens with about six tons of produce from its urban garden at its head office in Dock Road.

“This is how we break down barriers, break marginalisation and encourage the youth,” said Mr Hooper.

He added that in four years, 40 boys have moved on from the Homestead through the programme, and not one has gone back to the street.

The new chairperson taking Mr Hooper’s place, Nqabakazi Mathe said the money would be used for facilities at the Launchpad, which will be moving to new premises in Observatory later this year.

The newer, bigger building in Observatory will allow for the 25 boys living at the Launchpad to have more space, as well as better facilities such as communal space and computer rooms, among other things.

“We need an holistic approach, and we are working with more than the children and their families to lessen the number of youth on the streets.”

She said the money would contribute to helping the boys who pass through the programme, and would give the organisation the capacity to further develop their skills and take them “to the next level”, allowing them an opportunity to pursue their dreams.

“When you work with kids, you need them to be involved. You need to listen to their ideas they already have – we just need to facilitate them, and this (donation) will help with that.”

Mr Hooper said the Homestead is partially funded by the City and by trusts, which goes into eight projects across the city to help at least 500 children in the programme.