Every community has a soul – an atmosphere that is almost tangible and influences those that occupy its’ spaces. Whether you view yourself as a mere resident of a certain suburb or as a true member of your community, be it Rondebosch or Retreat, you contribute towards the soul of your neighbourhood.
Hands of Honour has taken up the challenge to lift the spirit of a people – to regenerate the soul of their community and bring healing and social rehabilitation to struggling members of the city.
The Regeneration of City and Soul project is essentially a collaboration between reformed homeless people, drug addicts and gang member who have successfully completed the drug and crime rehabilitation programmes, Hands of Honour and a local church.
This undertaking addresses a widespread social problem: unemployment, often the spur for crime and drug abuse. Situated in Retreat, a low income community southeast of the city centre, the project involves transforming disused, publicly owned buildings into safe, clean and productive spaces while reintegrating its participants back into their community.
Their first success story was transforming a derelict municipal building into a community school uniform factory surrounded by gardens. Their next goal is to convert a dilapidated local building into a multi-purpose centre to house a shoe factory, as well as skills training workshops for established trades such as plumbing, welding, carpentry and landscaping.
This initiative is bringing hope and dignity to the poorest of the poor. They have five specific areas in which they focus on serving and benefiting the community:
1. The upgrading of an area that was formerly used for negative activities is now a beacon of hope – adding dignity to those living in the community as the community claims this space back.
2. Those who could not afford the uniforms now can – this creates a sense of community, reducing attitudes of despair.
3. It serves as a point of reconciliation between former drug addicts, gang members and the community they once terrorized with their negative and illegal activities as they transform, beautify and enhance the surrounding area.
4. The unemployment rate will be decreased dramatically as many find employment as machinists, cutters, security guards and designers in the community.
5. It serves to showcase the skills of those who have completed the Hands of Honour drug/crime rehabilitation programmes. This will help in their quest to find employment, encourage them to start their very own income generating ventures, give them a sense of pride in what they can achieve as well as keep them positive, busy and out of harm’s way.
A beacon of hope, a body of social upliftment – ultimately healing the lives of many by reclaiming the soul of their community.
For more information visit Hands of Honour