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ACKNOWLEDGING HOMELESS WOMEN ON MANDELA DAY

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In recognition of Nelson Mandela Day, the Gearhouse Group’s Johannesburg branch contributed to a worthy cause by spending some time at a Hillbrow Overnight Shelter for women called Othandweni. The shelter offers refuge to women from all walks of life who have migrated to Johannesburg in search of a better life but end up homeless and on the streets instead. 

Othandweni is part of MES (Mould.Empower.Serve) which started in 1986 with street work as a people-centred outreach programme from the Johannesburg East Dutch Reformed Church to bring relief through food security and outreach initiatives. The organisation has since grown and now caters to a large community of the inner-city Johannesburg homeless community.

The Gearhouse representatives were welcomed with great excitement when they arrived at the home where around 60 ladies - ranging from teens to grannies - waited patiently in anticipation of the festivities to unfold. A variety of meals had been prepared by the Gearhouse staff, which included savoury rice, chicken biryani, beef stew, braai meat, pap, rolls and chicken stew to name a few. The starter served by the team was a beef stew soup with fresh rolls followed by a buffet with a chilled drink and a dessert choice of doughnuts, biscuits and cake. 

With the Gearhouse Kentse Mpahlwa Academy students playing great music, everyone was soon up and dancing in an evening of celebration aimed at allowing the women to forget all about their troubles and simply dance their worries away. It was a great pleasure seeing the joy that the gathering brought theses women. At the end of the evening each one of the ladies received a toiletry goodie bag containing toothpastes, soap, face cloths and fluffy brand-new Aranda blankets. There were also clothes donated to the home which were collected from Gearhouse staff. 

For the Gearhouse Johannesburg branch, it brought great pride to know that this small contribution made a difference in someone’s life and more importantly helped to restore the self-image of these homeless ladies by reminding them that they are not forgotten. 

Nelson Mandela day is a cause that Gearhouse holds in high regard as it represents more than just giving back in a financial way but encourages the giving of personal time to make someone else feel special.

Story Akani Tshimbane, Photo Courtesy Gearhouse Group

Oct 2, 2014

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