April & May Updates
We have had two strategic planning sessions as the New Hope board in the space of a month. This has been very positive and has kicked off a very exciting season of digging deeper into the philosophy that makes New Hope so comprehensive and distinguished.
In this process we are seeking to be even more robust in our approach as we work with some of the most vulnerable yet resilient members of our community. In so doing we have been (and will continue) drawing on the latest research and contextual understanding of the psychosocial, political, economic and spatial factors which influence the state of homelessness in Cape Town, as well as on the most reliable models of recovery.
Our strategic planning meetings have also helped us discern that we are at a point where, having 6 participants on our programme is the perfect number for the time being, as we lay down thicker foundations for an impending ‘gear up’ and expansion of the New Hope programme. This translates into us working intensively and faithfully with the current 6 on the programme, as well as working hard to put the mechanisms in place which will allow us to grow as an organisation in the coming months.
Thoughts from our team
Volunteering is not exempt from taking on new dimensions in the social age. Like other social interactions, the behind-the-scenes truth is sometimes different to the outward performance. In our line of work, there are few photo opportunities. New Hope doesn’t build playgrounds in dusty schoolyards. We’ve never brought running water or a veggie garden to ease the burden on a struggling community. For us, progress often means that there are few perceptible changes. Success can mean seeing someone remain committed to their journey. Working as volunteers in this space can produce strain at best, and deep demoralisation at worst.
We’ve all seen, and taken part in, our fair share of conversations with a person who is thinking of giving up. Resisting the pull of turning back is where the rubber really meets the road. For someone who knows what it takes to survive on the streets, leaving that world behind is hard to imagine. The connection between an independent existence, and having to say goodbye to old habits and addictions, is not an easy line to draw. Who knows if life can be richer and more meaningful after leaving so much behind? Maintaining a shared conviction that this will be the case is important in helping others through these doubts.
This really drives home what makes New Hope a different organisation to others. We’ve never confined ourselves to be either service providers or mentors to the vulnerable in Cape Town. We walk hand-in-hand alongside those that we partner with. This means we sink with others into despair or into feelings of hopelessness. This is what we're used to experiencing when a friend or a family member going through trauma or hardship. But we also rise with them when we get to revel in triumphs and success. Our approach lets us celebrate in a way that you can only when you share a close relationship with someone. This encourages us to persevere with participants in the Road To Independence journey. Hard as this is, it sums up the New Hope difference, and is an approach worth supporting.
If you can see the value of this mutual approach against homelessness, please consider supporting us. The road ahead of us is long, and we can only walk it when we’re supported by you. No amount is too small. Details about how to contribute to New Hope and our journey with others can be found here.
- Grant Maxwell
In the last two months Mary has graduated from her programme at Together We Can in Eendekuil and moved down to Boston House in Bellville. She has begun the process of looking at her goals and planning for the next couple of months. When the time is right she will move closer in to Cape Town where she will have the opportunity to start looking for work. Mary has made wonderful progress in her recovery, and is very happy to be closer to Cape Town so she can see her family and sons on more of a regular basis. We are incredibly proud of her and look forward to witnessing the wonderful things that she will accomplish.
Hlubi graduated from his programme at Inner Peace in Fraserberg in the month of May and moved back to Cape Town. He is now living at The Hope Exchange. He is excited about his new home as he believes he will be able to find many opportunities for work in the area. He has also just begun The Zanokhayo Network work readiness course, and is excited about what he will learn and the connections that he may make. Hlubi has had to overcome some great hurdles in terms of his thought patterns and how he views his future. We are so pleased with his progress and believe that The Hope Exchange will be a positive place for him to continue growing and finding wholeness.
Daniel is still living at The Hope Exchange but is currently looking to move as his time there is nearing an end. He has changed jobs in the last two months, and is currently working at Builders Warehouse in Retreat. He is pleased with this job as he is able to earn a regular and stable income. He currently has a contract position, but he is hoping to be offered a permanent position in the near future. This will allow him to contribute financially to the needs of his two children, and begin to look for independent accommodation which he can afford. Daniel left the streets almost 1 year ago, and in this space of time he has made incredible progress towards his independence. We are certain that Daniel’s hard work and determination will pay off, and we look forward to watching him move into independence over the next few months.
After some time of frustrations and setbacks due to logistics not coming together, Roger is finally in his element and thriving with a short-term contract doing work he’s really passionate about: the restoration of antique furniture (see picture below). We are really proud of Roger for pushing through and staying on track despite a number of unforeseeable disappointments.
Walter is making steady process with some intensive follow-up after a bit of a ‘wobble’. We are looking forward to him being back in Cape Town soon, so that together we can work towards the goals he has in progressing on the ‘road to independence’.
We have received some very positive feedback on Peter’s progress, his sincere heart and motivation for recovery from those who interact with him on a daily basis - it is always helpful to get the perspective of those closest to participants as we often only see them once a week!
We’ve been working towards some key self-management skills with Peter and together have been drawing up some important goals and personal development plans for various aspects of life that he has indicated are important to him: employment, community and relationships, recovery maintenance - he is steadily working towards these and we are pleased with his commitment.
*Names have been changed for anonymity
In case you didn’t know, our participants inspire us so much! So many moments of the recovery journey can literally feel like death or like walking through fire - it is grueling, and yet some push through. These 6 are pushing through despite the many challenges and obstacles. We are so proud of them!
All in all you can see we are in an exciting time of learning, prioritising, restructuring, building and working to help maintain the good steady progress of these participants who keep us going.
If you are a praying person, pray for the necessary wisdom, humility, perspective and perseverance we need as we seek to flesh out the beautiful mechanisms of New Hope which are all about giving and receiving ‘New Hope’.