This year the Berman Brothers Group (BBG) wanted to do something special for Mandela Day and so the search began for a suitable social service project.
“After a visit to THE HAVEN NIGHT SHELTER NAPIER STREET we knew that we had found an amazing organisation in need of assistance,’ says BBG’s Marketing Manager Natasha Christensen. ‘They do such a lot of incredible work with the little that they are given in donations and we decided that by fixing some of the most pressing structural issues in their Green Point premises, we could make a real difference”.
THE HAVEN has 15 different shelters in and around Cape Town. BBG and their network of participating partners will be doing a major upgrade of the Green Point building located at 2 Napier Street. This includes painting, plumbing, flooring and wiring work as well as overhauling cupboards, shelving and appliances. There is also a communal area and a sustainable food garden that require urgent attention. On average 63 men and 33 women sleep in the shelter every night and it’s always a tight squeeze, with extra mattresses being placed in the eating area during the winter months.
“Our plan is to try and make the space as functional as possible while ensuring that it meets all of the city’s standard health and safety requirements”, says Natasha. “But The Haven is more than just a building. It’s a place where hope and dignity are restored, so it needs to feel comfortable and welcoming too. That’s really what we are aiming for”.
THE HAVEN calls the people they help ‘guests’ and these guests range in age from 18 to 75 years old. Upon arrival, each guest is given a basic toiletry kit (toothbrush, toothpaste and soap) so that they can shower and freshen up. They are then given a meal and after that, they are assigned a social worker. Each guest can only stay for the 3 months with the goal being to genuinely assist each person by either reuniting them with family members (where possible and appropriate) and/or giving them some basic vocational training so that they can find employment and get back on their feet.
Once BBG chose to partner with THE HAVEN, the team soon realised that the amount of work involved in upgrading the shelter at 2 Napier Street would extend way beyond Mandela Day.
‘That’s just the start of the project for us’, says Natasha. ‘It will carry on throughout the year and possibly into next year. This isn’t just a 67-minute minute exercise. It’s a firm and ongoing commitment from BBG and our wonderful network of partners to do the very best that we can to upgrade the premises and assist with training”.
BBG will be making an additional contribution to THE HAVEN by providing much needed informal skills training to guests (from house painting to basic plumbing) so that they can find entry-level jobs in the construction sector. There are many inspiring stories of lives that have been turned around as a direct result of THE HAVEN’s unique reintegration and rehabilitation approach.
As part of an awareness campaign for Mandela Day, a Donation Drive for THE HAVEN will be taking place at The Point Mall on Regent Road in Sea Point. Members of the public are encouraged to drop off clothing, toiletries and blankets between the 12th and the 17th of July. These items will be delivered to THE HAVEN on the 18th of July (Mandela Day) so that shelter guests across the Mother City can get through this very long, wet and cold winter. Those who aren’t able to make it to The Point by the 17th are encouraged to bring further donations of clothing and toiletries directly to The Haven in Napier Street on Mandela Day.
If you’re not able to donate clothing, toiletries or just don’t have the time to spare, please help the BBG team raise the necessary funds to replace the roof as well as the repainting of the entire building via backabuddy here: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/rebuilding-the-haven-night-shelter-napier
The motivation behind THE HAVEN is clear: “There comes a stage in the downward path of certain human beings at which point, they literally can no longer help themselves. At that point someone has to step in and give them a lift; that is what THE HAVEN tries to do”. BBG is proud to support THE HAVEN on its vitally important mission and we encourage members of the Cape Town community to join us as we help the city’s homeless, one guest at a time.
For any further queries, kindly contact:
Natasha Christensen via email on firstname.lastname@example.org