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South Africa is a country in which there is a great
disparity between those with, and those without wealth. The six photographs
above are an attempt to depict three areas in which the disparity of wealth in
our nation can be clearly exemplified, namely in housing, in nourishment, and
in transportation. However, in my interaction with Sizwe, a man in my community
who lives on the street, I believe homelessness to be one of, if not the most
severe problem that South Africa faces as a nation, and that I encountered in
this project. Homelessness is also the area in which I was able to identify the
greatest disparity in wealth in my community. While some live in multi-million
rand houses, others live without homes. It is for these reasons that I am
proposing a solution to the problem of homelessness.

It is estimated that approximately 200’000 people
live on the street and are homeless in South Africa, a significant portion of
our nations’ population of 55.91 million people. Homelessness is a complex
term, and is often simplified to mean those who do not have a house. Homeless
people may have no shelter, access to a temporary roof, or access to an
informal shack that is not safe or secure in which to house people. Some
homeless people may be living on the street temporarily, while others might
have lived on the street for many years. Given these complexities, The Cape
Town Project Centre refers to individuals “who have no access to a roof or
shelter, live and sleep on the streets for a number of reasons, and have done
so for any period of time” as ‘street people’. Countless challenges affect the
daily lives of these people who live on the street for a multiplicity of
different reasons and due to their own personal circumstances.

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Therefore, as a citizen, I believe that it is each
and every one of our responsibilities as South Africans to alleviate as much of
the burden from these peoples’ lives as is possible. We can accomplish this
through supporting endeavors such as The Cape Town Project Centre. The Cape
Town Project Centre is a projects program which communicates with other
organizations in order to organize both opportunities, and resources for those
South Africans in our nation who are living without homes. These organizations,
such as The Haven Night Shelter, which assists struggling street people by
referring them to a shelter and other resources, such as health care,
eventually aim to re-unify people with family and to ultimately find them a
home. Another organization which collaborates with The Cape Town Community
Centre is The Carpenter’s Shop, a strong team of social workers, vocational
trainers, and social development practitioners, provides vocational and social
skills training to homeless people.

These three organizations also provide street people
with soup kitchens, and arts, music and skills programs, in which they attempt
to ultimately reintegrate these people into society as self-sufficient
citizens.

By contributing to organizations such as these,
either with our money, or optimally, with our time, I believe that we can truly
alleviate some of the burden from homeless peoples’ lives, and ultimately make
a difference and have a positive impact on these peoples’ lives, changing them
for the better. If every citizen in South Africa were to make contributions to
organizations such as these with whatever time or money they had freely
available to them, homelessness in South Africa would be a thing of the past.

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