The Rosebank Sunday Rooftop Market has graciously offered Mould Empower Serve (MES) Impilo Shelter space to sell products from their COVID-19 knitting project on Sunday, 01 November.
Founded during COVID-19 level-5 lockdown by a group of shelter ladies, the knitting project has evolved to represent an opportunity for personal growth while developing valuable entrepreneurship skills. MES would like to urge the Johannesburg community to come out and support the ladies this Sunday, 01 November at the Rosebank Rooftop Market.
The MES Impilo Shelter, located in Jeppestown, was previously a hospice for the homeless. During lockdown level-5, in partnership with the Department of Social Development and the City of Johannesburg, the facility was transformed into an emergency shelter for the inner city homeless. The lockdown period has presented to empower and reskill clients residing in the shelter.
The MES shelter has offered its clients life skills and empowerment opportunities during the time of COVID-19 lockdown. Many of the clients residing in the shelter are from different circumstances and were forced to be in the shelter during the lockdown. Through different interventions and social work services offered by MES, the time of the hard lockdown forced the clients to do a lot of personal reflection and to reignite their skills and talents that have laid dormant while they were living on the streets.
Through a generous donation of wool, knitting needles and beads from donors, the ladies started knitting, crocheting and beading to pass time during the hard lockdown.
“Our staff at MES realised that the shelter clients had tremendous talents using their own hands. This has then led to various initiatives being developed by the organisation to ensure we use this avenue as a personal development activity that would lead to a sustainable exit strategy for the clients in the shelter,” said MES Johannesburg Branch Manager, Nicodemus Setshedi.
MES reached out to its donor base to support the initiative; this led to the organisation hosting a Women’s Day event focused on skills transfer with volunteers from Hillsong Africa Foundation, Embark Foundation, Mosaïek, Parkview Residents Association and Jenny Currie of Baby2mom Egg Donation who came through to impart and teach the clients intricate skills when it comes to knitting, crocheting, beading and even cupcake decoration.
The project has since grown with more donors coming on board to assist. One such donor has been the Anglo American Ambassador for Good programme who donated funding towards the purchase of second-hand sewing machines, more wool and an industrial oven. Through this generous donation, the ladies at MES Impilo Shelter have been able to produce more items which they are now selling at the various markets around the inner city centre.
During the recent outreach activities MES held at the Rosebank Mall to create awareness around World Homeless Day in October, the ladies from the shelter were also there to showcase and sell their beautiful products, including blankets, bags, jewellery, doeks, masks and aprons. Rosebank Mall realised the immense talent and potential of the items and generously offered them a space to sell at the Rosebank Sunday Rooftop Market this coming Sunday, 01 November.
“I would like to plead with all Johannesburg residents to come through to the Rosebank Sunday Rooftop Market this Sunday to support the Impilo Shelter ladies, by buying items on sale or maybe ordering other bespoke items of your choice directly with them. Through this you will not just be providing someone with an income, you will be restoring dignity and contributing to a person’s development and giving them a second chance at a reintegration into society,” concludes Setshedi.