An AGM with a difference

An AGM with a difference

On 21 August 2019 The Hope Exchange held it’s AGM but also provided guests with an opportunity to serve their clients in celebration of the official name change from The Carpenter’s Shop to The Hope Exchange.

Most South Africans have the security of a roof over their head but thousands of homeless people have to make their homes on the street every day. It’s easy to dismiss their plight as their own doing, but circumstance is are most often to blame. The Hope Exchange wants to change this reality and is doing so through the help of programmes and services from it and its partners.

While the name change signifies a new era for the NGO, they also paid tribute to their founder and patron, Geoff Burton, who stepped down as chairman in 2018. Guests participated in providing a special food service to The Hope Exchange’s clients and experienced first-hand a small portion of what the NGO and its partners are doing to make Cape Town a better city for all its people.

The new branding both reinvigorate the NGO’s mission as well as reminds the country of its ongoing purpose and successes. The new name underscores its vision – to bring hope to the homeless, through dignity and opportunities for change – and its values: to treat all people with respect, understanding and fairness, to serve all people regardless of race, religion or worldview, as set out in its constitution.

The new branding of The Hope Exchange was officially switched on signifying their aim to provide hope to the homeless. ©Paul Henriques
Peter Solomon, Director of The Hope Exchange, and Danny Diliberto, founder of Ladles for Love, who provide the soup kitchen at The Hope Exchange, and oversaw the preparations for the boerewors rolls that were served to clients. ©Rebekha Solomon

“At The Hope Exchange, we offer many different opportunities and modes of support,” said Peter Solomon, Director of The Hope Exchange. “We don’t just hand out food and items, even though those are very necessary for people to enjoy basic dignity. Homelessness is a complex phenomenon, inextricably tied to poverty and a combination of social and socio-economic factors that coexist and influence each other in a seemingly never-ending cycle. There is no single solution and that is why we provide a comprehensive and integrated system of social care services that facilitates human development and improves the lives of those who are homeless and living on the street. We aim to address the issue holistically.”

“We make it our purpose to engage with people, get to know them and help them improve their circumstances.” Ian Veary, Social Work Manager of The Hope Exchange continues, “It is not our aim to support people to live on the street, but rather provide the chance to restore dignity and opportunities for change.”  

Social work manager, Ian Veary (right), speaks to guests at the small networking gathering hosted after the AGM and after the clients were served. ©Rebekha Solomon

Established in 1981, The Hope Exchange has been bringing hope, support, understanding and dignity to Cape Town’s homeless people. Services are designed around health and wellness, reintegration into mainstream society or reunification with families, and includes daily ablutions, toilet and laundry facilities, nutritional meals, social work services, a monthly healthcare wellness and screening clinic, life skills training, access to vocational skills training and short term second phase accommodation.

“It’s always important to put a face to homelessness. It’s the acknowledgement that we are all human that is most important” said Geoff Burton, founder and patron. Geoff is still actively involved and is always available to help – whether it’s serving the clients or advocating the plight of the homeless people in Cape Town. ©Paul Henriques

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