For as little as R10, you can make a difference in the life of a homeless person. Stellenbosch University (SU) has joined Stellenbosch Municipality in supporting Heartflow, a Stellenbosch-based non-profit organisation that promotes responsible and meaningful social impact among students and staff to help those living on our streets.
Heartflow issues paper-based coupons, which members of the public can buy from various local shops and give to the homeless, who may then exchange the coupon for services provided by Heartflow’s partner organisations. This enables the public to help homeless and hungry people in a sustainable, holistic way by connecting them with local non-profit companies. Therefore, instead of simply being given cash, homeless persons are provided with an opportunity to receive lodging, food and other services.
Christiaan van der Merwe, Heartflow operational manager, says the goal of the initiative is to raise awareness among the public of how to give responsibly to people living on the street. He says the campaign was created to direct those living on the street to organisations that have the facilities to help them improve their lives and even find a job.
When the system was launched several years ago, it consisted of various coupons that provided holders with access to either a night at a shelter or a blanket from a non-governmental organisation previously named Straatlig, a homeless development programme that operates in Stellenbosch. Heartflow managing director, Charl Reyneke, redesigned the system three years ago and partnered with the Stellenbosch Night Shelter to offer one, a consolidated coupon that provides holders with access to one night’s lodging and social support at the shelter.
“The campaign creates a space for people to feel valued and realise their purpose in society. It will also help the general public understand how to engage with people who approach them for money on the streets,” says Van der Merwe.
To make the coupons easily accessible to the public, Heartflow has a number of partnering outlets in the Stellenbosch area. To purchase your coupons and support the homeless, go to https://heartflow.org.za/
and locate your nearest outlet.