Understanding the Challenge
One of the many difficulties that homeless people face is a disconnect from mainstream society. Social barriers in South Africa alienate those living on the street by blocking any opportunities they might have to make positive changes to their lives. Day-to-day survival replaces the innate human need for self-fulfillment, widening the social divide and perpetuating the cycle of homelessness. Everyone has the potential to thrive but we all need reason and certain basic provisions to feel empowered.
Build a bridge across the social divide. Create a connection between those that want to help the homeless and those in the homeless community that want to help themselves. Open up lines of communication between the haves and the have-nots, enabling both parties to become active, contributing members of our society. By simply engaging more meaningfully with each other, we can create opportunities for social upliftment that might one day lead to a much smaller gap.
What Drives Us
We are driven by innovation, compassion, story-telling, collaboration and left- field thinking. We started our journey wanting to just create shelter and reduce waste, but our vision has grown. Our long-term goals are built around three core objectives:
- Provide immediate relief to South Africa’s homeless by manufacturing and distributing upcycled, durable survival sleeping bags
- Promote skills development amongst marginalised members of our society by providing employment
- Lower social barriers and tackle the stigma around homelessness by facilitating dialogue and active engagement between the gifters and receivers of our bags
This is just the beginning, we have big plans and we want you to be a part of them!
How We Work
Street Sleeper is a NPO that relies on people like you to help drive change. We are bursting with ideas on how to tackle the challenges facing the homeless; upcycling billboard is only the first. To be a dynamic and effective initiative, we need to be sustainable so that we can continue to reinvest in new ideas. To merit your buy-in and ongoing support, we believe that transparency is critical so here’s a breakdown of how each bag sale is spent.
How We Distribute
We distribute bags through feeding centres, like-minded NPOs and volunteers who wish to actively engage with their homeless neighbours. Distribution is perhaps our most important function, as it goes beyond basic needs provision and facilitates meaningful social upliftment. Done correctly – with empathy, curiosity and a true desire to connect – we believe that distribution and the accompanying dialogue will create feelings of self worth amongst the homeless community and provide much needed psychological upliftment for those who want it. The upliftment goes both ways, as both giver and receiver gain insight into the life of someone new.
We are constantly working to create new points of contact between homeless people and those who want to help, so if you have any suggestions or ideas, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
What’s in it for You – What’s in it for the Homeless?
- Take a proactive position on directly helping another person
- Contribute towards the environmental benefits of diverting large amounts of waste from landfill
- Raise awareness on issues facing the most disadvantaged members of our society
- Facilitate a culture of engagement with a community largely disconnected from mainstream society
- Immediate relief from the harsh conditions of sleeping on the street
- Improved feelings of self worth through ongoing dialogue
- Voice through storytelling