“Walk in My Shoes”: Change starts with us!

By Patrick Newton Bondo
Chief Executive Officer/ Social Justice Activist/ Main NGOs Representative To United Nations

Every day we are inspired by the stories our girls, youth, women and young families share with us. The Outreach Social Care Project team’s job is to fuel their passions by giving them the knowledge, skills, and tools they need to turn their inspirational stories into real world actions that change lives forever. The Outreach Social Care Project wants a world where social and environmental development justice is assured and all people are able to live in a prosperous, healthy and peaceful environment, access to basic rights.OSCAR Project Thandeka Mabuza

As a grassroots non-profit organisation, Outreach Social Care Project was pleased to have the opportunity to attend the launch of the former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s foundation at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg on United Nations Wold Social Justice Day under the theme “Walk in My Shoes”. The Thuli Madonsela Foundation partnered with Khulisa Social Solutions to host the event to empower the most disadvantaged and underprivileged communities.

Social justice is a fundamental principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We advocate for the principles of social justice, promote gender equality and the rights of children, girls, youth, men, women and the LGBTIQ community. We advance social justice by removing barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability in South Africa and around the world. Working together we can make the world a better place for all.

This event was an eye opener for where our resources are strongly needed and how we can continue being a light to many of our beneficiaries living in the most disadvantaged and underprivileged communities.

 

Though we face personal struggles in our work, Thandeka Mabuza showed us that there is hope. “I used to think that people engaged in crimes because of choice” she said, “but after I heard the people from Kliptown sharing their stories, I realised that some people did crime or engaged themselves in dodgy activities because of lack of resources around their surroundings”. I learnt that we shouldn't write people off because of their past but rather that everybody deserves a second chance in life.

Most of the teens fall into drugs because there are no schools so the only thing that's available to them its drugs and after doing drugs then engages to crime.

Surprisingly, the people from Kliptown are deserted. There are neither schools nor hospitals, and this is where our freedom charter was drafted. Kliptown and its people now stand forgotten and neglected, but we are thankful to Khulisa Solutions and Thuli Madonsela's foundation for bringing back hope to these young souls.

One of the highlights of the foundation work was the story of a guy who was a thug and killed many people but the foundations managed to reach out to him in prison and help him turn his life around. He spoke of how there was a time when he went to the families of his victims and it was difficult for him to face them and ask for forgiveness but Khulisa Solutions staff went through this journey with him.

We need to wake up and help the homeless. We can't enjoy economic prosperity as individuals and as part of the corporate sector if our country is disconnected and polarised. The Walk in My Shoes Event” was educational. It taught me that we shouldn't judge people by their choices because we do not know what pushed them to make certain decisions. Thandeka said of the event hosts, “They brought light; they gave hope for a better future. Now it’s our time to stand up and do better and give back to the community. Change starts with us”.

Thank you so much to CIVICUS: World Alliance for making it possible for our staff member, Thandeka Mabuza, to attend the Walk in my Shoes event. Together we are stronger than ever before. Thank you again to Amy Taylor, Cathryn Archibald and Marina Cherbonnier (from the CIVICUS Secretariat) for your time, assistance and hard work of making this happen. Keep it up with great work.

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O.S.C.A.RThe OSCAR (Outreach Social Care) Project is an NGO in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. OSCAR focuses on outreach work on HIV/AIDS, and provides psychosocial support to people affected by the disease, targetting cmmunities in rural and urban areas, particularly people who live in urban slums. OSCAR also supports livelihood development, leadership training and education. The organisation’s work is carried out by paid staff, volunteers and people living with HIV/AIDS.

28 February 2018