A Durban based company has created jobs for beggars in the area, giving them purpose again… while helping the business advertise themselves.
Durban, South Africa – Samuels Service Centre have undertaken an initiative that focuses on the less fortunate in the city of Durban.
Durban is a beautiful, culturally diverse and vibrant city. From the beautiful beaches to the prized heritage sites – at its core Durban is a melting pot of most of the typically South African cultures. Like most big cities, Durban’s streets are also the beds and homes for many street people of varying ages. Research has not identified any particular reason why so many people live on the streets, but it is a reality that we all face.
The less fortunate appear not to contribute to society, many of these individuals have fallen off the radar and have found themselves living on the streets, eking out an existence. Many of these individuals are beggars are often seen begging for money on the sides of the streets and at traffic lights.
The public generally tend to shy away from these individuals by rolling up their windows when they come past or completely ignoring them.
But Samuels Service Centre has chosen to assist some of these individuals and in doing so, elevate and uplift this very neglected sector of Durban’s society. The initiative for the community upliftment project is based on the principle of Mudita. A Thai principle that simply means: finding joy in the good fortune of others.
“We, at Samuels Service Centre, want to challenge that behavior by requesting that members of the public, whilst driving through intersections simply take a picture of these less fortunate individuals at the intersections in their Samuels Service Centre t-shirts.
Thereafter, post this picture on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #Samuels. These individuals will be reimbursed by Samuels Service Centre everyday. They will also be provided with a meal daily.”
Melissa Samuels, whose family started the initiative says it was inspired by a trip to Mexico where they saw a similar concept!
“It’s definitely an initiative, and not a campaign because we need to uplift these people, we need to empower them because we want them back in circulation in society.”
The company have already employed over 45 beggars to advertise their brand around the city, and are hoping to increase this number to 80.
“You no longer need to feel awkward or feel bad about not giving the beggar at the intersection any cash. Instead, you can contribute to his earning by taking his/her picture, posting it on Facebook or Instagram.”
Beggars who are part of the initiative are incredibly happy that they won’t have to go to bed hungry any longer. They feel like they have a purpose again and a reason not to be begging.
“It’s excellent, anybody who does anything to uplift the poor is definitely on the right track,” explained Shirley Pretorious, a Beggar that has joined the cause.
This community based project for the less fortune’s upliftment aims at empowering those individuals to become working citizens of society.
The Durban based company has created some controversy online by using the “beggars as billboards” with some social media users disagreeing with the concept.
“Your campaign is so disgusting using the helpless people for your Business gains, degrading the poor. You have gone very low.” – Mountain Man on Twitter
“How does this #Samuels thing work? I don’t think I like it” – Lebo Who on Twitter
But the majority of South Africans involved in the conversation actually believe it’s a good thing that the company has created employment for people who would otherwise be begging.
“I am 50/50 on the idea, but, watching this video shows me that this has given the people involved a sense of worth. For these people, being unemployed is soul destroying to say the least and being given any opportunity to have a feeling of self worth, is priceless. I take my hat off to the company for being proactive in fighting unemployment, it may be a small amount to some, but that R2000ish is a huge difference to these folk. Good news story worthy I think” – Shayne Proctor
“A brilliant idea. If it puts food on their table every day, why not? It gives them a sense of purpose to wake up for every morning. Just love it.” – Willem Voges-Van Zyl
“This seems like a no-brainer for me. People who are forced to beg often feel that they are no longer part of society. Nobody looks at them, let alone interacts. This initiative not only gives the beggars a bit of cash, but helps them reintegrate into society. What more could you ask for?” – Robyn Ward
“Seriously, who cares? He was asked if he’d do this for an agreed upon arrangement. Models in magazines and on billboards do this all the time. Would everyone here prefer he get nothing from these guys? Would that make you feel more comfortable over the uncertainty that you all seem to be experiencing?”- Graeme Sears