A young boy saved all his recycling (mula) points for months to get himself a new bicycle from the Freshstart SwopShop in Sedgefield.
Sedgefield, South Africa – FreshStart Sedgefield is a not-for-profit organisation, that aims to create new possibilities, on the Garden Route by helping children to help themselves and break the cycle of poverty, hopelessness and helplessness. This is primarily done through projects involving the recycling and upcycling of waste material.
Smutsville is a township on the outskirts of Sedgefield; this is where the children who visit the organisation come from. Majority of the people living in Smutsville live in shacks, they do not own their land and have minimal access to services.
Sedgefield has no industry, and as a result, employment possibilities are limited, especially for those without secondary or tertiary education. So this creates a vicious circle and results in a mutual feeling of hopeless-helplessness.
The Smutsville Recycle SwopShop is the first FreshStart Sedgefield empowerment project.
It is based on the successful model of Swop Shops started in Hermanus in 2003. The Smutsville Recycle SwopShop has over 600 children registered as collectors… with children learning practically to help lift themselves out of the poverty cycle.
The children collect recyclables and exchange them for points which they can use to buy toiletries, clothing and household essentials. One of the critical factors is that parents are not allowed to go with their children to select items from the swop shop. This will enable children to choose their gifts.
There are at least eight different ‘stations’ for every child to pass through at each SwopShop! Queueing at the gate with recycling in hand is the first – then the weighing and allocation of ‘mula points’ with a sticker on every little hand! Each child can use their points straight away or save them up for more essential items.
The SwopShop believes in teaching the children to work hard for the items they want and to save their points up if the item requires larger amounts of points. This was proven a success when a little boy saved his points for months and finally got a new bicycle.
“IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ‘MULA’ POINTS.
Every week, as the children are given the number of ‘mula points’ they have earned – they are either really excited or a little disappointed. How many has my friend got? Is it enough to buy that bike? I wish I had collected more recycling? Will I have to save another week?
There are no handouts at Fresh Start – hard work and saving are always rewarded with that special something that the children really want from the shop. This past week, one very happy shopper finally got to go home with a bike – and even though it was a pink one, he was overjoyed and also got a bell to go with it. Such an overload of joy and satisfaction. WELL DONE!”