A Capetonian has helped a homeless beggar find purpose and a job by just thinking a little differently.
Cape Town, South Africa – Do what you can, with what you have, where you are!
Steven Goodil has helped a homeless beggar find purpose and a job by just thinking a little differently. He had often seen Jimmy* begging at the Tokai road, M3 intersection in the Western Cape but believed that he didn’t have the “means” to help him.
Inequality in South Africa has risen over the past decade, and, relatedly, unemployment rates are among the highest in the world. These shocking numbers understate the challenge we face. It is estimated that while over 50% of the population is poor at any given time, fewer than a quarter of all South Africans can be thought of as being securely out of poverty.
There are many beggars on the streets of South Africa and sometimes seeing them can feel overwhelming. There is also the idea that giving someone money for free doesn’t actually “help” them in the long-run as they might then become reliant on those hand outs.
But Goodil had noticed that the littering around that exact intersection had seemingly become worse over the last couple of months and no one was really doing anything about it.
He realised that by marrying the two challenges, he would be able to solve both of them!
He decided to offer Jimmy a job which he would pay for himself… the position was to clean up the intersection and surrounding area, to keep it clean and Goodil would pay him for this service.
“I have made a deal with Jimmy to supply and pay him for every bag of litter he collects… and he has already collected 10 bags so far today!
Please if you see him give him a word of encouragement or a contribution or even just hoot and wave. Most people would balk at the thought of picking up rubbish. Jimmy was thrilled to have a purpose.”
Goodil posted about his initiative on Facebook to which all his friends immediately agreed to assist in some way.
“To those that have donated to his cause massive thanks. Jimmy can’t believe 500 people have responded to my post. To the people who hooted and waved, and to those who gave Jimmy something for his efforts… he is overwhelmed.
In Afrikaans he said “Sy hart het nooit so groot gevoel nie” loosely translated “he is bursting with pride”.”
Goodil has also promised to make Jimmy a t-shirt so road users will know who he is, and what he is doing at the intersection.
“I drove up and down Tokai Road and have never seen it as clean.
I encourage people from other areas to try to find themselves a ” Jimmy” and see if collectively we can “help a Jimmy to help himself”.”
And Jimmy is ready to take the responsibility of his new for d purpose, and keep the whole of the Tokai Road clean!
* Surname not published for privacy reasons.