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Fresh Start Sedgefield

Fresh Start Swop Shop
Helping People help Themselves

Fresh Start Sedgefield is a NPO on the Garden Route of South Africa working in the Township of Smutsville. We aim to create new possibilities for children and their families by giving them hands-up instead of handouts and encouraging them to a fresh start in life.

Smutsville ScenesSmutsville Scenes

The Fresh Start Recycle Swop Shop is an empowerment project which has been operational since 2014.  Over 600 children are registered and in a practical yet fun way they learn the value of effort and perseverance, while developing confidence and self-respect. Through simple life lessons of faithfulness, responsibility and reward, we hope to change an attitude of entitlement to one of empowerment.

Delighted children with the rewards of their rubbish collections.Children delighted with what they have purchased with their 'Mula'.

The project creates a platform for people from all walks of life to volunteer their time, energy, resources and skills.  Our diverse team of about 30 volunteers come from both the Sedgefield and Smutsville communities. We want to be positive role models, encourage good behaviour and create a safe environment in which the children can have fun and blossom. We encourage recycling and care for the environment and promote ongoing awareness of our project and fundraising activities.  

Children getting personal advice and attentionChildren getting personal attention and help with their choices.

The SwopShop operates every Wednesday during school terms from 13h30 to 16h00 on the Smutsville Primary School grounds. Children race out of school shouting ‘RE-CY-CLING!’ and collect their recycle bags from our gate. After fetching the recyclables they have collected during the week, an average of 240 children have their bags weighed and mula points allocated.  

The Swop Shop process of collection and reward.The Fresh Start Process

Every regular child has a card on which their attendance and points are recorded. They go with a personal shopper to trade their mula points for treasures such as stationery, toiletries and new or gently used clothing, shoes, toys, sports stuff and even bicycles

Some items that donors provideSome Donors' gifts

Donors provide these treasures in kind or cash.  Recognising that the children work hard for their points, we ensure that only items in good condition are made available and that there is a great variety of stock to choose from.

Children are encouraged to save their points if they want to buy more expensive items like a bicycle, and those who save earn monthly interest. 

In this way, they learn the reward of achieving goals through effort and perseverance.

Promotions like Book Day, Winter Woolies and year-end bonus points add excitement to our project.  

Expensive Items teaching delayed gratificationSome expensive items that have to be "saved for".

Martie Rooi runs a First Aid Station in Smutsville. She also volunteers at the SwopShop where she treats minor ailments such as skin infections, cuts and burns. 

Martie Rooi provides a First Aid Station at the Swop ShopFirst Aid Station at the Swop Shop

Every child gets a fruit at the end of their shopping experience. They can then join the ‘KIDDIES CORNER’ where volunteers facilitate educational games, play dough, colouring in and hands-on lessons on topics like dental hygiene and hand washing.  

Children having Time Out at Kiddies Corner after Swop Shop transactions.Kiddies Corner - time for Lessons, Games and Hugs.

Hugs are plentiful and the children go home knowing that they are valued, respected and loved. 

Fresh Start appreciates Volunters, Visitors & Donations 

Visitors and Volunteers at the Swop ShopSome welcome Volunteers and Visitors

We welcome new volunteers and visitors to the SwopShop.

We readily accept any donations of new or gently used second hand children’s clothes, socks and shoes, as well as toiletries, stationery, colouring books, toys, balls, etc.

These can be dropped off at The Edge, Dr. Stander’s rooms, Slow Roasted at Mosaic Market or phone Annie on 084-804-0028 for collection.

The NPO is now also registered as a MySchool beneficiary.

For more information please visit  us on facebook freshStart Sedgefield.

Sadly, this wonderful organisation was closed during the Covid 19 pandemic and has not been revived.

The kinds of items the children look forward to purchasing.All Kinds of highly valued items at the Swop Shop.


Written article provided by Annie Ogilvie and Lida van As
Photos by Annie Ogilvie, Irene Wiesinger and Dinie Vierbergen