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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hugs are plentiful and the children go home knowing that they are valued, respected and loved.
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.
Written article provided by Annie Ogilvie and Lida van As
Photos by Annie Ogilvie, Irene Wiesinger and Dinie Vierbergen