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YWC new programme for the homeless in Cape Town

Updated: Mar 1, 2022

Yes We Can South Africa Foundation is the first social enterprise to be part of the newly launched Homeless Hub from the Rehoming Collective, an organisation that is running a successful new concept of shelters for the homeless in Cape Town.

We are offering 10 residents of the Rainbow House (1 of the 2 shelters at 93 Station road, Observatory) a full sewing course with our talented self-taught tailor, fashion designer and facilitator, Mr Simba Matanda Matongera. In our first class, we decided to make a t-shirt. Thanks to our materials donor, TFG Foschini group, each student could choose the colour of the cotton stretchy fabric they wanted, had their measurements taken and sewed their own garment! Every learner has a t-shirt pattern with their size to be replicated.

Our facilitator Simba shared his inspirational story with the group. From being able to only afford his first pair of shoes at the age of 20, in Zimbabwe, to becoming a recognised tailor in South Africa. Today Simba is one of the busiest tailors and fashion designers in Harare, Khayelitsha, running his business called Simba African Designs, from home.

“How good it is to be surrounded by the people who identify and respect my skill. A new path opened to me in 2022 to teach and raise Cape Town’s homeless people to stand again through teaching them how to sew, cut and design. Our main goal is to raise them from the ground to gold plate”, tells Mr Matongera.

This training programme is offered free of charge, it is sponsored 100% by us. There are a total of 15 domestic sewing machines are at the Homeless Hub, they were serviced by Simba as he is also a mechanic of industrial sewing machines.

“We are funding this course with our own profits because we believe in these ladies and gentlemen. Every one has the potential to flourish if the conditions are right, and they are so eager to make changes. Nobody wants to live on the streets and we feel honored to be able to contribute to improving lives”, explains Mila Moreano, the Founder and Managing Director of Yes We Can South Africa Foundation, a non-profit organisation, created by Mila in 2017 and registered as a non profit company (NPC) in Nov 2020. The organization is also sponsoring wi-fi for one year for the Rainbow House, so that the residents can access the digital world for learning, searching for work and communicating with family members. "Our final desired outcome is to support them to re-integrate into society. For the reason of that, we are looking for counsellors to assist them in their journey of healing. Sewing is very therapeutic on its own and this helps to motivate someone to make them to believe in themselves, but any aid in this regard would be so appreciated", said Mila.

The Rehoming Collective was created by Mr Carlos Filipe Mesquita, an ex-homeless himself. The group is trying very hard to re-integrate themselves to society. The organisation hosts 68 residents in both shelters in Observatory. They rent two accommodations, one at YMCA, and the other a previous backpack accommodation, called the Rainbow House. The group managed to rent both places with donations from residents of Cape Town who were concerned about the increase of homeless people, as a result of Covid. According to Mr Mesquita, this number has tripled from 5000 to 15000 individuals.

"The residents now have to pay rent themselves. This is why it is so crucial for us to give them the sewing skills which in turn may generate income for themselves", added Mila.

We, at Yes We Can, are proud of ourselves for living our mission to the fullest: serving those who need us the most!

Below, the Media coverage of the Homeless Hub project:

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