The reason why DSFin Services got involved and support this great initiative. The Towers of Hope Trust (ToH), linked to the Clean & Green Free State Campaign, has become aware of the enormous environmental challenges in keeping Bloemfontein clean. Many business owners are frustrated with an environment which is not conducive to attracting customers and growing a business. Therefore ToH has come up with the concept of Cleanup Teams. A Cleanup Team comprises of one to five members, selected from the unemployed, which is then connected to a specific business to do specific weekly cleanup duties. It can entail anything from cleaning a courtyard to daily “patrolling” and keeping the sidewalk in front of DSFin Services clean. At the same time those individuals selected for the program are facilitated in group sessions pertaining to life skills and the work environment.
DSFin Services enters into a contract with ToH, which takes the responsibility to select, train, and mentor the participants in the program and making sure they have all the necessary tools and equipment to do the work. Overalls or bibs for the participants are supplied on an agreed basis, while the type of cleanup work required, the tariff, the times of work and the responsibilities of both parties are stipulated in the contract.
In this way DSFin Services does not only achieve a much cleaner environment, but it is also constructively involved with a form of job-creation for unemployed people with little or no skills. As a NGO working with the urban poor, this project enables ToH to go further than just providing the poor with a meal. This is in line with the vision of transforming communities from vulnerability to ability. The creation of jobs, coupled with the development of practical and life skills, does not only put food on the table for one person, but in many instances for a whole family. Having a job, with then accompanied personal growth implied, plays a major role in preventing the slide into extreme poverty and hopelessness.
ToH has been working since October 2008 from the premises of the old Two Tower Dutch Reformed Church in the Bloemfontein CBD, focusing on serving the marginalized and unemployed poor of the city. Even though ToH is working very closely with Dutch Reformed Congregation of Two Tower Church, it is a separate legal entity registered as a NGO with its own independent board of trustees. It entails cleanup tasks done on the outside of DSFin Services – i.e. the courtyards or public sidewalks; picking up rubbish, sweeping up dirt and putting it in designated areas provided by DSFin Services. There is thus a very specific market for the Cleanup teams of ToH in that (1) the cleanup is focused on a specific business and done according to the specifications of the business; (2) it is done at a price that covers the payment for the participants, with a little added admin fee; (3) by this venture a business will have the opportunity to really invest in the development of the potential of unemployed persons.