Helping Cape Town's poor clean up

in Recycling

In Dunoon informal settlement, Recycle Swop Shop has been teaching the residents the value of looking after the environment. Having been operating for a year now, the project's aim is two fold: teach people to value their environment by recycling, and offer hope to people who have very little. It has been really exciting to see the growth of this project. Even more remarkable, though, has been the number of lives that have changed as a result of getting involved in this project. Here are a few of the ‘stories behind the faces' at Swop Shop…

Bulelwa has been coming to Swop Shop since she was a few months pregnant. The Swop Shop team recently got to meet baby Nomfundiso, who is one month old. We have seen this lady coming to Recycle Swop Shop throughout her pregnancy, so it was a special moment to meet her little boy. Bulelwa uses tokens from Swop Shop to buy clothes and Nomfundiso is dressed in clothes his mom got at Swop Shop.

 Bulelwa and Nomfundiso

Elliot has also been coming since August 2011. Each week, he brings between thirty and forty bags of recycling, and he always ensures he's first in the queue! Mostly, Elliot spends his tokens on food. In January, our head of operations, Jita, asked Elliot to help the Swop Shop team by sorting plastic. He's now become an active member of our team, and earns twenty extra points for his efforts. 


Princess comes to Recycle Swop Shop regularly, bringing between twenty-five and thirty bags of plastic and cardboard, that she has carefully tied to a shopping trolley. She told us recently that it upsets her when people throw their garbage on the streets, but she's grateful for the opportunity it affords her. She told us that she knows she'll have food after a trip to Swop Shop. Princess has also begun helping the team on Wednesdays, and we have learnt that she is an unemployed single mother of three! What an honour to be able to give people in desperate situations hope, and help.


We want more stories like these – situations being improved and lives being changed by the generosity of a community. To find out more about Recycle Swop Shop like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. 

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Angela Benjafield has 1 articles online

Recycle Swop Shop is a community project. It encourages people in Cape Town's poorest areas to recycle waste by rewarding them with tokens for recyclable goods collected. People are able to 'buy' food, clothes and basic toiletries with these tokens at Swop Shop.  

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Helping Cape Town's poor clean up

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This article was published on 2012/03/07
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