The Cape Town Central Improvement District (CCID) has launched an SMS donation service as part of its Give Responsibly campaign in an effort to help break the cycle of homelessness on the city’s streets.
The SMS line forms part of the augmented Give Responsibly campaign and offers the public an alternative way of donating money to people living on the streets of Cape Town.
The donations will be disbursed to various city NGOs that already do great work in helping to change the lives of the homeless by providing shelter, food, social services and rehabilitation programmes.
“For many members of the public, the instinct is to give money to people begging on the street because they believe it will give the person a chance to build a new life — or at the very least help them survive life on the street. However, we find that very often the money given is not used for basic needs like food, clothing or shelter but rather to fuel addictions, resulting in homeless people sometimes rejecting assistance and committing themselves to a life on the street,” said Pat Eddy, head of social development at CCID.
Members of the public who wish to donate to the campaign can send an SMS to 38088, using the keywords ‘Give’, ‘Success’, ‘Dreams’ or ‘Dignity’. Each R10 SMS donation will contribute to the efforts of the CCID’s six NGO partners, which are: Straatwerk, Ons Plek, Carpenter’s Shop, Homestead, Salesian Institute Youth Projects and The Haven.
“We fully support the CCID’s Give Responsibly initiative, which allows us as resource-strapped NGOs to reach out to even more children living on the street in the CBD,” said Sandra Morreira, director at the Homestead, which supports boys under 18 in family reunification and other services.
In recognition of the social impact of the campaign, several service providers have committed their support. Vodacom has generously agreed to waive all charges up to a total of R40 000 donated. This means the NGOs will receive the full R10 of every donation given by Vodacom subscribers, up to that nominated value. Local IT company iTouch has waived all its fees, and online reputation management consultancy BrandsEye has contributed its expertise to this campaign pro bono. Design agency Design Infestation, and digital development agency World Wide Creative, have also offered significant discounts on their fees.
“The creative execution of the campaign is designed to humanise the people living on the street by telling stories of changed lives. Smiley, the character depicted in the Give Responsibly awareness campaign, is used to represent the cycle of how on-street donations perpetuates homelessness. Smiley’s stories are based on real life stories of people who could turn their lives around as a result of interventions from the partner NGOs. When the public uses the SMS line to donate to the campaign, they are able to see the true happy endings to Smiley’s story, and to see how their donations can literally change lives,” said Eddy.
“The success of the Give Responsibly’s success is dependent on collaborations between various NGOs, local government and the public. While we can’t alleviate homelessness overnight, we can all join to help the various NGOs in the CBD in the incredible work they are doing,” said Tasso Evangelinos, COO of CCID.
“We would like to encourage businesses in the CBD to get involved and challenge their staff to share the Give Responsibly message and also for other CIDs to implement Give Responsibly in their own areas. This is an ongoing campaign,” concludes Evangelinos.
The organisation says it encourages people to support the NGOs in any way they can, which can include donations of perishables, blankets or clothing.