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In November 2023, a fire broke out near The Haven Night Shelter in Bellville, leaving the area cluttered with hazardous materials and dirt, stripping it of its dignity. The Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District (VRCID) partnered with the City of Cape Town’s Solid Waste Department to spearhead a Community Clean-Up initiative, aimed at restoring the area’s dignity.

On Friday, March 15th, 2024, the VRCID organized an event to restore dignity to The Haven Night Shelter and its surroundings, in honour of Human Rights Month. This initiative is crucial as South Africa’s Bill of Rights, Chapter 2, Section 24, affirms everyone’s right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being.

The response was impressive, with people from diverse backgrounds joining forces to make a real impact. Volunteers worked diligently, wading through knee-deep garbage to transform the area into a cleaner and safer space.

The VRCID recognized the importance of taking action rather than just talking about it and ensured that the day was more than a mere symbolic gesture. Picardie Water sponsored water for participants, Safe2Park sponsored drinks, and Shoprite Bellville provided food for those at The Haven Night Shelter Bellville. The VRCID, together with Securitas and the SAPS, ensured safety, while the City of Cape Town provided trucks to remove the accumulated rubbish. Special thanks to De Villiers & Smit Attorneys, MES, and Shofar youth workers for volunteering their time and services.

Mr. James Raad built a compost toilet to be used for the day, showcasing innovative solutions for sustainable waste management and the BBT (Better Bellville Together) maintained recycling efforts during the event, emphasizing the importance of environmental sustainability.

The Department of Social Development Bellville Office (DSD) also participated in the clean-up, highlighting the collaborative effort of various stakeholders in creating positive change. Law Enforcement from the City of Cape Town also provided support, ensuring a safe and orderly clean-up process.

The event showcased the efficacy of public-private partnerships in promoting positive change in our communities. Cleaning supplies, including gloves, bags, masks, sanitizers, rakes, and spades, were distributed to facilitate the clean-up process. Additionally, efforts were made to address specific challenges, such as the safe disposal of needles and hazardous waste. A clinic was set up to offer hepatitis testing and injections, ensuring the health and well-being of all participants, thanks to TB/HIV Care and Tygerberg Hospice.

The success of the Community Clean-Up campaign exemplifies what can be accomplished when a community comes together with a shared objective. The VRCID expresses gratitude to all who contributed to our collective efforts to create a cleaner, safer, and more dignified environment.

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