For as long as we can remember here at Ikhala Trust there have been a few things that have always bothered us when we carry out our work in the townships. 1) the number of soup kitchens operating – all well intended but basically just feeding people and not expecting anything in return and the other which is a big one for us is the amount of rubbish that is thrown around and piles up for weeks on end. So with this in mind we approached one of our grantee organisations in Zwide, Gibbs, from Sisonke Sophumelela Community Organisation and discussed the idea of incorporating a Swop- Shop for recyclable materials when people come for the soup on a weekly basis. Gibbs was keen and we immediately started setting up the system. We were blown away by the response as people came from all sides with their bags of rubbish. The message is clear NO RUBBISH – NO SOUP. We need to instil this in the minds of the thousands of people who receive soup from these kitchens across the Metro as in this way we are all doing our bit to clean our environment.

Sean Sampson from Recycle Yourself has enthusiastically come on board and is prepared to collect and pay Sisonke for the waste they collect on a monthly basis as his social responsibility contribution. This will make a huge difference as the members of Sisonke do not receive stipends and will now at least be able to generate some income that they can share amongst themselves. Sisonke also has a thriving vegetable garden and seedlings are provided on a regular basis with funds we received from the Grey High School.

Currently Ikhala Trust is assisting with the administration of the Swop- Shop and also providing the goods in their private capacity but will need assistance in the future as the idea grows. There is already a very successful similar initiative operating with volunteers in Jefferys Bay who kindly shared how they went about doing this with Ikhala Trust.

We see huge potential in this initiative and all of us are very excited and to see it succeed and spread like a GOOD VIRUS across the Metro and the Province. It works well in urban areas where dumping rubbish is endemic – we can and will eventually ensure that we educate everyone about the value of rubbish and that we are not about HAND-OUTS but HAND- UPS. People get points for the amount of rubbish they bring to the Centre and at the end of the month these points are exchanged for an item or items of clothing, bedding, shoes, stationery and foodstuff. If it continues to go as well as it has – and it has just started we will soon be appealing to the hearts of all our friends and family to donate to the Swop- Shop as we are hoping to stimulate this at all the soup-kitchens operating in the City.

You go Gibbs and your team and we will support you!!