The Recycle Swop Shop is a registered Nonprofit Organisation - NPO 057-692
The RSS operates from the premises of Hou Moed Centre, within the marginalised township of Zwelihle in the seaside town of Hermanus. Zwelihle’s children often struggle to get their hands on essential items that are often taken for granted by many; like toiletries and stationery, let alone more costly items such as shoes and school uniforms.
In 2003, the situation facing children and their families in the “squatter camp” visited was simply, desperate. The RSS concept was the answer to the question: “Father God, what can be done in a problem so huge?” From there; faith, hope and perseverance kept a small group of volunteers coming back to put the idea into action.
Simple on the surface…
The concept of the RSS is simple, but very effective. Throughout the week, children are encouraged to collect and sort recyclable “litter” within their neighbourhood. Once a week, the RSS opens for children to bring in their collections where material is weighed and the child receives a ticket bearing points based on the quantities they have collected. From there, they go to the “shop” where they can “buy” items with their points. On their way out, all children receive a nutritional snack regardless of the amount of recycling they brought in.
…but there’s much more to it than getting a few goodies
The points that children receive for their recycling are not true reflections of the commercial value of the materials, but rather they reflect the effort in collecting, sorting and carrying the materials. This is one of the key lessons that the project seeks to teach these children:
Hands turned up to receive, creates beggars. Hands turned down to “do” enables people to help themselves.
Every aspect of the RSS process plays a developmental role in the children’s lives. Through sorting, counting, calculating, weighing, budgeting, saving and banking points, the children are being introduced to educational processes and valuable life skills that are practiced and reinforced in a practical manner. This makes the project far more than just charity practice. It provides life skills and opportunities for personal development – with lots of fun being thrown in for good measure!
The future of our community, nation and world is in the hands of today’s children. Without hope, there is no future.
The RSS project is meant to provide a conduit between a neighbourhood with excess towards a neighbourhood struggling for the basics. The concept does this while instilling a sense of hope and maintaining dignity. It brings together different sectors of society that may not otherwise interact in such a meaningful way. Clearing out cupboards and closets in one sector of the community can directly support and assist the less fortunate while promoting valuable skill development. Social awareness that the project creates within the greater community encourages proactive change.
The RSS is an opportunity for all of us to work together to create a cleaner, more caring community.
Getting out and about
Outings for children and teen volunteers have been offered. Of an educational nature, these outings introduce participants to the wider community and provide opportunities they otherwise may not have the chance to experience.
Supporting the RSS:
To continue to provide assistance in this way to Zwelihle’s children we require the ongoing support of our community and friends. The motive of the project is very much about drawing together community as a whole to work together; involving both the privileged and the disadvantaged together to create better opportunities and understanding for all. As we give, we will receive; often in ways we cannot predict. This principle is real and is much broader than mere finance. Your support could be in the form of:
- Your time and effort – please come and help us. Our success rests on people working together and putting their passion into action
- Encouragement – come to visit, ask us how it’s going, pray for us
- Supplies for the Swop Shop – non perishable food, second hand and new clothing and shoes, school supplies and toiletries, toys, books – anything a child can use…that you can donate
- Financial – the payback from recyclable material collected is a fraction of the value of rewards provided. All donations of finance are used for supply and operation, we are all volunteers and do not receive financial remuneration.
How much recycling has the RSS processed over the years? Find out below (amounts in kg).
Download our annual reports and financial statements for more insight into our organisation (Requires Adobe Reader).