Cape Town - When you enter The Carpenter’s Workshop in Roeland Street, you are overcome by a feeling of humility.
The people of Streetscapes, an off-shoot of Project Khulisa , are using the facility to make sandwiches which they sell.
This helps to generate income for the homeless through urban vegetable and herb gardens.
These sandwiches are called Dignity Sandwiches - named after the Dignity Project launched by the Cape Argus in April. Streetscapes has a garden in Roeland Street where they grow a variety of produce which supplies several restaurants in the CBD.
Consumers can also buy the produce over weekends.
“Streetscapes’ aim is to take people off the streets, give them their self-respect and dignity back, by virtue of creating a work opportunity and for people to come in and have a purpose every day,” said project co-ordinator Francois Coetsee.
Looking at the homeless people making the sandwiches, one can see they seem to have found their purpose and happiness.
Streetscapes initially focused on selling produce, but they intend to sell sandwiches to the public as well.
However, these sandwiches are not your ordinary peanut butter jam sandwiches. We’re talking pesto, tuna mayo, chicken mayo and cheese sandwiches.
What makes these sandwiches different is they’re made using produce grown in the urban gardens tended by the homeless.
The sandwiches are also organic, halaal and kosher.
As Coetsee said: “A fresher sandwich you are not going to find anywhere.”
A team member, Theresa Solomons, said she was “very happy” with the work she was doing.
She said she valued the skills andknowledge being handed down to her.
While fundraising is an important component, Streetscapes also caters for the emotional well-being of its homeless people.
The team goes through an induction process where they are counselled and given guidance on problems they may face on a regular basis.
There is also a mixed martial arts class and a photographic club.
Streetscapes has invited Capetonians to visit its gardens, which can be found next to the Roeland Street Fruit and Veg City.
It is open between 8am and 2pm on weekdays and between 11am and 2pm on Saturdays for people to pick their own greens.
On Thursday, Streetscapes delivered 50 sandwiches to the Cape Argus which staff purchased.
Dignity Project ambassador Danny Oosthuizen has encouraged other businesses to do the same.