Hands of Honour
Paul Talliard rose up and out of a soup kitchen to found Hands of Honour in response the alarming increase in the number of unemployed men just languishing in soup kitchens in his community. Many of these men were also engaging in anti-social activities. Through hard work and support from various sources, Paul has come up with an up-cycling program that has been celebrated as a creative solutions to the many challenges poor communities face daily.
At the Johannesburg Waste Summit 2015 it was revealed that ZAR 17 billion worth of material was being dumped in South Africa landfill sites every year.
Paul proves this waste has both social and economic value, that moving waste up the hierarchy provides opportunities for socio-economic development and new jobs. Hands of Honour employs the marginalized, those who have experienced homelessness, crime or substance abuse - to up-cycle obsolete stock and creating innovative products to raise the standard of living of the poor and children.
The up-cycling program addresses 3 problems in Cape Town:
• Prolonged unemployment;
• Physically run down spaces;
• Effective management of obsolete stock / recyclable waste.
Hands of Honour brings together three best practices:
(1) While ‘up-cycling’ or reusing waste materials has been done informally, the organisation works directly with the waste generators to formalise this process, representing something new. Corporations now donate their obsolete stock/waste rather than send to landfill.
(2)Provides skills and confidence to those participating
(3)This process funds urban renewal initiatives, focusing on rundown spaces.
The up-cycling venture sustains itself and contribute to a greener city and the reclaiming of derelict urban space.
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
Hands of Honour employs people to up-cycle obsolete stock and recyclable items. Much of this waste is provided through partnerships with the corporate sector and would otherwise end up in landfills. Workers process the waste, either rehabilitating material or stripping goods for sale of parts. Innovative products produced include garden furniture, educational aids and even burial crosses.
Proceeds from this have two benefits:
• Provides salaries for workers who otherwise have no work options available to them;
• Profits are invested in derelict community spaces, focusing on public spaces that have become havens for anti-social behaviour.
The organisation trains the same marginalised populations to transform these spaces into safe and attractive places conducive to economic development and community healing. In the process, the workers not only receive a salary, but are integrated back into their communities, gaining job skills, self-esteem, and breaking their reliance on others.
The organisation works directly with the waste generators to formalise this process, representing something new in South Africa. We manufacture and sell a range of garden furniture. Our latest product, the Angel Book Nook, is made from 70% recycled wood. The Angel Book Nook is designed for use in often overcrowded Early Learning Centres in South Africa’s poor communities. It is a mini -Library that takes up very little space when folded and stored but literally opens up to reveal a world of information and adventure through the books stored within its confines. There are educational toys stationed within, while the front is a chalkboard and can be used as such while other children are safely nestled inside, glued to their books.
So far, dozens of men have come through this up-cycling program to go on to live lives with purpose and a vision. Many have reclaimed their rightful roles as breadwinners and role models for vulnerable youth. Eleven full and part time jobs have been created while dozens of marginalized men receive stipends for participating in Hands of Honour urban regeneration projects. A portion of the profits is used to pay the annual school fees of fifteen poor children in the community, who otherwise have no other options available to them. Tons of obsolete stock and other corporate waste have been intercepted and diverted from landfills and transformed into innovative products that improve the lives of poor people . Currently, we are encouraging corporates and donors to sponsor book nooks and for every Angel Book Nook purchased by a corporate or donor, Hands of Honour donates a Junior Book Nook to a needy school. Nine physically run-down spaces have been transformed into positive spaces.
The main challenge is finding suitable premises with the infrastructure to process larger volumes of obsolete stock/waste as donated by our corporate partners. More vehicles are also needed to transport the obsolete stock/waste to and from our premises.
Many men fall back into their old ways as soon as they are earning a wage. Thus a new step is that before individuals start earning a small stipend, they must volunteer for at least for at least thee community projects funded by our up-cycling venture. From there, they start to earn a small stipend. Management at Hands of Honour gauges how the stipend is being used, making sure it is not spent on addictive substances. When the participants are found deserving, they start to earn a regular income at Hands of Honour. Many leverage the opportunity at Hands of Honour to find better jobs,exiting the program to go on to live responsible lives.