South Africa: Collecting Garbage, Creating Jobs, Finding Solutions, Saving a River


Help Up, an initiative in Cape Town, has consistently been cleaning up the Black River Raapenberg channel, already clearing 4,000 tons of garbage that would have ended up in the ocean. They use volunteers and employ Avatars, homeless and formally unemployed folk, to clean up and collect tons of waste. But they are also proposing solutions.

Help Up is a solutions-based "compassionate disruption" initiative started by myself in September 2018. The aim of Help Up is to amplify awareness of our communal environmental responsibilities, as well as to activate people from all socio-economic sectors of our community and encourage them to work together on environmental projects. We have people who live on the streets, in informal settlements and some who reside in lovely suburban homes, working together on our clean-up crew. Our age profile is also interesting. Volunteers and Avatars range between the ages of 18 and 60.

At Help Up, we are all the same, whether volunteer or avatar, we work together as a team to collect rubbish from rivers and drive change through the example of action. Help Up Muckies ready for action! Nicole and Linda Oosthuizen, Liz Sparg, Sinethemba Quaka, Julian Coetzee, Simmy Engelbrecht, Mosa Mocumi, Abdulla...

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