[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]People had told Stephen that he was hopeless and would never amount to anything. And he believed them.

This changed, however, on the day he knocked on the door of Living Hope in Muizenberg. After 15 years of addiction to drugs he had reached a point in his life where he said to himself, “I’ve had enough of enough!”

As with so many people, his problems started with the breakdown of family – the end of his marriage led to the use of alcohol to block out the pain and in a desperate pursuit for friendship and acceptance he moved on to drugs.  Buying and using drugs with his friends helped him to buy their friendship.

The desire for change came when his daughter was six months pregnant.  He began to feel that he didn’t want his grandchild to see him as an addict. While looking for work in Muizenberg, he saw the sign for Living Hope Rehabilitation Centre (one of U-turn’s rehabilitation partners).

Seizing the opportunity, he knocked on the door which was opened by the facilitator who said, “What you doing here?  Your half an hour too late.” and promptly closed the door on him.

Stephen kept knocking and tears began rolling down his face.  Eventually the door opened again and the facilitator seeing Stephen’s tears said, “I can see you’re desperate, come inside.” From that day a door opened and things began to change.

Without a relapse prevention programme and work opportunities, the rate for relapse is high particular for someone who is homeless. When Stephen graduated from rehab he knew he was not ready to manage his life on his own, and so joined the U-turn programme.

Almost two years later, he is on exit phase and will graduate into the open labor market.

 

So how has U-turn helped him?

Stephen manages a team of formerly homeless individuals at one of the U-turn Charity shops.

Stephen previously worked as a truck driver and has had to learn new skills, such as  managing a shop, merchandising and stock taking, managing a team is a new skill after years of working as a truck driver.

He’s also learnt to read with understanding and computer skills. Along with his new found skills, has come confidence and acceptance.

When he completes the programme he would love to find work as a truck driver again.  In order to enable him to do that, U-turn has helped him to re-sit and pass his Code 14 and renew his PDP license.

His parents, children and grandchildren are all back in his life.  He’s still living in Seawinds and attending a Baptist church in Retreat with other friends he has met through U-turn.

Although in the past he always felt that he would never amount to anything he now has a hope for a future through the support offered by people and his new found faith in God.

This Christmas give the gift of hope. Join U-turn in providing over 1 500 service lessons every month (including parenting, money management,  IT, English and literacy). Each lesson costs R250 per group. 

All donations support a skills development and rehabilitation programme for over 1,000 people living on the streets. Click here to donate[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]