Big Issue at home: Vendor care and well-beingJuly 21, 2023
Honouring our vendors’ children
If you make children happy now, you’ll make them happy in 20 years’ time. This is what Victorian educator and author Kate Douglas Wiggin believed, and so do we. At The Big Issue we always try to look after our vendors’ families and their well-being.
Words: Melody Gombakomba, Social Worker for The Big Issue
Our interest and focus is not just on the vendors in particular, but also their children and everyone else they look after. Over the past few months, we have held events for our vendors aimed at making them feel good about themselves and showing them how much we, as an organisation, appreciate them. These events have been well received by our vendors, so we thought we should do something for their children, too.
CARING FOR KIDS
The well-being of our vendors’ children is just as important to us as that of their parents. They keep the household running when their parents are out there working in the streets of Cape Town. They ensure that they look after each other as siblings, prepare food for their parents when they come from work, and ensure that everything is neat and tidy at home. Because of how little our vendors make and have, they can hardly afford to spoil their children. They cannot afford to take their kids to go and eat out, go to the beach or even amusement parks around Cape Town.
We understand the hardships that our vendors’ children go through, and we understand the need for them to go out there and just be kids. Recently we had a Youth Day for our vendors’ children. We were fortunate to get a beautiful venue from the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) with a kitchen where we were able to cook, as well as braai facilities. Our children had a relaxing day with lots of good music, great food and a ceramic painting experience donated to us by the Clay Café in Cape Town.
The café generously donated a variety of ceramics, paints and paint brushes for the kids. This was new to them because they had never had a ceramic painting experience before. We had pot plants, figurines and some kitchen items like plates, bowls, and mugs for them to paint. Having a ceramic painting experience is not something that is easily accessible to our children because their parents cannot afford it and therefore they were very excited to take part in it. Our Big Issue staff also took part in the painting experience, and it was wonderful to see how the children’s faces lit up seeing them painting and also just being children again. After this painting experience, we took the finished items to the Clay Café, where they were fired and glazed. The children were then given their glazed pottery items when they came for their maths class after the school holidays. The items were the perfect ‘welcome back’ gift for them.
We are grateful to the YMCA and the Clay Café for partnering with us on our Youth Day. Having them as partners helped us create memories in our children that they will cherish and remember forever. We intend to keep on taking our vendors’ kids on new discoveries and adventures on future Youth Days. By doing so, we hope that they can know just how special they are to us, and they can have time to relax and just be themselves.
We also hope to partner with different other organisations around Cape Town to make our Youth Days memorable and exciting for our children. They always look forward to these kinds of events and we try to ensure that every one of these events is memorable, and one of a kind.