On Saturday 23 April 2016, homeless and other underprivileged residents of Johannesburg arrived to an outdoor pop-up store of winter clothing, ready to be chosen by them. Residents were assisted by shopping assistants in the form of volunteering University of Johannesburg (UJ) students and staff.
The UJ Street Store, a collaboration between a Cape Town advertising agency, asked for donations of clothing from the public and UJ community. The Street Store, the area’s first, was held at the corner of Beyers Naude and Kingsway Road in Auckland Park, opposite the UJ Kingsway campus.
Says Ms Dale Kitchin, UJ’s project coordinator: “Street store is an opportunity to give back to the people that surround our campuses, who are part of the community within Johannesburg and less fortunate than us. It is an endeavour to somehow, in a small way, take care of our community ahead of winter, especially those that we pass on the way in and out of work that we know live on the streets. We want to provide a dignified shopping experience to people who may never have had a shopping experience at all.”
“UJ has reached out to NGO’s, shelters and other safe havens to attend this pop-up store. This initiative allows them to browse through the offerings and select what they want. We have various donated garments that will become handy as winter approaches,” added Ms Kitchin.
These were some of the sentiments shared by shoppers:
“I am very happy and excited for coming here and doing shopping, which I haven’t done in years. Thanks a lot UJ. Continue doing this year after year”- Xolani (25) who has been living on the streets for 10 years.
“I really appreciate what UJ has done for us. This winter I am going to be warm from head to toe. Thank you very much” – Thabo (21) who has been living on the streets for four years.