Donned in green and white, volunteers and members of Clean Projects have become a familiar sight along major roads and intersections across Benoni. Over the past seven months, this non-profit organisation has been dedicated to collecting litter, painting curbs, clearing gullies, and cleaning stormwater drains, all with the mission of reclaiming and beautifying the city.
Initially, founder Jonathan Etherington of Ebotse set his sights on Pretoria Road and Fifth Avenue intersection. With a vision to rejuvenate the area, 50 volunteers eagerly joined the cause, tending to general maintenance and creating a welcoming water-wise mound.
Since then, Clean Projects has gained remarkable momentum, garnering overwhelming support from residents and local businesses alike. The organisation’s reach has expanded to various areas, and it has acquired essential tools and equipment for the projects. Through a partnership with Youth Employment Services (YES), Clean Projects has provided employment opportunities for two men from Emandleni, who diligently continue maintaining cleaned areas and preparing spaces earmarked for community involvement days.
Personal testimonials from individuals like Mthoko Dladla, who previously hoped to work as a builder while sitting on overgrown sidewalks, now attest to the life-changing impact of working with Clean Projects. Dladla expresses pride in their achievements and assures that wherever Clean Projects boards are seen, the area will remain neat and clean due to their consistent efforts.
Mxolisis Hlabisa, an unemployed roofer, delights in sweeping the streets to prepare for volunteers to paint curbs, embracing the Clean Projects logo on his reflective vest with pride. He believes their work brings positive change to the world and finds joy in the honking horns and waving from appreciative passersby. For Hlabisa, the work also serves as a means to provide for his family.
Big Boy Sikhosana of Msholozi informal settlement near Apex renders his services as a volunteer, aspiring to secure employment while imparting a valuable lesson to his children. He emphasises the power of collective effort and the value it adds to the lives of many, highlighting the importance of strong leadership and determination.
Looking ahead, Clean Projects envisions establishing a second permanent team to sustain the momentum of their projects. While they have proven their capability and success, continued financial support remains vital to drive their initiatives to greater heights.
As a community, they have proudly reclaimed parts of their city, and Clean Projects welcomes anyone interested in becoming part of their impactful movement. For more information or to get involved, individuals can contact Alison at 083 497 0610 or follow Clean Projects on Facebook.
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Photo: Supplied by Benoni City Times