Connecting those in need, with those who want to help them, to build a home they can be proud of.

Just before lockdown and the government’s call for everyone to stay indoors and at home….. fire destroyed 14 homes in Gugulethu leaving 40 to 50 people without shelter.

In response, Mensch together with housing partner Ikhayalami created a Fire Relief Emergency Fund, where homes could be rebuilt using donations from our community members together with an interest-free loan from the Mensch ‘Project Bayit’ fund. The idea is that the home-owner would immediately be re-homed and via this co-finance model would then repay the ‘Project Bayit’ financed portion over an agreed repayment period. The donor portion is gifted.

Using this model and within days of this appeal,  the fund received 2 substantial donations enabling Ikayahalami to start the rebuilds immediately.  44 People from 14 families that were homeless due to fire, now had a home. Within 1 week, 12 upgraded fire retardant and flood-resistant shacks were built and 2 homes got new roofing. All completed via the care and expertise of the Ikhayalami team.

The success of this model which brought such relief to people desperate for shelter and warmth, paved the way for the Fire Relief Emergency Fund to be included in this Jewish Community Response Covid-19 and beyond Campaign.

The subsequent success of the Atlantis fire rebuilds (yes there was yet another fire – in Atlantis in June), and the 25 individuals that now, through this funding model, again have a home – and one far more secure against the elements of flood and fire – is the story told.

10 Shack fires occur daily across the country, resulting in 200 lives being lost every year. We call on you to give what you can to this appeal, knowing that you’ll be contributing to more mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and children who have lost their homes and all their possessions to fire, being rehomed.

This is what a rebuild of the Gugulethu homes looks like

All homes are built by Ikhayalami whose areas of focus include: research and development, upgrading of shelters, infrastructural development, community facilities, blocking-out (re-configuring settlement wide layouts), and disaster response. Ikhayalami’s technical support and material innovations, ensure that all emergency rebuilds use cost-efficient state of art materials that are and flood-resistant and fire retardant – even to the degree that they act as a barrier to the spread of fire.