The Smutsville Recycle Swop Shop is the main freshStart Sedgefield empowerment project. It is situated at Smutsville Primary School in Smutsville and operates from 13h30 to 16h00 every Wednesday during school terms. It is aimed at children aged 3 to 16 years. Between 200 and 300 children per week exchange recyclable material for mula points and then trade these points for new and second hand goods (clothes, shoes, toiletries, stationery, and toys).
Donors provide these treasures in kind or cash. Recognising that the children work hard for their points, we ensure that only items in good condition are made available, and that there is a great variety to choose from.
In this loving and safe environment, children learn valuable life lessons. They are encouraged to save their points if they want to buy more expensive items like a bicycle. Those who save, earn monthly interest. The children learn the reward of achieving goals through effort and perseverance, thus helping themselves, while growing in confidence and self-respect. Promotions like Book Day, Winter Woollies, and year-end bonus points, add excitement to our project.
Every child gets a fruit at the end of their shopping experience and has the option of joining the Kiddies’ Corner: a fun place where volunteers facilitate educational games, play-dough, colouring in, and simple crafts. Here we aim to improve fine motor skills, teach problem solving and social intelligence through play.
Basic first aid is available. Martie Rooi, who runs a First Aid station in Smutsville, volunteers at the SwopShop and skilfully treats skin infections, cuts and burns.
Like every other township, parts of Smutsville are littered with waste. Trying to encourage the general clean-up of the community, we also weigh street waste. Sporadically we take the children onto the streets and show them how to earn more points and keep their neighbourhood clean by collecting street rubbish.
In 2018, the children collected a total of 44 624 kg of waste.