REHABILITATION OF THE HOMELESS
Street Exit Strategies
Homelessness still plagues the streets of our cities. In winter we cringe at the cold and rush into our cosy homes often forgetting that many sleep on the waysides with a mere cardboard box as their only protection from the biting cold. (in the black box if it fits)
In 2009 SES was inspired and driven by the Lisa’s desire to meet the visible need for holistic rehabilitation of the teens and young adults living in the streets. Many organisations existed to support and reunite children with their families yet none address the needs of the 16+ year olds who didn’t make the transition back into society successfully.
Having grown up in a home that was never a day without a foster child, counselling case or a needy passerby Lisa was conditioned from an early age to give of herself and her resources limitlessly.
SES has since seen several youth successfully and permanently rehabilitated with the two most inspiring cases being two young men who SES assisted to study, re-write and pass the O’ and A’level examinations and access university scholarships. These scholarships saw the first completing a degree in political science at the university of Zimbabwe and the second currently in his final year the University of Western Cape (2015).
Lisa and her team however also saw many cruel, lonely, excruciating deaths of their beloved brothers and sisters who were taken by HIV and AIDS while living on the streets. Four died in under her care. Two of their burials were coordinated by Lisa herself aged 23 and 24....
How it began
It all began with a Christmas party for the homeless in December 2009; a joint effort between Miss Chiriseri and Her Worship, the Mayoress Mrs Masunda (through the Mayor’s Cheer Fund), His Presence Ministries International church and Just Children Foundation. The parties were great successes annually but Lisa, unhappy with the idea of leaving it at a once a year celebration- begun the soup kitchen which ran for 5 years thereafter. The Soup Kitchen shut down only because of a collective decision by rehab organisations to lessen food hand outs and increase accountability and direct rehabilitation efforts.
The SES’ goal:
Remains being to reach out to the homeless of our city, case by case - through engaging them in social, spiritual, mental, economic, health and career orientated activities that will reintegrate them smoothly into society.
Our three key strategies:
effective peer interaction and mentorship
social re-integration through the church (our partners His Presence Ministries International church)
Please note no pictures are available as a matter of privacy*
The Annual Children’s Christmas Celebration
For the 3 years (2009-2012) Street Exit Strategies (SES) was able to give children from various disadvantaged backgrounds- teens and children living on the streets and orphans from homes around Harare- a warm, compassion filled Christmas celebration party.
The founder of SES (Lisa Chiriseri, aged 18 at the time) acted upon the desire of her heart to see such children also share the joy and spirit of love and giving at Christmas time. Through the 3 year partnership with the Harare Mayor’s Cheer Fund this Children’s Christmas Celebration has benefited over 400 different children emotionally, spiritually and materially. Corporates and individuals were able to give back to society by contributing towards this celebration. Main sponsors of the event were the Mayor’s Cheer Fund governed by the Mayoress Her Worship Mrs Masunda, Legacy International School and His Presence Ministries International church.
The children hailed from various children’s homes and care organisations including – SES, Just Children Foundation, Presbyterian Children’s Club, Blossom Children’s Community, Bridge of Hope, Joseph Foundation, Tose Respite Care Home and Ruvimbo Censer, MEST Foundation to mention but a few. The same children now benefit through the merged efforts of many other charities to host bigger combined Christmas parties annually. Lisa continues to support this through mobilizing volunteers and donations towards several parties each year end.