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Before picture: Maxwell and Melissa Dick’s home

The roof leaks. There is no ventilation. Some of the many holes are awkwardly sealed with pieces of wood. There is no place to study, read or write.

When you enter the shack, you walk into the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom, it’s one room, where the family of five sleeps on one bed raised off the ground to avoid rats. There is one toilet shared by six families. How are they expected to survive Cape Town’s cold, wet winter and notorious winds, let alone COVID-19?

Millions of people don’t have a secure roof over their heads, and live in unsafe, temporary structures. There are 437 informal settlement pockets in Greater Cape Town, and it is likely that someone working in your home or business lives in one of them.

Housing challenges in our city are substantial, and informal settlements or backyard dwellings are not going away. As such, the most effective solution to address the issue is in-situ upgrade of shacks. Ikhayalami and Mensch have teamed up to offer a solution to Jewish community members who want to make a difference in their employees’ lives.

Flexible in design, the upgraded shelters are easily constructed to fit different layouts and dimensions. Though basic, the quality and integrity of the iKhayalami builds are a dramatic improvement on self-built structures. They are built with stronger materials that are less susceptible to fire, flooding, and break-ins. A cement slab floor can be added, and where possible, running water can be connected.

To find out more about making a difference in someone’s life, click here or email

After picture: Maxwell and Melissa Dick’s new home

Mensch, contact:

• Published in the PDF edition of the June 2021 issue – Download here.

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