Solidarity Helping Hand highlights drug abuse amongst street beggars in shocking documentary

Graphic scenes highlight the reality of white street beggars’ motives

Solidarity Helping Hand’s new documentary, Bedwelmd (Drugged), highlights the harrowing world of drugs and the devastation caused by addiction to it. The documentary contains conversations with both current and recovering drug addicts and their loved ones, and graphically showcases the tragedy of drug addiction from begging on the streets to  the broken lives caused in its wake. Bedwelmd aims to make the public aware of the dangers thoughtless charity for beggars on the streets of South Africa.

In a qualitative study undertaken by Helping Hand, respondents claimed that up to 90% of white beggars are addicted to drugs. Experienced investigative journalist, De Wet Potgieter, took the camera crew into the dark underworld of drug abuse and addiction. The viewers can see firsthand what life is like on the streets and how the people try to escape from the cycle of addiction.

Interviewees include Ado and Michael Krige, the managers of House Regeneration Rehabilitation Centre, as well as Jacques Papenfus of Moeg Gesukkel Rehabilitation center. The documentary also includes conversations with rehabilitating and former drug addicts, as well as a couple anguishing over their son’s addiction.

Helping Hand’s 150 branches, including 250 staff, supporters and volunteers, stood on street corners and at traffic lights to beg with unconventional slogans on their signs. Helping Hand wishes to inform the public that in spite of the ludicrous messages on these pretentious signs, the public still gave them money.

“When the public gives money to beggars on street, there is a misconception that the money will be used to support their livelihoods. Sadly the public does not realize the damage they unwittingly cause in the lies of these street beggars,” said Dr. Danie Brink, chief executive at Helping Hand. “The graphic scenes in Bedwelmd aims to bring across the hard reality of drug addiction.”

The documentary was released at the Atterbury Theatre in Pretoria on 21 April. Helping Hand believes that donations should rather be given to trustworthy organizations who are committed to helping the poor. The organization urges the public not to give money to beggars as the money only feeds the beggar’s addiction. Helping Hand’s study showed that the majority of beggars need specialised help to treat their addiction.

For more information about the #geeREG campaign, please contact Lizelle Joubert, project leader at Helping Hand on 012 644 4390 of send an email to [email protected]

Be careful who you give money to….

Solidarity Helping Hand takes to the streets

Be sure to carefully read the messages written on the beggars board before deciding to give them a donation, it might be a member of Solidarity Helping Hand you encounter. The organization is aiming to educate the public on the dangers of toxic charity with a new campaign. On 18 – 20 April more than 300 of the organization’s staff, supporters and volunteers will take to the streets all over the country with unconventional messages on their boards.

Helping Hand wants to make the public aware that even with these unconventional messages, people still give money. In 35 towns will form part of the #geeReg project and boards will display messages like “my drug dealer thanks you for your donation”.

Solidarity Helping Hand will soon take to South Africa’s streets to refute once and for all the misconception that exists in the country about beggars. Through its #geeREG campaign the organisation will on 19 April 2016 communicate the urgent message of giving in the right way to the public.

Based on a qualitative study undertaken by Helping Hand among rehabilitated drug addicts, the organisation contends that donations should rather be made to reliable institutions that focus on supporting the poor. The organisation wants to urgently appeal to the public not to give money to beggars.

“When members of the public give money to beggars on the street they do so under the impression that the money would be used for necessities such as food and clothing. Few people, however, realise that damage is being done by giving money to beggars because it is usually used for drug abuse,” Lizelle Joubert, project organiser at Helping Hand said.

This huge project goes hand in hand with the launch of the documentary Bedwelmd at the Atterbury Theatre in Pretoria on 21 April. The documentary features interviews with rehabilitated drug addicts and their loved ones and it brings this tragedy right into the viewer’s living room. The documentary is aimed at making people aware of the dangers of giving money without thinking to beggars.

Solidarity Helping Hand’s new documentary, Bedwelmd, exposes the horrific world of drug addiction and the havoc addiction wreaks. The documentary features conversations with rehabilitated drug addicts and their loved ones, which bring this tragedy right into the viewer’s living room. The documentary is aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of giving money without thinking to beggars.

Helping Hand conducted a study on the habits of beggars in Pretoria. The study indicates that the majority of addicts want help to stop their addiction but that they need specialised help.

Based on the study Helping Hand is of the opinion that donations to reputable organisations are of greater value to beggars and addicts than giving money to beggars at traffic lights. Reputable organisations are able to make a lasting difference.

For more information about this project, visit or speak to Lizelle Joubert on 012 644 4390 or send an email to [email protected]

Solidarity Helping Hand is keeping children from falling behind

The value of Solidarity Helping Hand’s Kosblikkie (lunchbox) project was highlighted again following a study done on children who received less food over the festive season than they receive from the Kosblikkie programme during a school day. Not only did these infants not grow, but in fact they lost weight drastically. The Kosblikkie programme is aimed at providing needy infants with wholesome food during school time.

In December 2015, Helping Hand took the measurements of infants taking part in the Kosblikkie project. The measurements of the same infants were again taken in January to see how much the children had grown in order to determine whether they had received adequate food during this period. The nursery schools were closed during December and the children consequently did not receive food.

“In one of the worst cases a three-year-old boy lost 5% of his body mass during the December holidays,” said Margolé Riekert, project organiser at Helping Hand. “5% loss in body mass is a lot for a child of 3, but fortunately we spotted it during the investigation and on the feeding programme he had regained 4,6% of his mass by the end of March.

According to the study, most of the infants lost body mass and only 7% showed normal growth. Almost 93% of the infants showed abnormal weight loss. An average loss of 2% or 300 g was noted after the holiday period. Thanks to thorough nourishing by the Kosblikkie project the average mass increased by 4,3%.

According to Adel Rens, a dietician, optimal nutrition helps children not only to grow physically but also to develop cognitively. “Without optimal nutrition, children could experience a life-long handicap, particularly in academic performance. The period the infants find themselves in is the most important time for optimal development – physical, emotional, social and especially cognitive. The value of a programme such as Helping Hand to supply food for children in these important formative years therefore cannot be overemphasised,” said Rens.


“Because children are at home, they usually eat slightly more and then gain weight because they are less active. Unfortunately, this is not the case at all nurseries in the country and some children suffer from hunger because of poverty. This is precisely why the Kosblikkie project is cardinally important to the children of our country. From previous studies we know that for 3 out of 10 infants this is the only meal they will be getting for the day.”

To ensure identification of malnutrition and undernutrition at an early stage, Helping Hand will henceforth supply every nursery school forming part of the Kosblikkie project with an MUAC measuring tape and a growth chart to pick up underfed children at an early stage. The MUAC measuring tape is distributed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and gives the weight and height for boys and girls between the ages of 2 and 5 years.

Because children are growing constantly and their bodies produce bones, teeth and muscles as well as blood, they need more nutrient-rich food. A healthy and well-fed child has enough energy to react to and learn from stimuli from his or her environment.

According to Dr Danie Brink, chief executive director of Helping Hand, the organisation firmly believes that through education an end can be made to poverty. For this reason, the Kosblikkie project was initiated to ensure that needy infants will get the necessary nutrition to develop successfully and to be able to learn. The project supplies food to more than 4 500 infants on a daily basis.

The project is monitored continuously to make sure that children’s needs are met optimally. The public are encouraged to support the project. SMS the word “bord” to 38969 to donate R10 and make a contribution towards a bowl of nourishing food for a small child.

For more information on the Kosblikkie project, please contact Margolé Riekert, project organiser: Solidarity Helping Hand, at 012 644 4390.

Sharper ears countrywide for our elderly

After the success of the hearing aid project launched by Solidarity Helping Hand in 2015, it was decided to present the project again but this time on a larger scale. The organisation invites impoverished elderly people with a hearing impairment to apply for free treatment.

Last year, forty elderly persons from Pretoria were able to hear the voices of their loved ones for the first time in years. The elderly persons were all hard of hearing and needed to be fitted with hearing-aids but they could not afford it and they did not have a medical aid. Helping Hand, together with Yentel Vorster from Kind 2 Hearing, donated the hearing aids to them and also performed the fittings free of charge.

According to Helping Hand project organiser René du Preez, Helping Hands holds the elderly dear and the Grandma and Grandpa Project, through various initiatives,  focuses on supporting, spoiling and honouring people older than 60. “At the same time, Helping Hand also tries to educate communities to take care for their elderly again so that everyone takes responsibility for the elderly people in their lives,” Du Preez said.

Testing will be done again this year but this time the project will be taken countrywide and 100 devices will be made available. However, we ask that the elderly persons should arrange their own transport to the testing venues as transport will not be provided. Centres where testing will take place are the following:

Western-Cape: Strand, Plattekloof, Cape Gate, Stellenbosch, Tyger Valley
Free State:  Bloemfontein
Limpopo: Tzaneen
Gauteng: Pretoria
KZN: Seadoone and Scottburgh
Mpumalanga: Nelspruit

Please apply by contacting René du Preez on 012 644 4390. She will assist you to complete an application form and make an appointment. You may also send an e-mail to [email protected].

340 000 times thank you for the Tzaneen community’s involvement

The Solidarity Helping Hand branch in Tzaneen wishes to express its heartfelt thanks to the community for their involvement over the past year. Thanks to their open hands and hearts, Helping Hand was able to plough back R340 237 into the community.

According to the branch chairperson, Riekie Smit, they are overwhelmed by the community’s support. “We have had first-hand experience of people not hesitating to join forces and support others. This support, as well as the support of head office and the passionate, dedicated women on our committee, enabled us to plough back R340 237 into the community through various projects,” Smit said.

“The main focus of our branch is the empowerment of children and our study fund because we believe that upliftment is the key to alleviating, preventing and breaking free from poverty. Together we can really make a difference. You have made it possible for us to realise our motto: Alleviating, Preventing and Breaking Free from poverty.”

Over the past year, the branch has launched a long list of projects, including the Schoolbag Project that donates school bags to needy grade ones, as well as toddler care and care for elderly persons, study funds, the Primary School Hostel Project and the Matric Dance Project. Other projects such as job creation and providing food and clothing to the needy are also undertaken continuously.

If you want to get involved with an organisation that makes a real difference in your community, please contact Riekie Smit at 082 929 8781. You may also visit to find out more about other innovative projects of Helping Hand, or to improve the lives of vulnerable people in Tzaneen.