The Jabulani Feeding Scheme, in Parkwood Estate, Cape Town, sits in an official Zone of Poverty declared by the Department of Social Development. The centre is built on reclaimed land that used to be a dumpsite, so any structure erected must be removable. 

Previous container building projects have been reported and  while the shipping container office is no stranger to a building site, but here is an innovative way in which the poor have been helped by means of an entire container ‘village’.

Set in a fort-like fashion and stacked two-levels high, the containers form an enclosed courtyard haven within their boundaries with one, easy to monitor, small gate for entry and exit. The fortified metal walls of the containers are pivotal, as Parkwood Estate is heavily burdened by gang violence, and the metal containers create a barrier for the children inside and aid in getting them out of the potential crossfire of stray bullets.

Yasmine Abrahams, the founder of the feeding scheme, has made it her life’s mission to feed, protect and be a mother to the children of this community. Her centre provides for over 500 impoverished children every day. In her mission to keep the children safe, containers are essential, and much thought was put into the materials used and layout of the centre.  This was especially important during the COVID lockdown.  Many children were left without masks or ways to sanitise and protect themselves against the virus. However, ingenuity always overcomes obstacles and Jabulani is able to provide sanitising stations and masks to those who don’t have.

Containers essential in enabling Jabulani’s sustainable and secure environment

Over the past few years, Container Intermodal Trading (CIT), a top container brokerage company, has donated 40 high cube containers, and has played an essential role in enabling Jabulani to set up a sustainable and secure environment. Kashief Schroeder, the owner and co-founder of CIT, offers Jabulani cost price rates (for further container purchases) and gives his professional advice on their purchase on a pro bona basis.  With the additional containers from CIT, Jabulani was able to schedule all children for their meals in groups, while making allowance for the social distancing protocols – up to 500+ beneficiaries.

“Lack of access to basic human rights is wreaking havoc for the children of Parkwood Estate. With the help of CIT and the Jabulani Feeding Scheme, these recycled containers are being used to provide these children with a safe haven, food and access to basic education to ultimately break the cycle of poverty,” says Abrahams.

“Poverty can only be broken by education, which is why having a space of their own to provide safe afterschool care and assist children with their homework is absolutely essential to Jabulani’s mission. Jabulani is also planning on starting a home-schooling programme for the many children who don’t have birth certificates and cannot enrol in formal government schooling,” she adds.

Over and above their security role, the containers serve as storage for perishable food and equipment, kitchen facilities and as space for children to do their homework after school. The amazing resilience of the human spirit is evident in the effort that has gone into making the containers feel homely.

Want to help?

This facility cooks food and looks after marginalised children. The organisers will gratefully accept your offers of help, cooking equipment and fresh food. Mention that you read about it in TO BUILD.


This article was published in partnership with Media Xpose.

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