Friday, September 18, 2009

The Beth Uriel Family –Bringing Back Smiles

When it comes to creation of employment opportunities, welfare of local communities and enhanced public services, the role of social enterprises can’t be ruled out. Beth Uriel, the “House of Light” can be considered one such social enterprise in South Africa that has been successful in giving hope to several teenage boys of Cape Town. Home to disadvantaged young men, Beth Uriel has been committed to the cause of fighting poverty, effects of AIDS on youth as well as the lack of education. It is like a large family currently headed by Lindsay Henley who is an American social worker.

Beth Uriel, started in 1987, was the vision of Hudson McComb and Angela La Grange who wanted to work towards the upliftment of disadvantaged children in Cape Town. An old fire station became home for children who were picked out of troubled homes. The family hasn’t grown beyond 26 members in order to keep the personal environment of the house intact.

It is notable that Beth Uriel has helped young men with secondary as well as tertiary level education opportunities. Members have formed the Me’Kasi team that makes products in the Me’Kasi lab at the Beth Uriel house. These products include t-shirts, hoodies, ear-rings, key chains, cigar boxes, coffee table books and funky buttons. When someone buys a Me’Kasi product, the profit is used for supporting the family and the projects they are involved into. End of the year gifts from supporters and monthly donations has helped the organization plan for a better future. Volunteers at local and international level are also helping Beth Uriel make a difference to the lives of many such young disadvantaged boys.

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