"Due to the divorce of my marriage of 20 years, I lost everything I owned. I was facing a new stage in my life. No place to life, no clothes to wear. What I was left with was my Honda Brio which was still on Wesbank finance. I had bills to pay and 4 kids to feed. I felt financially, physically and spiritually destroyed. I developed a terrible depression until I came to a point it was either giving up or facing my challenges and looking for something positive in my life. Giving up was not an option."
That's how Donations on Wheels came to life.
When Simbirisiyo from Zimbabwe first landed in South Africa 12 years ago, he was homeless and unemployed. It was a hard reality he had to face back then. He sometimes had to pinch himself to check if he was still alive and wanted to do better. He had two choices, either go up the ladder or fall down forever and die of depression. He managed to get off the streets but since then he never stopped being with the homeless
After Simbirisiyo lost everything again in 2019, he took a pen and paper and listed all what he wanted in order for his life to go forward. The first thing on the list were quality friends. He chose the homeless people as they had no connection to his previous life and as he used to be homeless himself when he first came to South Africa.
Second he needed to get back on his job as an Uber driver. As he still was not able to sit for more than 2 hours he had to exercise his knee to get better. The doctor prescribed him to go for long walks. But just walking around the neighborhood didn’t give him any joy and just didn’t make any sense to him. He linked his exercise to something meaningful. Again, the homeless.
He had R120 on him, slept in his car. But that wouldn’t keep him back from starting off by buying 3 loaves of bread, a pack of knickknacks with 50 small ones inside and a plastic roll. 26 servings came out of it. He drove to the homeless, 500m before he would take his clutch and box of bread and limb to them. They ate the dry bread together, he would tell them everything that was eating his heart. That was the start of his healing process. For his knee and his soul.
Thanks to the exercising he started to get better and better. At some point he started asking individuals if they wanted to donate food or even just leftovers. He would go pick the donation up and deliver it to the homeless. He would always park a bit further away and walk the last bit. He ended up walking 8 to 10 kilometers a day and got to the point of not needing the clutch anymore.
The more energy he regained, the more he wanted to help the homeless. A small team of volunteers finally made it possible to found Donations on Wheels in 2021.
This allows us to not only accept food offerings locally in Stellenbosch, but also donations from around the world to help us make a difference.