Providing More than a Meal at Service Dining Rooms

South Africa is home to approximately 200,000 street people (Rule-Groenewald, 2015), with over 7,000 street people residing in Cape Town alone (Bernardo, 2015). Different factors lead people to the streets, including addiction, unemployment, and mental ill-health. Street people often face violence from other street people, mistreatment by law enforcement, or poor health resulting from lack of nutrition or medication and limited access to health services (Moyo et al., 2015). Many street people rely on non-government organizations (NGOs) not only to provide necessities, such as food and clothing, but also for developmental services, such as vocational skills trainings. Additionally, they view many NGOs as safe places for expressing themselves to one another and the wider community.

Service Dining Rooms (SDR) is a soup kitchen located in Cape Town that, in addition to serving meals for street people, recently started leading developmental services to provide additional opportunities for street people. Although SDR continually implements new programme initiatives, an opportunity to build stronger community within the space remained. Thus, SDR wished to develop additional programmes, implement interior upgrades, document the  personal stories of regular guests, and address challenges that their guests’ face as street community members. This project aimed to work with SDR to meet these goals through establishing art and music programs, collecting personal stories, enlivening the interior space with created artwork and documented personal stories, and addressing difficulties guests experience on the streets through social mapping. Through the implementation of these improvements, this project aimed to create an atmosphere in SDR that is welcoming and reflective of the individuals it serves.


Learn More

Preliminary background research completed by the Service Dining Rooms team can be found here.

Information about key partners and players involved in this project is located here.

Objectives, methods, and additional considerations for this project are described here.

Scenes detailing several of the SDR team’s experiences are detailed here.

Descriptions of the SDR team’s accomplishments can be found here.

How-to-guides for project initiatives and additional forms are linked here.

References for all outside sources can be found here.