What a feeling!

It was a wonderful 3rd edition of the Homestars’ Street Pop-Up Store! Judging by the number of entrance tickets we may conclude that between 550 and 600 invitees visited the circle – our ubuntu – for some free shopping. All of them were invited through the appropriate authorities, so that we can rest assured that the clothes, toys, shoes and purses have found their way to the right people. It was thanks to the help of 28 enthusiastic volunteers that we were able to provide an unforgettable shopping day for these people.

The preparation, the construction of the square, the lay-out of the store, the shopping itself and the deconstruction went incredibly well. This year we even had lots of help from a number of men from the homeless centre, who spontaneously offered their help when they heard of the 3rd edition. This was great, considering that, the first year, I really had to convince them to come shopping. But now that they have overcome the threshold, we were able to jointly build ‘their’ Street Pop-Up Store this year. Truly fantastic!

For me the entire preparation was a chain of miracles. Unexpected things, big and small, occurred against the background of the street store. As a result of this, everything proceeded fluently and energetically.

Monday morning I had an hour to spare and enjoy the newspaper in bed. A nice and long article in “Het Belang van Limburg” (the principal newspaper of our province) provided the icing on the cake for this 3rd edition. We are ready to make this event even bigger next year and probably branch out into the neighbouring city of Genk! There, 1 out of 3 people live in poverty. Hence, we still have ample work!

In Cape Town there is a lot of work being done behind the scenes. We are currently engaged in the preparations of the third phase of Homestars vzw; the last phase that will close the circle. Business plans have been written, people are helping us to find the means, investors are being attracted for both a training centre and a big farm where we will create lots of employment. Rough Diamond Tours is further developing thanks to a close collaboration with local travel agencies. The Craft Centre is growing as well and everyone is keeping pretty busy now that we are in the preparatory phase of merging into one big entity. It is just wonderful to experience how those past couple of years were necessary to get up to where we are now!

On Monday evening we participate on an evening market in Hasselt, where we ded primarily sell the nice and diverse cards that were made at the paper mill, one of our partners down south. The entire profit goes to educating, training and coaching the homeless and less fortunate who would like to get out of poverty but still need that little push-in-the-back.

I am going to make a short film in which I briefly share with you the most spectacular miracles I experienced over the last couple of weeks while preparing and during the Street Pop-Up Store.

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Have a nice day!

Much love,

Gemma