The working unemployed are getting it together….

Thursday, September 9, 2004 - 13:57

Men on the Side of the Road Project (MSR): Cape Town

Each day they gather, an estimated 18,000 males aged 15-60, at roughly 180 sites throughout South Africa. Always at the same major intersections come rain or shine, these are the men on the side of the road, waiting expectantly for contractors, homeowners anyone who cares to offer them a day's casual labour.

Driven by the need to survive, to feed their families, they'll tackle any job. Often-sweating long hours for a pittance, not knowing their rights. Launched in 1999, the Men on the Side of the Road (MSR) Project aims to build unity amongst this group of individual.

To act as a voice for the voiceless and provide them with the basics necessary to improve their chances in life. To help them build weatherproof shelters with ablution facilities that can act as mini labour exchanges. To provide education on their rights and help put a stop to inhuman exploitation. To work in alliance with unions, Human Rights Organisations, Government Departments and Funders, to help put them on the road to success.

And today, MSR is on its way to self-sustainability. It recently launched the "Tools Project," through which MSR will facilitate a national public marketing campaign calling for the donation of used and broken tools. The men on the side of the road, waiting for work, will fix the tools, then sell, rent and use the tools to start their own small businesses. The project will organize small business skills, technical skills and entrepreneurship skills for self-reliance.

MSR anticipates receiving 1 million donated tools. In one year, the project will generate R2,772,000: 1,162,000 of which will go to the financing of the project and R1,602,000 will go directly to the men.