Hands of Honour

What Is It and When Was It Founded?
Hands of Honour is an NGO that was founded in Cape Town in 2010 by Paul Talliard. 

Where and What?
Based in Retreat, a low-income suburb on the eastern border of the Cape Flats, the organisation concerns itself with ‘upcycling people, spaces and objects’. Former gang members and addicts are given the opportunity to learn skills in carpentry, building, and landscaping, with the hope of them becoming integrated into the economic life of the city.

Impact on the Built Environment
As well as designing and making furniture from donated and waste materials, the team also upgrades buildings and spaces—community centres, creches, gardens—on request. Hands of Honour not only contributes to an improved built environment, but also deals directly with the issues of substance abuse, youth empowerment and job creation. Profits from their work are invested in derelict community spaces and buildings that have become havens for anti-social behavior. 

The programme has achieved great results in the short space of time that it’s been operating, helping to transform lives and upgrade neglected urban spaces. Official annual crime statistics reflect a reduction in crime in the areas in which Hands of Honour are active, and, to date, nine full and part-time jobs have been created, with eleven derelict sites having been transformed into safe and attractive public spaces. In addition, two other income generating projects have been established: Crosses4Change (burial crosses) and Hands of the Rainbow Colours (organic vegetable farming). The Hands of Honour upcycling programme has also been the recipient of eight local and international accolades.