Since its inception, City Story set out to bring about and foster a culture of inclusive urban renewal in Durban through strategic collaboration across all spheres of life. This mission would require a sacrifice of thousands of residents in Durban, collaborating to bring about change. To “Connect, Collaborate and Change” is the framework to which we focus every initiative we either start or promote.
Collaboration has been the most effective form of deriving change over the long-term. The change we long to see in our beautiful city cannot be achieved by one person or organization. Socio-economic change cannot be realized on its own in a city as diverse as ours. It is only through key, trust-filled partnerships scattered across our city that would form a web of expertise and care to the most vulnerable and allow a focus of energy on these key initiatives.
What does partnership look like?
Just recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst for change amongst existing partnerships that have existed strengthened over many years. The Denis Hurley Centre, alongside We Are Durban, the Ethekwini Municipality, and many others, have been in a collaborative relationship for many years working on strategies and methods to help alleviate the plight of homeless people in Durban. As the COVID-19 pandemic threatened these vulnerable lives, quick action was taken to ensure these vulnerable lives were kept safe and were provided the necessary care they needed. Food, blankets, bedding, activities to alleviate boredom, and special care for mothers and children was made available through the strong partnerships and networks these organizations had.
Since these partnerships had existed for many years up to this point, a strong sense of trust enabled quick action and an ordered approach that prioritized what was needed and ensured the structures were put in place to receive and care for homeless persons. Additionally, it’s been long desired that strategic plans to combat drug addiction amongst homeless persons would be put in place. Thanks to these partnerships, important medication to help homeless persons suffering from drug addiction was able to be administered, alongside appropriate medical care to monitor these vulnerable lives.
What does the future look like?
We’re positive that if Durban had more partnerships like these amongst organizations, we would effectively attain our goal of seeing a unified, safe, prosperous, and healthy city that serves and loves everybody. What partnerships like these serve towards is changing the overall narrative of our city. Instead of a city that doesn’t care, we start to be known as the city that cares a lot! This urban renewal extends beyond those who can afford a decent life but is inclusive to the point of uplifting those stuck in chronic poverty and giving them dignity.
What is City Story doing now?
The COVID-19 pandemic has catalysed specific projects within the City Story network. Our Faith at Work page is a collaborative partnership platform that provides resources to business leaders and entrepreneurs around our city to encourage and build capacity in them during a very difficult time in our socio-economic reality. The platform hosts trusted voices that seek first and foremost to love and care for the businesspeople of our city. Alongside our Faith at Work page, is a new exciting initiative coming out of our Rise Up Teachers’ event hosted towards the end of 2019. The immense encouragement this event sowed into the hearts and lives of the teachers of our city got those teachers and education professionals in our network thinking how they could create a platform to equip, encourage and inspire the teachers of our City.
It’s initiatives and partnerships like these that breed a sense of excitement for the future. The real circumstances of life right now can remove our energy, joy, and faith in the future. But we’ve learned that turning our gaze toward the encouraging work being done through partnerships has realigned our perspective towards attaining what seems impossible.
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