A group of concerned citizens banded together and created City-Zen – a community project aimed at creating cleaner, greener and safer cities.
The non-profit organisation was started by Dan Hunt and Najen Naidoo, who met through their mutual passion for community work and wanting to be part of the solution to South Africa’s social challenges.
Hunt believes in leading by example, he began his mammoth task of a greener future by cleaning the Rivonia section of the Sandspruit River in Sandton. It took 10 years to cut back growth and bush along the river banks to create the pristine environment which remains today. All that hard work was not in vain, the river is now thriving with fish, ducks, walking and bike trails, and has been secured with cameras.
During the same time, Naidoo – also a giant in his community – was actively working to tackle crime and create jobs for unemployed and homeless people. Soon after meeting they joined forces to form City-Zen.
Through this project they want to build an active community of engaged citizens who are looking to reduce crime through the creation of employment, while uplifting their own neighbourhoods. It is a project by the community for the community.
Research indicates that neighbourhoods struggling with high crime often become safer when residents work together to tackle the problem.
City-Zen provides jobs for the unemployed and under privileged by helping them make a meaningful contribution to the community. They also help the downtrodden to develop basic skills and trust in the neighbourhood while earning a dignified living.
The general clean up areas currently cover well over 10 square kilometres and includes Rivonia and parts of Gallo Manor, Morningside and Bryanston. They need to raise awareness and find donations from residents and companies willing to step in and make a difference.
“Our aim is to make a meaningful difference in the city where residents are willing to donate to help employ the less fortunate who are doing an honest day of work that the donors can see every day of their lives,” they said.