ABC ponchos keeping Hout Bay dry

The ABC for Life team has been hitting the streets during rainy weather to hand out waterproof ponchos to the public.

The cold, wet weather prompted a Hout Bay non-profit organisation to make hundreds of waterproof ponchos, which they have been handing out to the public on rainy days

Gailyn Scarpa, the project coordinator at ABC for Life, said one of their trustees came up with the idea.

“Our trustee who lives in Hout Bay wanted to give back to our community and also to let people be aware of ABC for Life and the work we are doing and have done for the last 15 years,” Ms Scarpa said.

“Arno“, a homeless man who stands at the Victoria Road traffic lights every day, said his poncho kept him dry during the day and protected his belongings at night.

“I have a blanket where I sleep. So at night, I sleep under the blanket but use my rain jacket (poncho) to cover my things so that it doesn’t get wet.

“It might be a piece of plastic to keep us dry, as simple as that, but, to us on the streets, it’s a lifeline and a chance to carry on. We are very happy that somebody came out to help us.”

Based at Sentinel Primary School, ABC for Life provides bridging classes and support to primary school pupils from poor communities.

“Without organisations like ABC, many of the country’s young people will continue to fall through the cracks and be unable to become active economic members of society,” Ms Scarpa said.

The organisation works in two disadvantaged schools in Hout Bay and at Constantia Primary School, teaching more than 550 pupils.

“We always incorporate fun interactive games or brain breaks. ABC also mentors and assists teachers with lesson plans and assessments and suggests teaching methods. Since Covid restrictions were lifted, ABC was able to reinstate and welcome local volunteers as well as foreign volunteers,” Ms Scarpa said.

She added that, as always, donations such as school stationery, clothing, books or general materials and resources received by ABC for Life were handed out within the Hout Bay community to those in need.

Ms Scarpa said the ponchos were a way to promote the organisation while keeping people dry.

“So please keep a look out for us and honk at us, as we will continue to order more and hand out more because we believe every good action creates another.”

The organisation plans to hand out more ponchos on rainy days and then switch to peak caps during summer.

To find out more or get involved with ABC for Life’s poncho initiative, visit or find them on Instagram @abc4lifehoutbay and Facebook.

The ABC for Life ponchos are helping to keep the homeless dry when it rains.
ABC for Life project coordinator Gailyn Scarpa pulls over to help another person on the street.