Keri's Couch: A homeless man who makes a living off his craft

Keri's Couch: A homeless man who makes a living off his craft

The COVID-19 pandemic has rendered many people unemployed and some homeless as businesses have had to cut down on staff. Lionel was, unfortunately, a statistic and he joined Keri Miller to talk about his journey.

Lionel (Bag maker)

Over the holiday period, Keri was introduced by her friend, Dennis, to an incredible creative who makes beautiful hand-made art on bags he sews with an industrial sewing machine.

Impressed by his work, she bought a backpack which she now carries to work and uses as her laptop bag.

READ: Keri's Couch: A domestic violence surviour tells her story

Keri her bag from Lionel
Keri with her bag from Lionel - supplied
Keri with bags from Lionel

Lionel is a young man who is originally from Mpumalanga and moved to KwaZulu-Natal over a year ago. Unfortunately, he lost his job during the hard lockdown last year, subsequently losing his home.

With nowhere to go, he ended up on the streets of Durban and has taught himself how to sew. He has been using the kitchen of the homeless rehab centre (where he volunteers) to hand sew these beautiful backpacks.

Living on the street can't be easy. Having nowhere to bath, or get a good meal will take its toll on anyone. Lionel tells Keri that while some of them may be unemployed, others are employed but earn very little money, therefore living on the street. He also addresses the stigma that they are faced with, which is the belief that they are all criminals and drug addicts.

READ: Keri's Couch: Adoption process - where, how, and how much?

His dream is to get an industrial sewing machine and enough material and supplies to make this into a business so he can get a place to live. 

With his birthday coming up on the first of February,  he says that he would love a home-cooked chicken stew and a piece of cake.

Listen to the full interview below:

Contact Lionel through his Instagram.

READ: Keri's Couch: Getting to know the voice you wake up to at the weekend on ECR


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