A Family Affair
July 19, 2014
Beacons of Hope
August 19, 2014

The Good Night and God Bless Sleeping Bag Project (used as a temporary emergency measure) came about in June 2005 after seeing street children wrapped in thin blankets sleeping on concrete floors outside offices in Berkley Square.

The project evolved over a couple of years from black bin bags, to garden refuse bags to the now well known clear recycled plastic bags. Originally sponsored by the public, the project is now fully sponsored by the Rotary Club of Claremont. The sleeping bags are mainly distributed through night shelters and church groups to the homeless and shack dwellers.

To date somewhere around 80,000 have been made by volunteers as far afield as the UK, Germany, America, In South Africa the material has been sent to Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, De Aar, Robertson, Somerset West and all around the Cape Town area. A very popular project for the 67 Minutes for Nelson Mandela which keeps Jo Maxwell very busy.

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TNS Global – Claremont


Jo Maxwell
Jo Maxwell
Born and schooled in Cape Town.   In 1959 age 21 disappeared to the distant north and spent 4 years in London.  Married Stuart in Johannesburg in 1968 and produced two children, Caryn and Warwick. Moved to Pretoria in 1977.  Stuart died in 1985 and darling son died in 2000.  Now a grandmother (called JoJo) to two boys aged 2 and 5. ,  Started and successfully ran 3 businesses in Pretoria with absolutely no training.  Domain, an interior decorating shop.  Du und Du, a coffee shop/restaurant.  The Inner Eatery, another coffee/lunch shop.  Moved back to Cape Town in 1989.  In 1995 opened  Bishopsfield,  a four star guest house in Rondebosch.  Retired from incoming earning efforts in 2003 and began working in the disadvantaged communities.   In 2004 started the first Chapter in South Africa of the Red Hat Society of America.  Called ourselves the Cape Town Red Hat Renegades and changed their motto of Fun and Friendship after 50, to Fun and Friendship with a Purpose. Our first Purpose was to fund raise and feed 600 children in 10 crèche’s in the Browns Farm informal settlement a daily breakfast of ePap..  Now 900 children and 14 crèches.  Volunteer driver for Project Daphne for 20 years.   Invented the very successful Good Night and God Bless waterproof sleeping bag in 2005, sponsored by Claremont Rotary and still being made by hundreds of people and which has now been taken up in Wales, Scotland and England after a demonstration to the Royal College of Medical Practitioners in Swansea in 2011.   Won the Cape Times/Vodacom/Waterfront Woman of Worth in 2005 – rather a shock.  Introduced into Claremont Rotary by Chris du Plessis and inducted as a member in 2005.  In 2008 I became a Paul Harris Fellow. Involved in many projects – some Rotary, some personal and some under the CTRHR Chapter.  Did a World Cruise from Southampton through Panama Canal  in 1995.  East Coast through Suez to UK 1997.  Baltic’s in 1999.  West Coast to the UK 2010.  Compulsive letter writer to the press with more than 1500 letters published since 2000. Hobbies – still play a little bridge mainly for charities.  and a little beading,   I like to tell people that I do community work because it keeps me off the streets and out of mischief.  I have been called many things, impulsive, impatient, independent, incorrigible  but prefer being called a maverick.  

1 Comment

  1. Chris du Plessis says:

    A worthy project, indeed.