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About Homelessness

Homeless man uses book reviews to transform his life (news roundup)

Life transformation is one of the most exciting things to witness, and here at Portland Rescue Mission, it is something we are extremely passionate about. It is why our New Life Ministries exist along with our Hope and Pathway Ministries.

We also love a good story—which is why we want to share one of our favorites that we recently discovered. (Read another about Donald “Boone” Gould, who began turning his life around with his musical skills).

For many years, Philani Dladla was homeless because of drugs. After deciding he was done with making reckless choices, the “Pavement Bookworm”, as he’s known to many in South Africa, turned to books to change his life. Instead of panhandling, Philani started selling books to make money—but only after he has personally read and reviewed them.

Watch the video below to find out more about Philani’s story as he describes some of the books in his collection as well as why he started to use books as a way to get off the streets:

(Here is part two where he continues to talk about both his books and his story).

Since these videos were posted, Philani’s story has evolved even further.

Not only did he go viral after being discovered on the streets in South Africa, he also started an organization that is geared toward helping children discover the joy of reading books as well.

Here is a news segment where he explains why he decided to start it:

Philani has even done a TEDx talk in Johannesburg about how books saved his life:

At Portland Rescue Mission, we exist to give hope and restore life to men, women and children suffering from homelessness and addiction. We serve over 330,000 meals each year along with 80,000 safe nights of shelter across the Mission. Our men’s New Life Ministry is located at The Harbor while our New Life Ministry for women and children is located at Shepherd’s Door. Both facilities are in northeast Portland. Our Burnside Shelter is home to our Connect Ministry, along with many of the other services we provide. (See the complete schedule of what’s available at our Guest Care Center). Bathrooms are available 24 hours a day along with meals that are offered 365 days a year.

Portland Rescue Mission is supported completely by our generous and compassionate donors. Our organization has been around for over 66 years.

Help us give hope and restore life, making more “Stories of Hope” possible. Give a special gift today. Thank you!