The COVID-19 pandemic is causing chaos all over the world and has seen people use different hand-washing techniques, retreat indoors and distance themselves from others in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.
What happens to those who don’t have water readily available to wash their hands, who don’t have the online resources to learn, who can’t social distance and who can’t stay at home? This is a very real predicament in South Africa, where poverty and unemployment are prevalent.
As we wrap up Mandela Month we have a look at three non-governmental organisations (NGO) who are getting involved and living Madiba’s legacy by helping those in need during this crisis. These local NGOs have set up Covid-19-specific campaigns to help bring relief to the communities and individuals who need it most.
Kagiso Trust is one of South Africa’s leading development agencies working towards a prosperous, peaceful, equitable and just society. Education is one of their core pillars and year after year they commit to supporting Grade 12 learners. During the stage 5 lockdown period, the agency partnered with the Limpopo Provincial Department of Education to provide learner support, through live broadcast lessons on Capricorn FM radio. These radio lessons have been extended and learners can also tune into Tubatse FM and Sekhukhune FM to engage with the Kagiso Radio Teachers.
As part of their ongoing support for development in Limpopo, the agency has made provision for personal protective equipment for learners and teachers, enabling them to attend classes while adhering to and practicing strict health and safety protocols. Through its strategic partnership with the Limpopo Department of Education, the agency has been developing comprehensive and tailored programmes to address the challenges schools face in Limpopo.
Gift of Givers South Africa
The Gift of the Givers Foundation is the largest disaster response NGO of African origin on the African continent. On the 23rd of July the organisation drove more than 100km to install Jojo Tanks in South Africa’s high-lying areas which were stranded without a water source for days. A community of Cradock was one of the beneficiaries, and as soon as they put up the tankers, residents appeared on site to get their buckets and containers filled. Gift of the Givers were able to provide the community with 34 000 litres of water in just one day.
In support of frontline workers and those who work in the emergency services, the organisation visited the Limpopo Emergency Medical Services and the Department of Health to deliver much needed protective equipment and other medical disposables. A variety of safety wear, face shields sponsored by Ford South Africa, and high energy supplements, were distributed to 2000 rescue staff members in 5 districts namely: Capricorn, Waterberg, Sekhukhune, Vhembe and Mopani.
The Imbumba Foundation is a non-profit organisation founded by innovative social entrepreneur, Richard Mabaso in 2010. The Foundation has partnered with Dischem Pharmacies to collect 10 Million pads by the middle of August to keep a girl child in school. The #MillionComforts campaign has collected just over 5,2 million packets of sanitary towels and is still requesting the public to help attain the goal. Their motivation for this campaign is that sanitary care helps restore dignity, creates equal opportunity, and keeps girls in school. As part of the Foundation’s #Caring4Girls initiative, it has also provided sanitary pads and menstrual hygiene education to an additional 67 000 girls across South Africa during July to commemorate Mandela month.
The Foundation has also enabled 27 000 Grade 12’s across the country with bursary applications, NSFAS funding support and career guidance. Furthermore, the Foundation will work with the Thuli Madonsela Foundation to provide 67 000 gigs of data for the class of 2020 to allow them to access all study material to reduce the impact that COVID-19 has had on education and more so underprivileged students.
The one lesson to take from these NGO’s is that collaboration is key. Change can never be implemented effectively in isolation. The organisations have internalized the socio-economic issues of South Africa and illustrated that the socio-economic issues of the country are not a government problem but a societal problem. As Mandela month comes to an end may we can take his spirit and use it as inspiration for the challenges that lie ahead. “Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” – Mattie Stepanek
Article by Brand SA