Corona crisis: Our sponsors sent food vouchers unbureaucratically and quickly to help South African children and their families
The government measures in South Africa to prevent the spread of Covid-19 are some of the strictest globally.
Since 26th of March 2020, the borders are shut, all public areas including schools are closed, and all citizens are forbidden to leave their homes. Only necessary trips, such as for medical emergencies and purchasing groceries, are allowed. These guidelines are firmly enforced by the police and the military.
The lockdown is creating extreme social and economic problems in the already densely populated informal settlements. Social distancing in overcrowded houses and shacks is often not possible.
We are in regular contact with residents and the primary school staff of the local impoverished township, Sir Lowry’s Pass Village. Many people depend on their daily income to buy food and other daily necessities for their families.
Some of our supporters have sent additional money to help their sponsor children during this unprecedented and acute crisis. So far, due to the lockdown, it has been a logistical problem to get these funds to the children.
However, the biggest supermarket group in South Africa called Shoprite, which has a branch within Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, is offering online vouchers. These digital vouchers can be purchased via a website and forwarded directly to a mobile phone number. This is even more helpful in South Africa, as many citizens do not have a bank account.
We asked Zoleka, one of our assistant teachers to help us verify the mobile phone numbers of the sponsor children’s parents. It is an established South African habit to swap numbers within families or friends or to frequently change providers. Tracing the parents is time consuming and difficult. We only forward vouchers after we have confirmed the recipient is closely related to our sponsor children.
Last week Ruth was finally able to send the first digital food vouchers to the relevant families. They were overwhelmed with joy and extremely grateful for the unexpected support from Germany.
Many thanks to our sponsors who have made this possible. Due to your help, a few families in the township have been relieved of the stress of providing food for their children.
(Author: Anja Dalton)