Our COVID-19 ResponseCOVID -19 and the crisis needs for individual children, families and communities
COVID -19 and the crisis needs for individual children, families and communities
It cannot be argued that the outbreak of COVID- 19 has deepened poverty and the widespread inequality. It is a fact that lockdown has affected all of us differently.
However, some people particularly in informal settlements and townships, seem to be the worst affected, be it socially, emotionally and economically. They are forced to choose between dying from hunger or COVID-19. Their basic needs and living arrangements complicates their situation. They can no longer afford to live from hand to mouth because their movement is now restricted, and cannot sell or do anything to generate money to sustain their families. The adults’ frustrations are worsened by hungry children who feels cramped in small shack spaces. We have been inundated with telephone calls or Facebook messages of people (with some wanting to be anonymous) reporting cases such as: “I know of a neighbor whose children are crying non-stop throughout the night because they are hungry”. “There is a family from Congo whose saloon is now closed due to COVID -19 and have no source of income. The mother is pregnant in that house and is forced to take folic tablets on an empty stomach.”
How long will people remain in their houses while hungry? Some people are already choosing to be outside to search for food while risking their health in the meantime. Food is a major need and is a priority to many people and families at the moment.
Secondly, the introduction of online education by the Department of Basic Education seems to be a far-fetched dream for many children in poor families and communities. One needs to have a smart phone and data to access class lessons online. Where will they get the gadgets when their parents cannot afford to put food on the table? Some children with phones used to hang outside municipality libraries to access Wi-Fi and now due to COVID-19 restrictions, they cannot and are however expected to be learning online.
There seems to be many competing demands and limited resources at this point in time.
Kids Haven Benoni is responding to the needs of our beneficiaries by focusing on our mandate which is to protect and care for children. This is what we do – always. The children living in residential care are safe, well fed, well cared for and doing some school work under supervision. Their physical needs are met and our care workers, social workers and therapists are talking and counselling and reassuring them through this challenging time.
Kids Haven also has regular beneficiaries who are part of our community-focused programmes. This includes our preschool children, our family strengthening and support beneficiaries and our past children and youth who are living in the community. Our street community is currently being helped through the State-run shelter at the Benoni Town Hall and we are not required to supplement their food at this time.
The community team of six is travelling in pairs around the communities, going into homes and meeting family members. Our mandate is to protect and care therefore we enter homes to check on the well-being of the children and the whole family beyond only handing out a food parcel. This takes a little longer but connects us to the families and their specific circumstances.
Prior to Lockdown, Kids Haven hosted the Ekurhuleni Welfare Forum every month. This collective of 45 small community-based Organizations offers early childhood programmes and afterschool care programmes in the community. They are deeply affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Kids Haven is in constant discussion with Forum members and is including them in the distribution of food parcels and food vouchers. These partnerships are founded on years of support and trust. They are an extension of the care and protection that Kids Haven can offer to families we know so that even more families are reached through our collaboration. Each of the Forum members knows their community well and is able to provide the same support that Kids Haven does, with the help of resources that we are sharing.
Please get involved
Kids Haven and our partners are the hands and feet to extend your care to families in our community. Please support our work through donations of food items, toiletries, and cash donations. The teams are keeping registers of every family who receives help. There is no duplication of service and every food parcel and cash donation is accounted for.
You can help by dropping off food or toiletry items at the Centre at 38 Cranbourne Avenue, Benoni, 1501 or the Donation Depot at 300 Main Road, Bryanston, 2191. You can shop online at any of the retailers and arrange for a food or toiletry delivery to either of these addresses. Mark the parcel for the attention of Sam Mokgopha who is the head of the community programmes. Buy an electronic voucher online and send it to Sam’s cell phone number 073 265 4135. He is able to transfer electronic vouchers into store gift cards to distribute or forwards the voucher onto a beneficiary. You may like to make a direct deposit to Kids Haven Nedbank 198765 account number 1948 063 824. Please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can thank you and share information with you of how you are helping. ALL of these donations qualify for a section 18 a tax receipt. We email these to you straight away.
Click on Donate Money to find many different ways to give or click on Donate Goods to provide items we need. Kids Haven can arrange to collect these donations – please call 011 706 7959 or email email@example.com
You can get involved by volunteering, donating money or second hand goods.
If you think your company could help make a difference please contact us.