Towards the end of March, as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa started to rise, Thandanani began distributing emergency food vouchers to some of the families it supports. These vouchers were restricted to the purchase of specific items only. This was aimed at ensuring that families have a basic supply of food to provide at least one meal a day to each member of the household for an extended period and the means to follow basic sanitizing protocols. Using some of our existing funds, Thandanani distributed vouchers to 125 of the most vulnerable families on our database just before the lockdown on 28 March.
Since then, with the generous support of some of our existing donors and contributions from members of the public, we have been able to purchase emergency food vouchers for all the families on our database. What’s more, the funds secured will allow us to give each of these families’ vouchers for a further two months (May & June).
To enable us to distribute these vouchers Thandanani registered as an Essential Service and put out a call on social media asking members of the public to donate 100 masks for use by our staff and fieldworkers. Within 5 days we had received over 300 masks! This again demonstrates the incredible generosity of our fellow South Africans.
With our masks and sanitizers at hand, we distributed food vouchers to 439 families in April. While distributing these vouchers we also conducted a Rapid Assessment of their circumstances in the light of the COVID-19 lockdown. The aim being, to identify the nature and extent of the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the children, families and communities we work with and to identify other vulnerable families in need of support. Depending on what emerges from our rapid assessment, we may put in place some new activities based on the needs identified.
In the interim, Thandanani continues to conduct regular home visits to monitor and support the material, physical, emotional and educational well-being of the children and families on our database. What we are not able to do right now is facilitate any of our group-based activities, such as our Self-help Groups, our Life-skill Groups, or Early Childhood Development Groups. But we will get these up and running as soon as the COVID-19 restrictions around group gatherings are lifted.
None of this would have been possible without the support and so we would like to express our sincere appreciation to all those who have contributed to our work and our COVID-19 response to date. The masks and additional funding we received will ensure that the children and families we support will not go hungry and that their critical needs will be met in the weeks and months ahead. So again, a huge THANK YOU for your incredible generosity & support!