NPOs in Action, what can we do during Lockdown?

It’s day 18 of LockdownSA. The CoronaVirus (Covid -19 is still ravaging the world, albeit the numbers in South Africa are relatively low, whether that is due to limited testing, or pure blessed luck, we will only find out in time. Whatever the reason, it is a positive thing and hopefully, our fragile population will be spared from the wrath of Covid -19.

We have other problems in our country that pre-exist this pandemic i.e. poverty, hunger and access to clean water and nutritious food. These are real issues that impact about 70% of our people. This mostly affects the vulnerable and underprivileged children living in informal settlements scattered in and around our cities and towns. This begs the question, what can we do to make a difference during this lock-down?

Just because we are stuck indoors, that doesn’t mean we can’t achieve anything. Environmental based Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) are doing their best work at this time of crisis. Although we can’t be out in locations, with people stuck indoors and most factories shut, the earth is self-healing. The skies are less smoggy, rivers are cleaner and wildlife is thriving. When we come out of this thing, it will be our job to keep it that way. It will take a concerted effort, but with an education drive and assistance from the public, it is a possibility going forward. 

Registered NPOs have the advantage of being able to operate or interact with those who have special dispensation as essential service providers. Charities and organizations still need to deliver food parcels to those in need or who regularly rely on meals supplied at school or care centres. There are groups collecting cans and food at shopping centres which then get distributed daily. Khuthaza Foundation in collaboration with Her Forum is doing a food drive for the Thusong Youth Centre, collecting R500 donations that cover basic food that a small family could survive off for a few days.

The food drive was a success and the 25 food parcels were delivered to the families of kids who normally get fed at Thusong Youth Centre. Please look at our publication to get more information on how the delivery went.

While we are isolating in our homes, we can also take cognizance of the amount of single-use plastic we are amassing. This is the perfect time for making Ecobricks. Many YouTube videos teach ecobricking and we also have a 9-step guide on how to make ecobricks, it’s time we all got involved.  Combining single-use plastic from food wrappers to chip packets and used glad wrap and a 2 Litre cold drink bottle is one of the best things you could do to help improve conditions on this planet. Khuthaza Foundation has many collection points for ecobricks and you can find them on our website (ONLY after the lock-down ends). They will be used for future projects to build vegetable gardens in vulnerable places, where access to healthy fresh fruit and vegetables is often unlikely. To get people excited and motivated, Khuthaza Foundation is running an Ecobrick building competition.

The winner with the most number of good-quality ecobricks will win an awesome hamper and the one with the most creative ecobrick will also win a prize. For the newbies in the ecobrick industry, we hosted webinars on Facebook and Instagram teaching about ecobricking.

Although some of us may be in privileged positions whereby this lock-down won’t adversely affect our lives in the short term, we are still able to work from home, aren’t unemployed (yet) and still have the means to enjoy our limited lives, many cannot do this. Those who are artisans and service providers who rely on daily interactions with their customers and cannot be of service to them remotely. These people are suddenly cash strapped and have lost their source of income. There are government policies in place to deal with this, but not everyone can qualify for help. Also, many of you are skeptical to support these funds as you are wary of the likelihood of corruption and mismanagement. We, like many other organizations, are running campaigns to help specific small businesses out. 

Our initiative is to put a spotlight on those small businesses and so those who want to help but aren’t sure if their money is going directly to the receiver can support these businesses directly. If you do want to get involved, here are some businesses that are desperate for your support.

One of the best things we can do during this lockdown is to learn new things. Sharpening our skills and knowledge is going to be vital to our survival and our exit strategy for this pandemic. Plan ahead. There is going to be so much rebuilding to be done. We may need entirely new systems of governance and supply chain. Check out our projects <PROJECTS> and see what we are doing to advance to the rebuilding of our communities. 

The biggest impact this virus will have in the world is on the economy. Currency as we know it will change, we will become more dependent on financial stimuli than ever before in history. 

Finding charitable and renewable ways of surviving is paramount to our future.

We are all in one country (or another) on one planet, we are all in this together, and It’s time to start behaving more universally in the spirit of UBUNTU so that together we can live our best lives.

Stay at home, stay safe and stay involved.

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