Beauty More, known as a community builder in Alexandra has been involved With Thusong Youth Center (TYC) from 1985 till she passed away in 2019. The centre offers activities ranging from feeding schemes for school kids, prioritizing education, providing space for classes such as math and arts and culture and the distribution of food parcels in the community.
Since the start of February, Khuthaza Foundation and Her Forum have been involved in a joint food garden project at the centre. The two came together to provide recycling education as well as to establish a food garden that would provide fresh vegetables to the local students. The garden would also act as an educational tool to teach the kids how to grow and harvest fresh produce so that they could introduce mini-gardens at home. Step 1 of the project was completed but step 2 came to an abrupt halt due to the news of the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Monday, March 23rd the president of South Africa declared a National lock-down. The outbreak disrupted supply chain and trade and thereby restricting access to food. This meant that all the learners at TYC would no longer have access to food through the food scheme and no food parcels would be distributed to the community members.
The most crucial question with which we were seized was: What is to be done? How can we as the two Organizations assist the learners and their families during this crisis?
We felt that it was our duty to call for the continued provision and delivery of food so we started the 25 Families Food Drive. The food drive collection ran between the 6th April – 10th April and to be honest everyone came to the party with haist. The food items in each parcel can be found on the poster on our website.
To minimize the chance of infection we had a team of 5 individuals equipped with sanitizer, gloves and masks, as well as all necessary documentation – and buy-in from the local police – to move around.
We had no idea what the situation was going to be like. When we got to the supermarket to buy food for the parcels we noticed that people had no regard for social distancing, some street vendors were still in full swing and people flooded stores to do their Easter Weekend shopping. We bought the vegetables from the street vendors because we felt that during this hard time we wanted to support local businesses that have been affected.
We made our way to pack the food in a clean and secluded area where we could commence our work. The different families lived in different parts of Alexander, this made delivery tricky because we were going door to door and the streets were flooded with people. What made it worse was that the locals would ask why we were only giving food parcels to selected families. Some understood when we tried to explain but others still couldn’t understand. To avoid things going pear shaped, we had to devise a plan where we had to make it seem as if we were delivering groceries that had been bought earlier.
Working in such volatile situations you have to think on your feet. You also get to see the unfair nature of life and even now, we were trying to help but we couldn’t help everyone and that left us feeling some type of way.
On our next blog post Bianca Wannenburg and Onida Peter Co-Founders of Khuthaza Foundation and Her Forum will share their takeaways from the day.