Last Update: 25 May 2020
Download our Covid-19 Response Update as pdf here.
For over two months, South Africa’s society has been in lockdown. As from June, lockdown level 3 will allow the partial reopening of the economy as well as the return of Grade 3 and Grade 12 learners back to school. Infection rates are rising especially in a few identified hotspots. Walmer Township, in the Nelson Mandela Bay is one of such hotspots and awaits further direction from government regarding restrictions.
The lockdown flattened the curve and enabled government to increase the capacity of the medical health care system. Yet, it has devastating effects on the society. Stats show that the cases of domestic and gender-based violence have increased by 500%, 25% of the population are without any source of income and without access to food. State interventions such as the increased social grant system have been introduced but not yet successfully implemented, e.g. only 10 unemployment grants out of 3mill applications have been paid out.
Masifunde’s response to the crisis is four-fold:
Awareness and prevention
Families in-need support in Walmer Township
AWARENESS AND PREVENTION
Already before schools were closed, Masifunde started to raise awareness within the community and via social-media to counteract fake news and to help to prevent unreasonable fears and panic. Learners were briefed on facts and preventative measures. A handout was created and letters to parents were distributed. Currently, Masifunde raises awareness in its weekly tv-show “quaranTV” as well as in the bi-weekly activity newspaper “quaranTIMES”
Masifunde joined the nationwide 3-million-in-3-weeks (www.3m3w.co.za) campaign with organisations such as DG Murray Trust, National Youth Development Agency and harambee. The campaign aims at sharing facts and raising awareness around Corona.
Masifunde also joined the People’s Coalition (www.c19peoplescoalition.org.za) to assist mobilise and unify the sector in its response to the global crisis.
With lockdown level 4, masifunde’s core team returned to the office on rotational basis, with a new corona specific addendum to the HR policy (policy available on request). Vehicles and the office received protective infrastructure upgrade, visible in the following video clip: https://youtu.be/Gn8BMZ9bNr0
To avoid an economic crisis Masifunde’s team members, it was decided that Masifunde will continue to pay every single employee as if they had worked as per contractually agreed-upon hours – for as long as economically responsible.
Our primary objective is to reach-out to Masifunde’s children and youth with the content we would usually deliver during our lessons. Beyond that we try to reach as many learners as possible with positively stimulating content, since there are many of them in challenging domestic situations without any positive stimulation and little or no resources to keep themselves entertained.
quaranTV is our self-produced TV show which brings content from our core programmes to social media and to local TV station Bay TV. Learners can view it with a normal TV aerial in the region or nationwide via DSTV satellite. The show’s content is activating and motivates viewers to participate, move and be creative. The episodes feature Drama, Music, Visual Arts, Literacy, Cooking, Health and Fitness, Corona Awareness and prevention of domestic and gender based violence. quaranTV is aired: Daily, Monday to Friday, at 17h30 for 30min. on Mpuma Kapa, Channel 260 (fka. Bay TV).
All shows are available on Masifunde’s youTube channel: www.youtube.com/masifunde
quaranTimes is our bi-weekly newspaper which brings activating and relevant content to all age groups. Each sheet of the newspaper (4 pages) is packed with life skills and academic content for one specific age group and works independently on its own: Pre-School, Primary- and High School and Post-School. The newspaper gets developed by Masifunde’s programme team, who are currently not able to reach their learners with lessons and group session.
Masifunde’s academic team provides copies of study guides and worksheets to especially those learners in crucial grades, such as Grade 7 and Grade 12. All High School learners are part of a facebook group in which they can receive help, information is shared and helpful resources are made available. For the younger age groups, Masifunde provides art material
Our objective is to assist our beneficiaries, their families and as many in-need families as possible through the corona crisis. We assist through an early warning system on a case-by-case basis as per individually identified need. Our assistance includes:
psycho-social support for domestic challenges as a result of the physical lockdown of families in very limited spaces,
family support for those families directly affected by COVID19, e.g. by delivering food-parcels, masks and information material,
social assistance in form of food-parcels or financial assistance for families,
Our process of assistance is based on an early warning system: Our programme team is the first point of contact to all beneficiaries. They remain in touch with the learners from their respective programmes on a weekly basis. Once a specific need has been identified the team member communicates it to the responsible senior social worker.
Masifunde offers crisis relief to families in need. This support programme can be financial assistance, food vouchers or food-parcels.
Masifunde currently supports 250 families with food-parcels or food vouchers to the value of in average R 800 per month.
Parcels contain: Groceries, vegetables, face masks, kids’ activity packs, art material.
Beyond the 250, we try to regularly bring a fair amount of food parcels to our partner schools in Walmer Township. So far we’ve distributed 500 food parcels through John Masiza, Walmer Primary and Walmer High School in Walmer Township.
CITY-WIDE SUPPORT THROUGH PROJECT UNITY
Masifunde has joined forces with United Through Sport and Masinyusane to optimise each other’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Nelson Mandela Bay. United Through Sport works with over 80 primary schools in the metropole; Masinyusane has a decade long relationship with every township high school.
We reach out to the most remote primary and high schools in the city which receive the least attention from the local non-profit sector. Schools identify the 5 – 10 % most needy learners & families, and we provide such families with food parcels to the value of +/- R 300.
Together, we have provided 4.000 food parcels to 73 schools reaching approx. 24.000 people.
In partnership with Red Band Barista Academy, we serve free cappuccinos to frontline workers in Port Elizabeth’s hospitals and communities. We sell the cappuccinos online and forward them for free to doctors, nurses, NGO workers, soup kitchens and more. This also allows us to keep our myMito cafeteria going and to pay our hospitality team: https://forms.gle/cxe22c4ie7rCADtT6