Oct 13, 2020

COVID Update and How Projects are Adapting

Smart phone at home learning!
Smart phone at home learning!

The South African National Lockdown started on March 26, 2020 and continues to be in effect to date. While the nation started on a Level 5 lockdown which closed nonessential businesses and required people to stay home, it is now down to Level 1 where masks are required, but all other operational aspects of society are allowed to commence again. While we are seeing progress around infection rates on the decline, the long-term impact of coronavirus is only beginning to show itself.

Initially the impact came in the form of hunger, as many people were without an income due to work closure and thus had no money to purchase groceries. With schools closed, many children weren’t able to access their usual feeding schemes. The educational impact of this period is still to be seen, as a large portion of South African children, primarily from low-income neighborhoods, have not had any formal access to learning since March, and are just beginning school again.

The social, economic, and health challenges of this time have been many, but our CHOSA partners have been able to lead by example as champions for their communities during this time of need. Below are profiles of two of our partner projects and how they pivoted during this time.

CHOSA Highlights

A preschool pivoting to provide a community soup kitchen 

Our partner, Hlumelo Educare, realizing they had a kitchen used to feeding many mouths and a heart for their community, decided to take swift action and begin feeding their neighborhood. As schools had been the main source of food for many children before being forced to close during lockdown, they knew that households were struggling to put food on the table. So they began to cook three times a week, feeding over 200 people daily, many of whom were children. We are so proud of our community partners that remain committed to children and their communities even through a pandemic!

Transitioning to digital teaching via Whatsapp

When schools closed indefinitely in March 2020, educators were initially unsure of how they were going to salvage the school year. Many schools began transitioning to digital schooling via Zoom and other digital platforms, but for schools situated in the townships, the challenge of connectivity, and access to devices stopped this pivot from reaching the most marginalized children. Molo Mhlaba Schools found themselves in this position, wanting to support their children’s education while at home, but knowing they didn’t come from places with such infrastructure or technology. That’s when their director took an innovative approach and asked for the donation of smart phones. In their next food parcel and hygiene pack distribution, they included these phones, along with educational packets, and the digital shift via free messaging services was able to re-spark interactive learning between the students and their teachers! While most children have now returned to school, the Whatsapp education plan has allowed the children who are unable to return to stay on track with their peers. We love seeing our projects think outside the box to improve the lives of children.

Reopening and returning to safe and clean schools

We are so happy to share that our partner organizations have all returned to welcoming kids through their doors. Taking their time to open, and making use of CHOSA emergency relief grants to help prepare for re-opening, they have all had deep cleans, and purchased new materials to enhance the safety of the children as they return. It’s been so much fun to see the smiles on the faces of the children who are getting back to their school routines and getting to see their friends. Because of CHOSA’s support these schools were able to survive the lockdown strain on income and put in place systems to maintain health for the staff and children. Your support helped make this happen!

CHOSA Impact in Numbers

In total we were able to support 378 households in accessing much-needed food, sanitation and hygiene materials, and educational support throughout the entire lockdown period. We will continue to support the on-going needs that persist from this global crisis. We believe that our value in unrestricted funding has allowed us to be well-positioned to provide such flexible support during this time. Thank you for your commitment to helping us make this assistance possible!



Community soup kitchen in action
Community soup kitchen in action
Creative social distancing hula hoops
Creative social distancing hula hoops

Attachments:
Jun 15, 2020

CHOSA's Emergency Response to COVID-19

Masks purchased for children at our partner orgs
Masks purchased for children at our partner orgs

Coronavirus has radically transformed the landscape of CHOSA's work for the time being. With South Africa going into a strict lockdown enforcing people to stay home, work remotely, and close schools, most of our partner organisations were also forced to close their doors and re-think how they would be able to support the children who relied on their services.

With continuous consultation, and open lines of communication the CHOSA staff has worked with our partner organisations to see how best we can support them during this time, and the unanimous response was around helping to ensure the health and safety of the children while they are at home. Many households that these children are coming from have become food scarce due to parents loss of employment, and the schools and community projects these children usually attend are their main source for meals. Furthermore, many households were not equipt with appropriate hygeine materials to keep them safe and prepared for social distancing measures, with limited access to hand sanitiser and masks. Helping to take swift action to try to prevent further spread of the virus, and not propel marginalized communities into further poverty, CHOSA has run an emergency fund that assist with making sure families have access to food and sanitation materials, and to date CHOSA has provided support to over 328 families.

While lockdown restrictions are now beginning to lift and schools are reopenning CHOSA continues to educate our community partners on the continued importance of social distancing, hand washing and masks, while they prepared to begin welcoming children back to their projects in early July. CHOSA is aware that this has been an incredibly challenging time for our community partners, and the children they work with, and we have been so thankful for the generosity of our donors who have stepped up to help us make continuous commitments to provide emergency relief to mitigate the many challenges that COVID-19 has brought. Thank you for your support, and helping us making it possible to continue to support the children of South Africa during these trying times.

One of our partner organisations feeding neighbors
One of our partner organisations feeding neighbors
A family receiving a food voucher
A family receiving a food voucher
Feb 18, 2020

New Year, New Kids, and New Learning Opportunties

Principal caring for new children at school
Principal caring for new children at school

In South Africa we are celebrating the beginning of a new school year, which brings us new children, new teachers, and a few new projects!

 

As you know, CHOSA provides capacity building and small scale monthly grants to our community partner organisations that provide care, education, and support to children in need across Cape Town. While our partners are best suited to provide direct care and support to the children they work with, CHOSA works to support the management of these schools, children’s homes, and after school programmes to ensure their continued impact within their communities.

 

All of CHOSA’s partner organisations seem to be off to a great start to the year. With most of the preschools’ enrollment complete, they are now hitting the books and play time. One of our preschools, Blessings Educare Centre, has grown to having 112 children enrolled, along with our after school programme turned STEM girls school, Molo Mhlaba, which now has 115 girls attending between the ages of 3 and 9. Building has been completed at Ubuhle Babantwana where children now have a formal classroom structure to learn in, and walls to divide the classes so they can learn their numbers without waking up the baby class. QQ Community Creche, our partner preschool situated in an informal settlement area of Khayelitsha, has received two new volunteers to support the teaching staff in providing quality education to kids who reside in the area. This is great news, because the young ladies volunteering are working on upskilling themselves to gain experience in early childhood development while they take a gap year between high school and further education. And Abaphumeleli Home of Safety has officially graduated all of its children from crib sleeping so now all of the kids are at school during the day, making for an unusually quiet home for the caregivers to clean and prep for their afterschool arrivals again, everyone is growing up too fast!

 

We are very excited to welcome 2020 and all of the children whose lives are going to be impacted and improved by the work that our partner organisations do daily to provide a safe, healthy and nurturing environment for children to grow and thrive. We also look forward to our continued capacity building and grantmaking to support these projects continued success. Sending best wishes for your 2020 too from South Africa!

Children excited to be back at school
Children excited to be back at school
 
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