The most vulnerable South Africans, often living in impoverished townships where social distancing is all but impossible and health services are scarce, are struggling as the COVID-19 lockdown and economic impact of the coronavirus crisis hinders their ability to provide for their families and feed their children. It is believed that, right now, thousands of people throughout South Africa are close to starving.
Distressing images of desperate and hunger-stricken people waiting in queues and clamoring for food parcels only to be turned away hours later due to shortages are deeply upsetting. In order to bring food on the table, many South African workers have had no choice but to return to work, leading to a surge of new Covid cases.
Meanwhile, the government’s promises to deliver food to the neediest in many areas of South Africa, which for weeks has implemented one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, have failed to materialize. Civil society organizations have stepped up to address this unprecedented health and economic crisis in one of the most unequal countries in the world.
“What do you say to your crying children?”
FXB South Africa has, throughout the lockdown, delivered nutritious food parcels to its beneficiaries making sure they don’t go hungry and are able to overcome these extraordinary times. However, as many more of the mothers or guardians or our children beneficiaries have lost their jobs or become unable to support their families doing odd jobs, we’re reminded on a daily basis that many more are going to bed on an empty stomach and that for others, hunger will become a daily struggle in the weeks and months to come.
“What do you say to your crying children because they’re hungry, while knowing there’s no money to feed them?”, one mother told us.
As South Africa records the 18th highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world – and accounting for around 1/3 of all cases in Africa – the Minister of Basic Education promised to reinstate the National Schools Nutrition Program to feed up to 9 million pupils in June. Many parents relied on this announcement, comforted by the idea that their children would get at least one hot meal a day – their only meal, in most cases. And while though schools reopened for several grades earlier this month, this promise never materialized.
To address this unprecedented situation, FXB South Africa, which has been operating after-school programs for vulnerable children in slums around Johannesburg and Witbank since the 1990s, has pledged its support to schools we are affiliated to in order to help feed the children back at school.
Should you be able to help us in that task, all donations would be most gratefully received and directly used for that single purpose. To get involved in our fight against Covid-19 in South Africa and its global impact on vulnerable populations: click here.