Dear Friends of Golden Sunbeams
|The number of people who have been infected with the corona virus in South Africa remains low compared with other countries. But the fear that the virus will spread more strongly in the next few weeks is huge, especially in the townships.|
South Africa has been in lockdown for more than five weeks and we long to return to normal life. But after the latest speech of President Cyril Ramaphosa, it is becoming apparent that this will not happen soon. Nevertheless, since 1 May 2020, the Cape is no longer at Level 5 (total curfew) but at Level 4, with the easing of several small restrictions: we may continue to leave our homes only for shopping; exercise such as jogging, walking or cycling is now permitted within a 5km radius of our home between 06h00 and 09h00 daily. All other outdoor activities are forbidden.
For this reason, our current construction work in the Asanda Village township is suspended until further notice.
Our construction site at the Great Beginnings Pre-school kindergarten in Asanda Village is quiet. After the break-in which we reported in our last newsletter, the wall was built but the construction of the playground has had to be postponed indefinitely.
Most shops, restaurants and bars, swimming pools, gyms and all beaches remain closed. At Level 4, several take-away fast-food restaurants are now able to re-open. There is still a ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco. Only people in essential services may work. Health care, elderly care facilities, security services and the supply of food are systemically relevant.
However, the implementation thereof in the townships is difficult for a variety of reasons: 8 – 10 people often live there in 10-square metre small dwellings, without running water and toilets. Most people in the townships work without a permanent contract and have been without an income since the first day of lockdown, so have been unable to purchase food, electricity, ventilators and sanitisers.
The townships have the highest rate of tuberculosis and HIV/Aids infections worldwide. One could imagine what would happen if the virus were to spread here. The hunger is so great at the moment that there is no room to worry about the virus and a possible infection.
Due to the growing hunger, the government sent food parcels to several townships. Unfortunately, these have not yet reached the townships in which we are operative: Asanda Village, Lwandle, Macassar, Nomzamo, Raithby, Rusthof, Sir Lowry’s Pass and Zola.
Thus we are launching actions to help with supplying food. Our partner organisation, Masikhule (www.masikhule.org) brings food parcels or food vouchers to the kindergartens and distributes them to the most affected children and their families.
In addition, we are committed to our workers in the townships and are also supporting them and their families with food.
Doctor proudly shows us his purchases for his employees. Their gratitude touched our hearts.
As we are not permitted to even drive in the townships due to the curfew, we are transferring money to the account of our construction manager. “Doctor” as everyone calls him, buys food for our workers and their families.
Our school principals have also not received their salaries for more than 5 weeks, due to parents being unable to pay the school fees. A large part of the running costs have naturally to be added on. Therefore, we currently support our principals and their staff by means of donations. In this way, we hope to secure the continued existence of our kindergartens.
Several of our kindergartens support their respective communities with soup kitchens. In all respects the poverty in the townships is extremely high. Due to the corona crisis, there are very, very long queues waiting for the food to be distributed.
Zelna, the principal of the Kingdom Kids Edu-Care Centre in Sir Lowry’s Pass, cooks home-grown vegetables for her kindergarten children during school hours. With her daughter, she also runs a soup kitchen on the kindergarten site for the poorest people. Since the lockdown began, there has been a huge rush of people.
Recycling and creativity are very important here: instead of plates or bowls, they use empty plastic bottles cut in half.
All these measures to ensure the kindergartens’ existence, are an absolute priority for us. They are only possible due to the huge amount of support we have received over the past few weeks.
We would like to thank the Shalima Foundation and its founder, Stefanie Radmacher, for her generous donation. A big “thank you” goes to all our sponsors, friends and acquaintances who are supporting us greatly with donations during this crisis.
Our heartfelt thanks once again to our esteemed partner organisation, Masikhule (www.masikhule.org), to all our kindergarten principals and teachers who distribute the food packages or food vouchers in their communities and carry out hygiene training on-site.
In order to be able to take further measures to avoid hunger and poverty in the townships, we would be happy to receive donations or pledges of money.
Our donations account is:
Golden Sunbeams e.V.
Standard Bank of South Africa
Account number: 1011 2371 777
Swift code: SBZAZAJJ
Thank you, best wishes and please remain healthy!
Britta & Bernd