After having to stop all its programmes due to the national lockdown, a Woodstock-based non-profit had to find new ways to support the township communities it works in.
Ikamva Labantu, had to close all of its 21 seniors centres, suspend its home-based services, close its pre-school in Khayelitsha and close its 28 after-school centres, which provided food and care to thousands.
Aware of the impact this would have on those relying on its services, the organisation made contingency plans to support them.
According to general manager Ishrene Davids, within the first month of lockdown, Ikamva provided food parcels to 1 200 senior citizens, 7 094 preschool children and their families, 1 100 school children and their families, 844 childcare workers and their families and an additional 1 500 vulnerable families.
“During Covid-19, Ikamva Labantu has remained committed to our basic ethos, which has always been to build people to build themselves. They are doing the work, and we step back. We are small hands among many hands to work as catalyst to empower people to empower their local communities, she said.
“Therefore, within a matter of weeks, we had support from 130 volunteers, mainly within the metro but also across the country, to establish their own community feeding sites.”
They worked with a food distributor that sourced the food for the parcels and checked it was packed according to the Covid-19 regulations. They also distributed sandwiches from the Ladles of Love’s soup kitchen and worked with community leaders to raise R6000 a month to support 130 community feeding sites.
Ikamva Labantu (“Future of t he People”) was founded in the early 1960s by Helen Lieberman, together with fellow social activists. In 1992 it was launched as a not-for-profit organisation that now works in early childhood development, disability care, foster homes, shelters, elderly care, economic empowerment, food security and youth development.
The organisation has more than 1 100 seniors at its centres in Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Langa, Gugulethu, Fish Hoek, New Crossroads, Lower Crossroads, Dunoon, Philippi, Kalkfontein, Delft and Wesbank, and more than 1 600 children attending its after-school clubs in New Crossroads, Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Wesbank, Delft and Gugulethu. It also supports 74 vulnerable households in Khayelitsha and Gugulethu.
There are feeding sites across the city as well as some in Johannesburg, Cradock and Ashton.