Over the past week, I have been thinking long about how best I can show support to those who will be most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic: doctors, nurses, grocery workers, poor/working-class people and more vulnerable groups like the elderly or the immunocompromised. I reached out to Gift of the Givers, certain they would have something up their sleeves. And they do… so do a few others.
So – if, like me, you are looking for ways to do your bit to help our country through this. Here are a few ways. For anyone who feels this may all be an overreaction, considering South Africa’s vast working-class population, existing inequalities, fragile healthcare system and high numbers of HIV and TB patients – as well as the lessons we have learned from how the pandemic has played out elsewhere, it is far better to overreact than not at all.
Donate to the Gift of the Givers Back-a-Buddy
Gift of the Givers, a disaster relief organization in South Africa, has come to aid once again in the form of a crowdfunding campaign to “help our doctors fight coronavirus”. They are aiming to raise R2million to fundraise for areas of support that have been identified as important by over 11 000 health care professionals in South Africa. Including manual and automated ventilation equipment, intubation equipment, safety equipment for medical staff, medical supplies.
Donate to the CoronaCare Project
According to their newly established website, CoronaCare is a platform to connect concerned South Africans with organizations on the ground supporting those in need during the Covid-19 pandemic. “UBUNTU IN ACTION!” They are collecting monetary donations via their website and crowdfunding page and physical donations at a number of drop off points. At this point in time, they are focusing on Mfuleni and Alexandra but intend to spread to the rest of South Africa.
Their Ideal donations include but are not limited to:
– hand sanitizers
– basic groceries
– Vitamin C and other immune-boosting products
– Non-perishable goods like pilchards, tinned veg, long-life milk etc.
– Staples like pap, bread and rice
– Toilet Paper
Buy Sanitizer from Fresh Hands
Fresh Hands sells pharma grade hand sanitizer online with 10% of every purchase intended to go towards sanitizer donations to high-risk community organisations. They are currently working with Rape Crisis, Baphumelele Orphanage, and Tembisa Ratanga and are also in the process of setting up their crowdfunding campaign: Flatten Corona.
Sign up to a Community Action Network – Cape Town
The Cape Town Together Community Action networks are acting as a rapid community response to COVID-19. The broader collective is made up of folks from public health but also many other sectors. The goal of Cape Town Together is to “sprout a number of local neighborhood initiatives. This local initiative or CAN (Community Action Network) will be organised at the neighbourhood level but also will be connected to the broader network” in order to share resources and create initiatives to support the community through this crisis.
Small businesses are taking great strain as consumers pull back during the Covid-19 pandemic because most don’t have the capacity to withstand the lack of daily transactions. “In a country in which over half its population live in poverty, we can’t allow businesses to fold and for workers to lose their livelihoods.” As such Twyg recently started a petition to call on the government to subsidize the wages of workers in small businesses.
Equally, people in the entertainment industry like musicians are suffering, with an inability to make any money from gigs and tours. Now, more than ever, is the time to support your local artists through streaming their music, buying their merch and supporting them on platforms like Bandcamp and Patreon.
Social Distance / Self Isolate
This video on Kurzgesagt offers the most well-packaged and accessible information I have yet seen on the virus and what we should do. It is clear that practicing strict hygiene and socially distancing/isolating is one of the best ways to “flatten the curve” of the virus to prevent it from spreading so fast that many more unnecessary deaths occur and health care systems collapse. Unfortunately, the system in which we live is designed in such a way that those most vulnerable are often those who cannot take such measures. People who are poor and working-class do not have the privilege to work from home or practice social distancing. If we have the privilege to #staythefuckhome we should. Please, if you employ a domestic worker or gardener, give them paid leave. If you are are a manager, please empower your employees to work from home if you can.
Of course, it is not always possible and sometimes we may need to head out in order to get groceries (don’t stockpile!) or assist with community response initiatives. But as for socializing, events, parties, going out if you don’t HAVE to, etc, consider it canceled.