Since the beginning of the lockdown, Ikamva Labantu has been supporting 18 000 children and senior citizens within their existing community programmes. The organisation has well-established systems and an extensive footprint across Cape Town’s township neighbourhoods, which now, with the enforced lockdown, has enabled Ikamva Labantu to increase its reach to support another 72 000 vulnerable people through preschools and neighbourhood feeding groups.
Ikamva Labantu has been working in the Cape Town township neighbourhoods for 55 years. In addition to existing community programmes, Ikamva Labantu now supports a large number of growing neighbourhood feeding groups as part of its COVID-19 emergency relief initiative. The feeding groups have all been started by strong initiators and leaders in the township communities of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Eastern and Northern Cape.
Ikamva Labantu is delighted to join hands with these community members who are helping thousands of people through neighbourhood feeding sites, started since the outbreak of COVID-19. Community groups have been given the ability to take care of their food support, through Ikamva Labantu’s funding provision and well-established community-based operations.
“The last few weeks we have gained learnings from supporting our participants and their families, and now we have rapidly started to assist the broader community to save as many people as we can from starvation and the intense suffering we foresee,” says Helen Lieberman, Founder of Ikamva Labantu.
Community-led solutions during COVID-19 lockdown
Throughout South Africa, both formal and informal townships have structure and leadership with each street and area having a councillor and a street committee. Those living in these confined areas know each other and in most cases, have full knowledge of their neighbours’ situation. They have churches, forums, spaza shops, NGOs, schools etc. Most of them are now closed, but 90 per cent of South Africans have cell phones and can quickly be reached. The communities in which Ikamva Labantu operates take responsibility for their predicaments, find solutions, make plans and mobilise.
To this end, the township communities themselves have stepped in, and more than 100 volunteers in the Cape Town areas have joined with Ikamva Labantu to cook and distribute food to those who are without nourishment. Similar neighbourhood feeding sites have been established in the Eastern and Northern Cape and Johannesburg, Ikamva Labantu strongly commits to the belief that communities and their leaders should be part of their solutions. The organisation has a consultative and enabling role in assisting, standing behind the creation and the handling of the solution. This is the mission of Ikamva Labantu and its programmes and the approach during the COVID-19 crisis.
“With this structure already in place, a strategic well thought through, organised plan could save many thousands of people. Let’s see each other as a part of the same community and understand that we should be respectful in acknowledging each other. To be free from hunger and malnutrition is a fundamental human right, that relates to human dignity and to be respected as a human being”, says Helen Lieberman.
For further information, please contact:
Ishrene Davids, General Manager
Phone: 082 578 7180