SweepSouth launches fund to help domestic workers during lockdown
DURBAN - SweepSouth is launching a fund to help provide domestic workers with food and other basic essentials during the national lockdown which will see the service, and those SweepStars who use its platform for earnings opportunities, unable to operate until at least 17 April.
SweepSouth co-founder and Chief Executive, Aisha Pandor, said that at least R4 million a month will be needed to ensure that SweepStars and their families are able to eat and at least meet day-to-day living costs during a lockdown.
"Like everyone else, domestic workers in South Africa rely on their income to put food on the table for them and their dependants. But of course, the cost of basic necessities such as electricity and other utility expenses all add up. Our research suggests that most domestic workers (over 70%) are single mothers, and that many (over 80 percent) are primary breadwinners. Our annual survey shows that domestic workers spend on average R1 100 on monthly groceries. If these workers aren't paid during the lockdown, they face worsening poverty and mounting debt. We simply cannot allow SweepStars and their children to be left to this fate," said Pandor.
SweepSouth has seeded the fund which aims to provide food and necessities to active SweepStars and their families and is also negotiating with corporate backers to contribute.
The launch of the fund has been aided by a R6 million contribution from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, which invested in SweepSouth in 2019.
The initial injection of funds will enable SweepStars to receive weekly financial support in the form of top-ups between R150 and R450 during the Covid-19 lockdown period.
"Our aim is to raise up to R12 million in order to contribute to SweepStars' living costs for a three-month period. Their financial difficulties will extend far beyond the 21-day lockdown, so it's important to mitigate this as much as possible. We're calling on all businesses and able individuals across South Africa to join us urgently in helping these domestic workers," said Pandor.
Pandor said that the platform is negotiating with retailers to secure bulk buying discounts on basic food staples to maximise the buying power of the funds they have available to them.
The SweepSouth platform is geared to allow customers to continue contributing to domestic workers during lockdown. The response has been positive, with over 40 percent of customers choosing to continue to provide support to SweepStars. So far, SweepSouth customers have contributed in excess of R100000.
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