Children queue for food at a school feeding scheme during a nationwide lockdown aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Blue Downs township near Cape Town. Picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters
Children queue for food at a school feeding scheme during a nationwide lockdown aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Blue Downs township near Cape Town. Picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

Orphanages, child-care services report shortage of food, funds and volunteers

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Jun 30, 2020

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Cape Town - Orphanages and child care services have reported a shortage of food, a lack of volunteers and financial setbacks because of the adjustments and challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Siyaphambili Orphan Village founder and managing director Ndileka Xameni said there was no food relief coming into the centre despite appeals to various relief organisations.

“The numbers of children and community members in need of food are increasing,” said Xameni.

Siyaphambili Orphan Village - siyaphambili in isiXhosa means moving on - is an NPO based in Langa.

It facilitates outreach programmes for teenage mothers, grandmothers raising their grandchildren, child-headed homes, an after-school programme, a daytime preschool and counselling services.

Xameni said many programmes had been placed on hold because of the pandemic.

Johanna Strauss, fund-raising and marketing manager at the Durbanville Children’s Home, said it was experiencing financial difficulties.

The home cares for as many as 144 vulnerable children between the ages of 2 and 18.

“We cannot host fund-raising events. Due to the pandemic some corporate and individuals had to cancel their contributions. We have a lot of additional expenditure due to the extra measures put in place to ensure the safety of the staff and children.

“Our goods donation is also less, due to the restriction of movement. Volunteers cannot enter our site and we don’t have the extra help. Staff are fearful and need more emotional support,” said Strauss.

At Projekt Ubuntu Community, an early childhood development (ECD) centre, director Candi Horgan said the pandemic had forced the centre to look at alternatives after its international volunteer programme was closed in March.

“Most ECDs prior to Covid-19 were struggling with poor facilities, poor hygiene, lack of skilled staff and resources. But these centres are essential. Perhaps Covid-19 presents an opportunity to improve health and hygiene by creating more awareness around this,” said Horgan.

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Cape Argus

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