Durban businessman digs deep to help needy affected by coronavirus lockdown
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Durban - A DURBAN businessman is among the many South Africans who have been donating food and other items to those in need during the lockdown.
Ashok Sewnarain, chief executive and founder of IBV International Vaults, said his family had been involved with helping the disadvantaged for many years. His daughter Yajna distributed 1000 food parcels at the Kenville informal settlement at the weekend.
When he heard about the 2000 homeless people at municipal shelters that required assistance, he wanted to help. “I was able to respond quickly because I already had a team of people who were able to do the logistics. They are a well-oiled machine with about 10 years’ experience from doing various charitable initiatives such as the IBV Children’s VIP Day where about 3000 orphans and children in need were pampered for the day with a range of fun activities and entertainment,” he said.
With the dire need for help for the disadvantaged, Sewnarain said he did everything in his power to assist.
“When we make a commitment, we underwrite it ourselves,” he said.
Sewnarain was also working with other organisations who were helping the destitute in the city, one of them being Siphilangomusa Community Development. Nomvula Shale, an HIV and Aids activist and the organisation’s founder, said on day two of the lockdown, they needed maize meal for porridge. Shale said Sewnarain brought them 300kg of maize meal and 250kg of sugar.
She said Sewnarain also helped them with storage space, for free, at his Pavilion Hotel in North Beach, for the food they received.
Shale said the people who received the meals were grateful.
Her organisation had started feeding about 12 people. Now the figure had risen to about 2400.
“There have been great changes to the people we feed. Some have decided to go home, others have stopped stealing and some have stopped eating from the bin because they know there is the food we provide.”
During the lockdown, they entered into a partnership with the eThekwini Municipality to help feed the poor.
The organisation relied on help from the community and people like Sewnarain who helped with items they required.