The halt in economic activity caused by the covid-19 lockdown has hit hard most families who rely on informal forms of employment and those with underlying health conditions. Tshepiso Mabula ka Ndongeni visited one such community

The bold signs pasted on the windows of the house that serves as the Rorisang Men and Youth Development Services Centre are not difficult to notice.

“NO
FOOD PARCELLS!! HA GONA DIJO!!”.

One of the volunteers at the centre explains they had put the signs because everyday numbers of desperate community members walked into the centre to enquire if any government sponsored food parcels were available because they had nothing to eat. Scores of people turned up at the centre in the North West town of Klerksdorp to wait for food parcels.

The parcels were donated by the SA Catholics Bishops Conference with support from the United Nations Women.

Project manager, Mojabeng Mafohla says she is relieved because most of the recipients have underlying health conditions and have been unable to take their medication regularly because of the lack of food as a result of the lockdown.
This devastating reality is the story of many South African households. A recent report by the United Nations states that prior to the onset of this pandemic, more than 820 million people were already identified as chronically food insecure globally.

The halt in economic activity and the devastation caused by the pandemic itself has hit hard most families who rely on informal forms of employment such as temporary labour, domestic work and informal trading.
This is even more harder for households that have people who suffer from
conditions such as tuberculosis, HIV, diabetes and many other illnesses. The double edged sword of this current pandemic and the inability to have regular meals has meant that most people with other underlying comorbidities have had to sacrifice taking their medication regularly and thus defaulting and risking their lives even further.

Dimakatso Ngakane sitsin her family home in Sebokeng a day after
receiving a food parcel from the Helping Hands Group, Dimakatso says she is grateful to
have enjoyed a hot cup of tea which she has not had in a while.
Sebokeng resident Elizabeth Mofokeng is a beneficiary of the Helping Hands
Group. Elizabeth, who is a chronic TB patient, says she fears contracting Covid 19 but
has been more worried about the lack of food in her household.

Volunteers from the SA Catholic Bishops Conference Justice and Peace Commission and the Helping Hands Group
offload and distribute food parcels to be donated to families in Sebokeng.
Food parcels are loaded on to a truck which will deliver them to various households in the
Madidi community, north west of Pretoria. Many of the recipients of the parcels have family
members with underlying conditions.

Deliwe Nhlapho, a beneficiary from the Helping Hands Group, waits outside the
Sebokeng community development centre where the group operates. Deliwe says she is
pleased that the parcels, which included toiletry items, have finally arrived.
Bishop Victor Hlolo Phalana and other volunteers from the Klerksdorp Catholic diocese load
food parcels to distribute to the Rorisang Men and Youth
Development Services Centre.
Mpho Mokoena from Sebokeng Is a recipient of one of food parcels donated
by UN Women and the SA Catholic Bishops Conference to the Helping Hands Group.

This work was made possible with a grant from the Google News Initiative Journalism Emergency Relief Fund (JERF)

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