Responding to COVID-19: How Masicorp has supported the community of Masiphumelele
When the pandemic first hit South Africa in March this year, our biggest concern was how severely the vulnerable community of Masiphumelele would be affected. Although we cannot solve all these challenges on our own, we have focused our efforts on tackling those we have the capacity to try to ease. We have done this by supporting not only our direct beneficiaries but by supporting other organisations doing amazing work within the community.
- These are the challenges we have identified and focused on that have been heightened by this pandemic:
- Most of the community of Masiphumelele lives under the belt of poverty, which unfortunately means that not everyone has access to hygiene items like masks, soap and sanitizers in order to protect themselves against a pandemic like this one.
- We also foresaw the challenge of access to food as the country went into lockdown and many of the community members had to stay home without an income as businesses and companies closed down. Some residents lost their jobs and could no longer provide for their families, giving rise to poverty and hunger.
- When schools closed, Masicorp was forced to put a hold on the various educational programmes that we offer to this community. Many of the children were left with no way to continue learning. For the first time, our mission to provide education was compromised by the need to protect ourselves and our beneficiaries.
Masiphumelele has many other challenges which we have not listed above. You can read more on these issues HERE.
Over the past few months, we have supported many families in Masiphumelele with access to hygiene, food and learning. On this page, we continuously update all our supporters on our COVID-19 efforts and you can find them by simply scrolling down.
Please consider giving towards our COVID-19 efforts so we can continue the work we do in this community during this time.
Our main focus areas
OUR COVID-19 EFFORTS
This week we handed out more packs to our ECD families. This time the packs included a Pick n Pay voucher, worksheets and a Book Dash book. The packs also included Colour Me crayons. These crayons have 12 different colours to show the diversity in skin tones so that every child feels represented.
The Colour Me crayons are so special to us and will surely contribute to the positive way in which our learners view themselves and others. On receiving their crayons, the children were so excited – we hope it will make learning at home more fun for them, especially in these difficult days of lockdown.
We were happy to hear that some parents are slowly going back to work, meaning that they can once again be able to provide for their families. We hope that despite this, they will stay healthy and protected during this pandemic.
"Thanks to Masicorp, the hygiene packs were truly loved so much. And the masks as well - none of them had. The moment we gave them they put them on. I can surely say it was a successful day’’ – Doiline Masiri (Chasmay Educare Head Teacher)
Thank you to our friends at Rotary Club of Newlands, ROTARY CLUB of MELKBOS and District 9350 for the incredible donation of four wheelchairs for disabled Adults from the Masi community. As well as the wheelchairs, Masicorp was able to donate grocery vouchers, cloth masks and hygiene packs to these vulnerable individuals, many of whom live alone or are without a family support network.
Thanks must also go to Masiphumelele Creative Hub, Rosemary of The Chaeli Campaign and Emfuleni for assistance in identifying those community members in need. We have also now been able to connect these individuals with other local organisations, ensuring they continue to receive social work support, follow up visits or therapeutic sessions.
Due to the restrictions put in place because of COVID-19, the Masiphumelele Library remains closed, making it difficult for our Grade R parents to get the help they need to submit their 2021 Grade 1 school applications. We then opened up our new ICDL centre to assist 40 Grade R parents from both of our Educares to continue with their application process. All applications need to be done online so this was a huge help for the parents. We will continue to support our ECD families in any way we can during this pandemic, we are all in this together. Let’s Keep Learning!
Our English Hub team took to the streets of Masiphumelele on 25 June to hand out 1000 After School Treasure Box activity booklets created by The Learning Trust, the After School Programme Office, ASSITEJ South Africa, and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. This incredible initiative is a useful opportunity to reach some of the children from disadvantaged communities and encourage them to read and learn through creative and fun activities.
The children were thrilled to take home these activity booklets and couldn’t wait to get home and start with the activities. The English Hub staff also ran into some of their Learning Lab children from Ukhanyo Primary, who have been missing their teachers and school terribly.
We also distributed the booklets amongst three of our Primary School “Let’s Keep Learning” initiatives. If you’d like to support our ‘Let’s Keep Learning’ initiative, you can do so by clicking here https://www.masicorp.org/lets-keep-learning/.
Much like many other ECDs around the country, we are waiting to hear when our ECD centres will once again be able to open safely. Masicorp is holding weekly COVID-19 training sessions with the 17 informal crèche owners that take part in our Stay & Play programme. Each crèche owner has been given a COVID-19 preparation kit to get their schools ready for opening. The kits included a container, bleach, dishwashing liquid, cloths, sponges and tissues, as well as hygiene posters for their classrooms illustrating handwashing, wearing of masks and social distancing. Soon we will be running workshops with parents and carers in how to follow the COVID-19 hygiene protocols including how to use thermometers to monitor the temperature when learners are back in their care.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic.one of our most affected programmes has been our ICDL (International Computer Driving Licence) course, which was put on hold only a few weeks after our new ICDL centre on the grounds of Chasmay Campus was opened. This 6 month-long advanced computer course is internationally accredited and opens up opportunities for employment for the learners, which made it devastating when we had to halt all learning.
Our ICDL training team have recently taken the approach of online learning to make sure trainees are able to continue their modules during the lockdown. This innovative move to digital platforms is another way in which Masicorp is trying to continue to support our students by providing education despite these unique circumstances we are all facing.
Safe collections of ICDL textbooks with strict hygiene procedures have taken place and we have already started putting measures in place that will protect our staff and trainees when our training centre is allowed to re-open.
The Evangeline Life Skills course has been unable to run during the lockdown and the students have had to remain at home with no way to support themselves and their families. This 6month sewing course usually benefits close to 50 students each year (mostly unemployed women), who learn basic skills in English, Sewing and Computers. We handed out grocery vouchers to the students hoping that this will make a small difference during this difficult time. The students are excited to come back and continue learning when this is all over. Their determination is inspiring.
As we closely follow the news as to when our programmes can re-open, we launched our Lets Keep Learning campaign, so that we may reach our learners and students from our various programmes during lockdown and provide them with educational material and resources to keep learning at home.
· 300 children from our 2 ECD centres continue to receive worksheets and activities to do at home with their care packs.
· Four English..Please! handouts to 17 children from Fish Hoek Primary have taken place so far, which have included worksheets and treats. These packs are being regularly returned for marking.
· We have provided work via printed worksheets and worksheets via Whatsapp to 25 English..Please! learners at Simons Town Primary School – children are encouraged to return work in exchange for a treat.
· 27 Fish Hoek Primary learners from Grade R to Grade 7 are receiving weekly class work from their teachers through Masicorp.
· 12 Grade 12 Masi & Ocean View High learners received data for online schooling and study.
· 26 high schoolers from Fish Hoek High school received data to access schoolwork online until August.
· 15 ICDL (International Computer Drivers License) trainees received textbooks as well as training videos that were captured using Zoom recording. Students return assignments and revision tests via email. Assistance is provided via Zoom or whatsapp.
"Thank you for everything you have done for us, we didn't know how we gonna survive with this situation may almighty God bless you”’
This is what one of our ECD parents said when they received the food packs for this week. This week's distribution to our ECD families came with fun learning activities to keep the kids stimulated, a food pack from Rise Against Hunger, a tin of fish from Lucky Star which was kindly donated by the Oceana Foundation, a pack of Oreos from Mondelēz International. We also put a bar of Dettol soap so that ECD families are able to maintain their hygiene and stay protected from germs and the COVID-19 virus.
Thank you to everyone who supports us so we can continue to be there for our ECD learners and their families until this pandemic we are facing is over and we can have our learners back again.
To ensure that the children of our Masicorp staff are kept busy and engaged during this time, we are handing out fun, educational material to them every two weeks. We even include some origami instructions, so they can get creative and make things like hats and planes. We include a few items of stationery and will soon be adding a gorgeous Book Dash book to the packs as well.
We value our staff and their families and this is just another way for us to show our support and appreciation to them.
We are so proud of our ECD learners for following safety regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The learners are setting an example by washing their hands to protect themselves and others. Watch as the learners wash their hands at home while cheerfully singing songs. We are also proud and thankful to their parents who are guiding them through this process.
As well as providing cloth masks to all 300 of our ECD families, we have also provided masks and instructions on correct cloth mask handling to 27 children in our English…Please! programme at Fish Hoek Primary School
Thanks to the wonderful generosity of our friends and partners, we have been able to support many of our programme beneficiaries with grocery vouchers, hygiene items and other educational material during the lockdown. We have not forgotten about our wonderful teens who take part in Our teen girls Art Programme and High School Sewing Programme for boys and girls (in partnership with The Sewing Cafe Cape Town)
Recently we were able to gift 40 teens with grocery vouchers and soaps for their families – a welcome need during lockdown when many have lost their income.
We are missing them terribly and cannot wait to be able to see them at work in our programmes again, when we are allowed to open.
Well done to our partner and friend Yandiswa Mazwana from Masiphumelele Creative Hub who yesterday handed out food parcels to 14 creche owners who work with Masicorp in our Stay & Play programme. Our programme reaches many informal creches in the community, providing crèche workers with the skills to carry out educational activities for the children in their care. Each year nearly 300 children attend these sessions where they take part in art therapy, games, crafts, song and dance.
Masicorp was able to contribute 14 Pick n Pay vouchers to be added to the food parcels which were donated by Masiphumelele Creative Hub and Noordhoek and Fish Hoek CAN. These parcels will go a long way to support crèche owners who have lost their income during the lockdown. Thank you to all those who have helped the various organisations working in Masi to reach so many in need.
For many learners with limited access to data, using online learning platforms has been a challenge while schools are closed. Masicorp's aim has always been to provide opportunities through education for the people of Masiphumelele and we have endeavored to continue this support, making sure that children are able to continue learning during lockdown.
We are pleased to share that we have been able to assist 26 Fish Hoek High School learners between Grades 8-12 with data until August, so they may access their work online.
Thank you to the incredible staff of Fish Hoek High School who reached out to support these hardworking learners, ensuring no children are left behind.
The Masiphumelele Creative Hub has been doing incredible work during lockdown, feeding 850 children every day from 5 sites around Masiphumelele. Masicorp is proud to be able to support them in their efforts to ensure no child goes hungry. Their amazing team of volunteers from the Masi community have been working around the clock, waking up at dawn to prepare these large pots of nutritious food for children every day.
We recently donated 240 kiddies masks from The Sewing Cafe Cape Town to their feeding programme so that they could provide them to children so they could queue safely. We were also able to provide their team of volunteers vouchers as a thanks for all they are doing to help their community. Please consider supporting their feeding programme here>>>https://masicreativehub.org/.
Last week we handed out more packs to our English…Please! learners to help them carry on with their work at home. It’s so important that learning continues during the lockdown and we are happy that we have been able to reach these children who do not have access to online learning platforms.
These ‘’Let's Keep Learning’’ packs included a letter to the pupils from English... Please! Programme leader and Masicorp MD, Milli Firth, a fun activity and some worksheets focusing on reading with understanding – as well as a little treat of a pack of sweets. The parents have been so appreciative of these packs to keep their children busy. We are also so proud that they have supported their children’s continued learning at home.
‘’Thank you very much Masi Educare Principal and Teachers for everything you do for us and our children, l received our packs again today. Thank you Makwande apho nithathakhona’’
Another care package distribution to 300 ECD children took place yesterday at Masi Educare. We are so proud of our incredible team of teachers who have handled these distributions so safely, making sure that the correct social distancing and hygiene procedures are in place. We are happy to be able to assist these families who have been affected by loss of income during lockdown - the wonderful feedback we have received from the parents has made it all worthwhile.
Thanks to Rise Against Hunger , who this time also supplied us with nutritious Nutri-Go product pouches to add to our care packs, along with their wholesome dehydrated food packs. The care packs once again included Pick n Pay vouchers, soaps, kiddies sized masks from The Sewing Cafe Cape Town, as well as more worksheets and crayons. We also added the last of our books, kindly donated by Book Dash.
Thank you to all who have made these distributions possible, you have helped to ensure that these children are going to bed with full bellies, safe, healthy and educated.
- The incredible staff of our local False Bay Hospital that serves the Masi community are on the front line during this time of COVID-19 and need our support. Masicorp has donated R50 000 towards personal protective equipment for their staff.
- Yandiswa Mazwana, Masicorp programme leader and founder of Masi Creative Hub, has been a beacon of hope and an example to all as she leads a team of 24 youth and adult volunteers feeding up to 850 children every day in Masiphumelele. While educating the children on the importance of sanitising and social distancing when collecting their food, this amazing team wakes up at dawn every day cooking large pots of nutritious hot meals and making sure that the children of Masi are fed five days a week.
- Various Community Action Networks (CAN’s) around the province have been instrumental in getting food to the community. By mobilising neighbouring community support and donations of food and cash, these groups work with local community organisations on the ground to identify those in need. Masicorp has donated R50 000 towards the Noordhoek CAN, who have been working with Masi community members distributing 500 food packs/vouchers to the very needy.
- Living Hope has undertaken large-scale food parcel and voucher distributions, as well as being the identified health non-profit organization to screen for COVID-19 in the Masi community. Masicorp has so far assisted Living Hope with a donation of R50 000 towards their feeding efforts, as they undertake the enormous challenge of consolidating lists of beneficiaries, ensuring nobody is left behind. To date, their health workers have screened over 2500 people and nearly 7000 families have received a food parcel or voucher.
Thank you very much to all of you across the globe who have given so generously towards making sure our children do not go hungry. During this time when the need is so great, we commend all those individuals who have given of their time and resources to assist the community of Masiphumelele. We will continue to help as long as we can. We cannot do it without you!
Thank you to our wonderful friends and supporters who responded to our appeal for feeding assistance for our ECD families. Your incredible generosity and support has allowed us to distribute more care packs to our Masi Educare and Chasmay Educare families.
Once again, 300 packs were handed out yesterday, which included dehydrated food packs from Rise Against Hunger, a Book Dash book for each child, worksheets and crayons, a food voucher from Pick n Pay, a child-friendly COVID-19 information booklet, a bar of soap, and a washable cloth mask from our partners at The Sewing Cafe Cape Town (along with instructions on how to use it safely). Thank you once again to our friends at Book Dash who responded so quickly by sending us more books for our children, after the last books were so gratefully received by the children and their parents. They really have put a smile on our children’s faces.
The generosity shown by our neighbours, our friends across the globe, and the amazing supporters of the Dan & Friends Lockdown Live Aid Concert, will help us to continue doing these distributions for as long as we are able, and as long as the need is there during this crisis. We do not know what the future holds, or when our schools will once again open. Many families have lost their source of income and have been incredibly grateful for these care packages that have not only helped feed their families, but provided some enjoyment to the children who are missing their friends and teachers at school.
Masicorp will also continue supporting the efforts of other organisations and networks in the community who are providing feeding assistance to the needy and vulnerable. We applaud the efforts of everybody who has stepped up to make sure that people are not going hungry.
We are all #StrongerTogether.
Thank you to everybody who supported our feeding efforts this week. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to provide all our ECD families with food packs and vouchers as well as a book from Book Dash. We are so thankful we are able to give these precious gifts to the children so they can carry on reading during this worrying time.
Some feedback from parents which makes it all worthwhile:
“Thanks so much to the school! My Linamandla wants me to read her the story time and again. She is teaching me to read it like Miss Fortunate “
“ Thank you. Lethabos spirit is lifted.”
Masicorp will continue our relief efforts for as long as we are able to with the resources and funds we have available. Please continue to stay safe, look after yourselves, as well as those less fortunate. We are all #StrongerTogether.
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OUR MASICORP COVID-19 STATEMENTS
Thank you to all our donors who have given towards the COVID-19 campaign, helping us to distribute hygiene packs to the Masi community. Thanks to your generosity, 600 families received soaps and cleaning materials, as well as education and information sharing of how the virus is spread.
Going forward, as per the limitations placed on us by the national shutdown, we are not permitted to be distributing further items at this time and have therefore put a hold on our fundraising efforts.
We are however in constant communication with local government and essential service NPO's working in the community throughout the lockdown and will be ready to assist if or when we receive the go ahead to do so.
Please keep South Africa and Masiphumelele in your thoughts during this time.
As per the President's address last night, South Africa will be subject to a nationwide lockdown starting midnight on Thursday 24th March until midnight 16th April 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa. As of 24/03/2020, South Africa has 554 cases of COVID-19.
The categories of people who will be exempted from this lockdown are the following: health workers in the public and private sectors, emergency personnel, those in security services – such as the police, traffic officers, military medical personnel, soldiers – and other persons necessary for our response to the pandemic.
Anyone not in these categories are subject to the enforced lockdown and movement will be limited. Further details in this regard will be released.
This is a decisive measure to save millions of South Africans from infection and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
Over the past week, Masicorp has been assisting community members and youth volunteers with relief and awareness campaigns in Masiphumelele. The team have been sanitising, packing and distributing hygiene packs, donated by our neighbours and supporters to families in Masiphumelele. Masicorp has also allocated funds and support towards these relief efforts.
This team has undertaken awareness campaigns to share the importance of regular handwashing, social distancing and explaining the need for people to stay indoors. During this time of lockdown, Masicorp will continue to liaise with local government and other NPO's to ascertain the best way for the community of Masiphumelele to be assisted.
We call on all our supporters and friends to keep South Africa and Masiphumelele in your thoughts and prayers during this time.
MASICORP STATEMENT ON COVID-19 (16/03/2020)
In light of the recent developments with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, we at Masicorp are currently putting measures in place to protect our staff and beneficiaries. All visits to our programmes and offices by visitors, volunteers and donors will be postponed until further notice. We apologise for the inconvenience, but feel this is the responsible thing to do to flatten the curve of possible transmissions.
As per President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address declaring a National State of Disaster, all South African schools will be closed from 18th March until 14th April. This will therefore also include our education programmes taking place in the schools. The Minister of Social Development has also announced that Early Childhood Development Centres (ECD’s) are to adhere to same closures as schools, with no exceptions. This will unfortunately affect not only our two ECD centres (Chasmay Educare and Masi Educare) but the many children attending our Stay & Play sessions from informal creches in Masi.
We are very aware that this is going to negatively impact many parents who are already under pressure to provide safe child care whilst earning an income for their families. Parents and caregivers will need to be away from their work to care for their children, and lose out on much needed income during this time.
The community of Masiphumelele is especially vulnerable to COVID-19. Residents live in close proximity to each other, have no alternative but to use public transport and have limited access to clean running water. There is a risk of transmitting the virus to immunoccompromised community members and other high risk individuals. This includes the elderly or those with medical conditions such as HIV, TB, amongst others.
We urge those from our neighbouring communities as well as our friends around the globe to provide assistance to those who are struggling to cope. We will be doing our best to provide support as best we can during this time, but we need your help. If you are able to assist us by giving towards these needs… please do so by making a donation
We will be waiting to hear further information over the coming days and weeks and will communicate any changes or developments as they unfold. Please visit our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to keep up to date with the latest news.
We urge everyone to take the necessary precautions to keep themselves safe and will be posting updates and advice as we receive them.
For more information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) visit: www.westerncape.gov.za/coronavirus
National hotline: 0800 029 999; Provincial hotline: 021 928 4102; Clinicians hotline: 082 883 9920
WhatsApp “Hi” to 0600 123 456 (All lines are operational 24/7)
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