Ikamva Labantu is committed to creating sustainable economic change in Cape Town’s township communities. Their work focuses on early childhood development, the well-being of older persons, and after school initiatives that keep children safe and off the streets.
On 17 March 2020, in light of the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections in South Africa, Ikamva Labantu closed its network of 21 seniors clubs and 3 large community centres. The organisation quickly mobilised its resources to deliver food assistance to 800 members of the seniors’ clubs and 74 children attending the model preschool at the training facility in Khayelitsha.
By the time the South African government declared the national lockdown on 26 March, Ikamva Labantu had already put the systems and procedures in place to provide the necessary support to its vast network of programme participants and 126 staff members. At present Ikamva Labantu’s COVID-19 Emergency Response is reaching 130,000 people in South Africa – mainly in Cape Town but also in Johannesburg and rural communities in the Western and Eastern Cape provinces. Having gone through the initial stages of mobilising, adjusting and stabilising its operations and emergency response network, it has put in place sustainable long-term strategies for the future. Ikamva Labantu are prepared should a second wave come.
Support from the Scheinberg Relief Fund enabled Ikamva Labantu to extend its COVID-19 Emergency Response to an additional 400 senior citizens, over 8,000 children and 975 childcare workers and their families. Funding support was made available to 100 community volunteers to prepare daily meals for their neighbours experiencing hunger and food insecurity.
Keeping seniors at home, safe and mentally stimulated while fighting loneliness was also a priority for Ikamva Labantu. Funding from the SRF facilitated the purchase and distribution of 1,200 radios to the elderly and the broadcasting of a twice weekly radio slot for 6 months which were designed to address cognitive needs of seniors.