I have been a member of InterNation, a global expat community for 3years now, and I have been involved in several community volunteer activities in the cities and suburbs of Gauteng, here in South Africa.
Over the course of my journey, I quickly discovered, though, and it’s striking truth, a very large number of expats live below the poverty line; so many of them have no refugee or legal status. And are afraid to speak up for fear of the unknown.
They depend on a less than $20 daily income to survive. Most of them are women and children. Some are families with children to look after.
My colleague whom I met in one of the volunteer programs, and I, have been supporting a few of these groups, especially women and children, with some assistances in our little efforts. The list of those calling for support is growing, however.
We currently have 6 families and two girls we support. Just recently, we received calls and text messages from 4 families seeking for support. Occasionally we receive support from my church, The Rehoboth Ministries, to support the work we are doing. And various other donations from friends.
Sometimes it’s difficult to support all the families all at once. But we are pushing. We recently introduced what we call Rotassist: a scheme where we rotate the assistance and support we give to the groups. And we split and set aside some materials to cater for any emergency situation or those in critical need. We decided to formerly name this initiative Rotassist Foundation, and are working on launching a new website.
But why this campaign?
In the last several months, COVID-19 pandemic has sent shock shaves across the world. Economic power houses are reeling and panicking; businesses have closed down; major cities around the world are under lockdown. Globally, there’s fear of a possible recession leading into depression.
Everything is at stand still point right now. South Africa was not exempt, nor invincible to the epidemic. As the nation witnessed infections rate increment, more so on a record high recently, President Cyril Ramaphosa directed the nation to maintain social distancing and healthy hygiene practices. In a matter of days subsequently, the president issued a 21 days nationwide lockdown starting from March 26th to April 16. However, these presidential directive has been extended in an effort to curb the rapid spread of the virus and prevent the nation from plunging into a state of emergency.
Needless to say, barely 6 days into the 3 weeks’ 'Stay At Home' order the effects were gravely felt in the lives of the unemployed, and the poor families who can’t afford to ‘Stay At Home,’ the likes we are supporting, as their sources of daily income are closed. And they have no coffer of savings. Not to mention the 2 years' recession the country have suffered.
For these expats (women, children, and girls) with no legal status, there is no hope from the government. No hopes of the social grant ever reaching them. And the mounting frustration is rising. Their only hope is for individuals and organizations like us to come to their rescue.
The calls for their supports has never been more urgent than now. I have received countless calls, text messages, and WhatsApps from several of these families and children to come to their aid. That’s why I'm running this campaign with my colleague. To raise awareness and support for the women and children suffering right now as a result of the nationwide lockdown.
The funds raised will go a long way in helping these families, as well as anyone within our reach who needs our support.
The campaign call is an urgent one. #CallToAction