Update from South Africa and Botswana

Posted by | May 20, 2020 |

In our lockdown situation – no work means no pay – which means that hundreds of thousands of South Africans are without means to buy the essentials to sustain life, the number one being food.

“It doesn’t take a gathering or meeting to get each and every individual member to continue doing something for the less fortunate in these times of dire need” – words from our Port Elizabeth branch and yes, that is the epitome of Inner Wheel – as in so many countries we have small clubs and members with big hearts who are well acquainted with the hardship that surrounds us and we are willing to answer the call. The members rolled up their sleeves and used a nutritious low-cost basic meal for four people. They packed the ingredients, including instructions on how it should be made and then it is distributed together with a weekly pack of sandwiches.

Bedfordview Club (Johannesburg) became involved with a huge feeding scheme for nearby informal settlements. Apart from assisting with packing, they discovered the packers also were desperate for food and a roster was prepared for snacks and lunch to be provided daily – the packers were delighted.

As in so many places the prohibition of the sale of alcohol and cigarettes has led to the increase in domestic violence and our Gaborone Club (Botswana is part of District 932) were approached by a local shelter for abused women that was overcrowded and in need of not only more space, but also funding as well. They gave a large donation towards the purchase of food supplies and sent out a request to friends, neighbours and relatives for donations of bedding, clothing, food items and many other things: there was an overwhelming response.

In the Cape, on the West Coast, the Saldanha Bay Club handed out food parcels to a local high school and three trolly loads of groceries were donated to a local primary school.

The Inner Wheel Club of Waterfront (Cape Town), another small club, said “when the need arises” and it did – before they knew what was happening they were helping with sandwiches, supplying meal packs, collecting and delivering warm clothing for distribution to the needy.

Also in the Cape an organisation has emerged as a result of the lockdown called Ladles of Love which focuses on feeding hungry people through their soup kitchens in Cape Town and has gone one step further to start the Love Sandwich Project which anyone in Cape Town can support. The Durbanville Inner Wheel Club have become seriously involved with this project providing sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs. (Thanks to Ladles of Love support, in one week alone they collected 170,000 sandwiches and 38,000 boiled eggs). The Inner Wheel Club of Waterfront have also made a monetary donation to Ladles of Love.

Bloemfontein Club (right in the heart of South Africa) have adjusted their outreach, where previously they donated groceries to old age and children’s homes, they now make a monthly monetary donation. It has been a long-term club project to celebrate each of the residents of the Siesta Old Age Home with a birthday tea party. This had to be stopped because of the lockdown but the residents still receive their birthday treats because, not to be defeated, a decision was made to leave their birthday treats at reception.

This is the tip of the iceberg – as disastrous as the COVID-19 virus is – it has made people become aware of one another and to care for one another!

Jean James-Smith