Project #200 | COVID-19 Emergency Relief in South Africa

Our partnership with Zimele

Prior to our partnership, South Africa had the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among African countries (18,003 confirmed cases as of May 20, 2020). On March 26, a countrywide lockdown was enacted in efforts to curb the spread of infection. During this time, the impoverished rural communities remained the most vulnerable, as the shutdown disrupted their ability to procure resources and maintain small business efforts. This put entire families and communities at risk of both food and financial insecurity.

One Day’s Wages has partnered Zimele USA/Zimele Wethu Foundation to respond to the needs of rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal during the countrywide lockdown. The relief efforts supports 1,510 heads of households, 144 orphaned and vulnerable children and 60 homebound patients. Zimele Wethu Foundation conducts community workshops with 19 Zimele Clusters Groups representing 1,510 people, 21 Social Care Projects and 23 Small Businesses to provide them with education on social distancing and instruction on basic hygiene such as proper hand washing techniques to help reduce risk of contracting COVID-19. The foundation also provides hygiene supplies such as soap and cleaning materials and face masks made by Zimele crafters. In addition, grant funds will be used to help cover supply costs of chicken farming agri-businesses and the new industries needed to support the community’s COVID-19 response.

Our Collective Impact

CLA Members Received Support for Enterprise Projects

CLA Group Members Received COVID-19 Prevention Training

Total Face Masks Provided

Meet Sibongile

Ms. Sibongile Gwala is 58years old woman living in Swayimane community. She is a gifted crafter and seamstress. She joined the Zimele Self Help Group programme in 2015. Being a member of a group helped her access loans from savings to buy material and start a craft business. Her craft business has been dependent on selling products at tourists’ centers outside her community. With Covid-19, business at tourist centers has stopped.  She tried a business of sewing some products to sell in the community, but her range of products was limited due to the capacity of her sewing machine. 

At the onset of Covid-19, Ms. Gwala was also hit hard financially as she could not get materials for her craft or sell products due to lockdown restrictions. She then saw an opportunity to try making cloth face masks using her old sewing machine.  Ms. Gwala, has now been able to transition to a new income earning sewing business during the pandemic. With the support from the ODW Relief Grant, Ms. Gwala has received materials to make cloth face masks for the Zimele Wethu groups running social care projects to provide the orphaned and vulnerable children, and bedridden patients with masks during the pandemic. 

Seeing her sewing abilities, Zimele Wethu hired her services to train other sewing groups. With her skills, Ms. Gwala has been able to support 27 other seamstresses to improve their abilities and earn an income during the pandemic out of sewing cloth face masks. Zimele Wethu has been paying Ms. Gwala for services with funds from ODW relief grant. 

To enable her meet the growing orders for her products, Ms. Gwala will be receiving support of a heavy duty sewing machine and an overlock which has already been ordered from the manufacturer.

Thank you for making this possible!

Our movement is grassroots, to us that not only means the work on the ground is led by local leaders with the support of the community, but it also means that we raise the funds for our projects through everyday donors just like you. In addition to all the donors that gave $25, $100, or $250 and the campaigners that ran a race or donated their birthday to raise funds, we also want to thank our generous business, school, and faith sponsors who believed in our work and joined the movement.

If you want to support future projects like this you can make a donation to our children’s education fund.

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