How Tsibogang reacts to the COVID 19 Pandemic
Before COVID 19 14 million households in South Africa reported that they have no food security. Due to the lock down regulations this number has now doubled. Especially the informal trading helped many people to get food on the table. These activities were virtually impossible under the lock down regulations and will continue to be severely compromised even when the lock down regulations will be scaled down.
The lack of food was of course experienced even in the nine regions where our home care givers and childcare workers are living. That’s why from April on we started to apply for funding of food parcels approaching a variety of donor organizations in South Africa and Germany. The German Institute of Medical Mission was the first to respond. They approved 4000 Euro emergency relief for food parcels.
We requested our home care givers to investigate who the 20 most vulnerable households in their village or sub-urb were. They did door to door campaigns with lessons on the symptoms of COVID 19 and how to protect oneself and assessed the situation in each family.
From 20.05.20 on we could start to distribute the food parcels. They contained mainly maize meal, cake flour, cooking oil, sugar beans, tinned fish, sugar, tea, peanut butter and soup powder. One parcel can feed a family of four for one month. The recipients were overjoyed and relieved.
On 23.05.20 the Foerderkreis Mission & Gemeinschaft e.V. decided during their virtual AGM to donate 9000 Euro for food parcels to Tsibogang. That means that we will be able to repeat the distribution of 180 food parcels in this and the coming month.
On 01.06. the schools in South Africa were supposed to be re-opened. That date had to be postponed by a week to 08.06. because many schools did not yet fulfill the criteria for opening, e.g. the availability of water on the school premises. But on 08.06. most of the school were found to be ready and the learners from Grade 7 and 12 were allowed to go back to school.
Even our 46 peer educators returned to their schools. As I was concerned that the principals of the schools would not allocate periods to our peer educators because of the huge amount of lost teaching time I requested the peer educators to find out whether it would help if I developed some lessons on COVID 19 that they then could present to the learners, because the ongoing teaching on COVID 19 is now a requirement of the Department of Basic Education. Most principals welcomed my initiative.
As a result we conducted a one day workshop for each of the three regions Mahikeng, Itsoseng and Lehuruthse. During this workshop I presented four lessons on COVID 19 to the peer educators. We did not call all our peer educators on one day in order to adhere to the social distance regulations of 1.5 m distance between the participants in the hall of our center. Many of the peer educators struggled to keep their masks on during the whole day but otherwise they participated with enthusiasm.
Since then all peer educators in 24 schools have started to teach the lessons on COVID 19 to the grade 7 learners. Many of the classes had to be divided into two or three units as many of the classes have more than 50 learners but now there needs to be a distance of at least 1.5 m between the learners in each classroom.
In the meantime, in one school in Itsoseng and in one school in the village of Mosweu in the Lehurutshe area cases of COVID 19 have been identified. The schools were temporarily closed and even our peer educators have to stay at home in self-isolation and have to wait for their results. As there is a shortage of test kits this can take up to two weeks. In total we presently have 123 cases of COVID 19 in our Ngaka Modiri Molema District with only one death.
On 15.06. the first four of our After-School Programs opened again: Rebaone, Orearabetse, Modimola and New Bethel. Those are the ones that have at least eight children from grade 7. They say that the kids are overwhelmed by huge amounts of homework they get from the schools…
Dr. Wolfgang Hermann