Phillipi CAN, a Cape Town Together initiative

By: Anele Gcwabe

Covid-19 came with many challenges for many South Africans, especially those living hand to mouth and under the poverty line. Putting food on the table has been one of the biggest hurdles that South Africa has had to overcome under the strict regulations of the national lockdown that followed the rise of the pandemic in South Africa. Many individuals and organisations have tried to find ways to fight the rise of poverty in low income households, and those that depend on income from informal trade. Very few people have taken into account the impact that the closed economy had on those who have formal jobs and therefore, do not qualify for any assistance from the government. Activator, Mercy Dube and her community in Phillipi- Cape Town, saw the gap and came together to see what they can do to enhance the quality of lives of people in their various communities irrespective of their economical gap.

The Phillipi CAN project does not only assist with overcoming poverty in the community of Phillipi, but the youth, coordinated by Mercy Dube, took it upon themselves to inform the elderly and arm them with the much needed information that they needed to comply with lockdown regulations. “Due to lack of information, we realised that it was important to rise as the youth to teach the community on the importance of taking care of their health in response to covid-19, which took people by surprise. We wanted our community to be aware of the lockdown regulations and their rights regardless of their nationality. In doing so we realised that we would also have to tap into food security as a lot of people lost their source of income unexpectedly and some to do not qualify for any sort of government aid,” explains Mercy.

With the support of Philippi Village and Newlands CAN, Phillipi CAN has managed to distribute 610 food parcels and 250 hygiene packs. “In working with food distribution, we have also managed to address psychosocial issues such as depression, which have been ignored for a long time”, says Mercy. “We have also put a team of volunteers to assist grade 12 learners with their studies as not every student has access to a smart phone and data”, she continues.

Mercy said that she started the project because she wanted to make a difference in her community and restore hope to humanity. “Activators can assist and are welcome to join the team and bring whatever skills they possess”, she adds.

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