Image by Alfred Thorpe | Vuurtoring Media

The year 2020 will undoubtedly go down in history as a year when a pandemic turned the world upside down – bringing disruption, despair and even devastation on a global scale. At the same time, the Proud of my Town team has been witnessing the power of connection in a time of distancing; collaboration in a time of isolation and even amidst lockdown, the unlocking of new networks.

Whilst Covid-19 wreaks havoc, Nedbank’s Proud of my Town initiative is reaching out to vulnerable communities impacted by the pandemic. Considerable time and resources are being allocated to three of our pillars (programmes) in particular – People Care & Development, Building Business and Early Childhood Development.

Practical interventions

The distribution of food parcels to vulnerable households in four provinces, with the support of the SA Army Spouses Forum in two of our towns.

Donations amounting to R85,000 for food banks in three provinces and the equipping of two homeless shelters with necessary supplies.

Sponsorship of food vouchers to the value of over R60,000 to 68 principals of Early Childhood Development centres in three provinces who are suffering from the loss of income.

Donation of the necessary products and Personal Protection Equipment to support the public spaces sanitisation projects.

Sponsorship of airtime for 42 local community coordinators and volunteers to be able share important developments and information with their networks.

The team has also played a pivotal role in developing a system for the needs identification, database management and distribution of some 2 000 food parcels a week to vulnerable households in the Western Cape. Over the past six weeks, over 12 000 food parcels have been delivered, facilitated by this system.

Supporting business

Across South Africa, we all know that businesses have been hard hit by Covid-19 and the national lockdown. To address this challenge, the Ranyaka/Proud of my Town team has also recently launched an Entrepreneur Support programme which will assist micro-entrepreneurs during the lockdown period and months. This support comes in the form of business mentorship, assistance with application to public and private support programmes and weekly food vouchers. This initiative will support 65 microentrepreneurs in the Western Cape, Gauteng and North West province.

Financial education and banking solutions

As “Money Experts who do good” Nedbank has been using their Consumer Financial Education team to reach and empower consumers via radio, television and website, on how to manage their personal finances during the COVID-19 lockdown. Topics covered include themes like managing ones financial health, budgeting, saving, understanding credit and how to use banking products and solutions. For more information, visit Nedbank’s website.

Learning all the way

These challenging times have offered our team the opportunity to learn, explore and develop even more innovative ways of tackling community transformation, restoration and much-needed resilience through previously untapped channels. We welcome stories from towns and communities across South Africa – stories that share ways in which, as a country, we can build resilience and harness the power of active citizenry to bring healing and hope amidst a global crisis that demands that each one of us take action – in whichever way we can, with what we hold in our hands.

Thank you

Thank you to every individual and organisation who is partnering with us in this journey. Thank you to the volunteers who are giving their time and energy selflessly, placing themselves on the frontline to bring relief to their communities. Thank you to institutions who have joined forces with us in this time. It’s always a team effort – and now, more so than ever before.