Students help community during lockdown

An online fund-raiser by Shawco helped the Manenberg Peoples Centre to feed 7 000 people over six weeks. Here Christine Jansen, middle, from the MPC, is seen with Justine Paries and Raeesa Mathews, from Shawco.

UCT’s Students’ Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (Shawco) raised
R300 000 within a few weeks to help communities hard hit by lockdown.

Half of the money supported food distribution in Manenberg with the help of the Manenberg People’s Centre (MPC), and the other half bought sanitary packs for residents of Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay.

Within a few weeks, students raised enough money online to feed 7 000 people over six weeks in Manenberg.

Shawco runs an after-school programme for Manenberg Primary School pupils, among others, but the organisation’s Raeesa Mathews said lockdown had brought a stop to all their educational programmes.

“When we spoke to people in the community, we realised that there is a great need for basics, such as food, as many people have lost their jobs.

“That was when we decided to have a fund-raiser, and the Be Kind Online campaign was started,” she said.

Raeesa and fellow student Justine Paries visited the MPC to see how it operates, before committing to assisting the project.

Christine Jansen, from the MPC, said Shawco’s help couldn’t have come at a better time.

“They saw our facilities and they saw the need when they came to observe our work. We are extremely grateful for their assistance. Besides the food, their contribution also helped local people produce 1 000 masks and to buy hand sanitisers. They also printed a banner to educate the community about how to keep safe from the pandemic.”