Number of destitute children on the rise in Kimberley due to COVID-19 pandemic: NGOs

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Non-profit organisations in Kimberley, Northern Cape, say the number of destitute children has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stats SA’s latest figures pin the provincial unemployment rate at 24.9% and expand the unemployment rate which includes people who have stopped looking for work at 50%.

Zelda Roberts is one of many unemployed parents in Longlands near Kimberley. She says without an income, putting bread on the table for her child and her late sister’s children have become an uphill battle.

“I don’t have an income. I am not getting any job in Longlands and that’s a problem. When we are short of money then I have to go borrow money for electricity and food. I have to use my children’s grant money to buy food,” says Roberts.

Another foster parent, Lydia van Bosch says they wish NGOs could be granted more support to help people battling to make ends meet.

“Sometimes when I need to buy school supplies they help me with that. When there is no food they are able to help me out with vouchers,” says Van Bosch.

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Clara Hendricks of Longlands Home Community Based Care says the number of children they assist has skyrocketed, as many people lost their jobs due to the impact the pandemic had on the economy. She says her organisation is also in need of financial support.

“We used to see 75 children, but now with the emergence of the new COVID-19 the numbers increased to 101. What we want to see is financial support from different departments because it is painful to see children in need and we can’t help them,” says Hendricks.

The Department of Social Development in the Northern Cape says they are providing different types of programmes to help the unemployed and vulnerable members of society.

“From the various grants such as your older persons grant disability foster care, child care trans caregiver transfer department has also introduced the social relief, commonly known as the R350 grant and these are all administered by a SASSA. Now during December time, we experienced an increase in the services required by the department and holistically throughout the year we provide services for various target groups. Some of the services that we gained, and more so that we double up during the holiday periods,” says Gamiem Abrahams.

Many unemployed parents in Longlands say they are worried they will not be able to provide for their families this festive season.

Discussion on COVID-19 impact in addressing poverty, hunger: Alef Meulenberg