Thanks to Sanlam Foundation through Connect Network we provided a rapid response to COVID in our community
As a member and one of the Safe Community Lead Agents of Connect Network, a network of Christian organisations working with women and children in the greater Cape Town area, we were invited to submit an application for funding from the Sanlam Foundation to support a rapid response to COVID in our community. We completed our application towards the end of April and funding was received early in June, which enabled us to provide a rapid response to COVID in our community in the midst of lockdown.
Social Worker support for emergencies
We set up an emergency cellphone during lockdown, as community members would no longer be able to walk into our site for assistance. Our social work team responded to calls for general advice and information about grants, wrote letters of referrals to SASSA and helped transfer grants to grandmothers who had been left to care for their grandchildren.
One of the emergency cases related to a child that had been raped, and our social worker was able to provide counselling for the child and referred the family to Thuthuzela for testing. Another case related to an unemployed father, where the mother had just suddenly left their child in his care, without any essential documents (e.g. birth certificate) and no child support grant. We referred the father to the Department of Social Development social worker as they need to provide an official government referral to Home Affairs and provided food support for the child in his father's care, while the father waits to receive help.
As lockdown levels eased, our social work and family strengthening team have been back on site responding to walk-in visits, doing home visits and telephonic follow up. Our Child and Youth care workers have continued to support families in the community.
Distribution of food for orphans and most vulnerable children.
Child and Youth Care workers supporting orphans and vulnerable children in their community homes.
Prior to lockdown our organisation identified 121 of our most vulnerable children. These are children who are orphans, or have no formal caregivers, or caregivers who cannot provide adequate care or are a child-headed home. 10 staff members, and 2 trained parents (previously trained through our parenting skills course) provided the children with COVID-19 infection information, sanitation supplies, additional food stocks, books and activities to ensure all OVC’s are supported. We provided our child and youth care workers with visors to wear in addition to face masks for home visits and working in the community.
As children returned to schools, our CYCWs continued to support them telephonically and with home visits. They also reopened the community informal safe parks to ensure children had safe places to be close to where they live, and more than 300 children have been able to attend these safe parks spread throughout the community.
Child and Adolescent HIV Clinic treatment services
Our doctor, Louise Nadin, continued to provide clinical consultations to HIV positive children at the Crossroads 2 clinic throughout lockdown, conducting hundreds of consultations, with more than 250 teenagers visiting our teen HIV clubs and as well as the hundreds of children visiting the paediatric anti-retroviral clinic. Aside from consultations, her work has also involved script preparation, checking notes and providing information to other doctors, nurses or counsellors. We also distributed snack packs to all the children visiting the clubs as extra support.
Through this grant, we assisted with providing additional PPE (in the form of face shields) for the clinic staff to increase their protection from Coronavirus.
Use of our site for testing and screening
The Department of Health have hosted 4 screening and testing days on our site, and 4 on site screening sessions. 20 community health workers are hosted on our site and use the site for planning screening activities in the community.
We put COVID-19 protocols in place and prepared the site to protect our staff and vulnerable community members. Our security guards are trained to screen all visitors, record their information should contact tracing be required, and take each visitors temperature using an infrared thermometer. We removed furniture and reorganised spaces, provided details about maximum capacity in different venues to ensure social distancing, and placed hand sanitisers at the entrance, and outside each building, with additional sanitiser bottles given to staff.
We are grateful for the support from the Sanlam Foundation, facilitated through the Connect Network.
Welcome to a window into the lives and issues facing children in the Crossroads community on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. Most of these stories centre around the children and families we work with at Beautiful Gate South Africa, a Christian non-profit organisation whose mission is to show God's love as we care for and protect children, empower and preserve families and mobilise our community to do the same.