As South Africa continues to battle the peak of its COVID-19 infections, unemployment and hunger are devastating the nation. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the need for collaboration to provide relief to those most vulnerable.
Lockdown regulations that resulted in school closures have meant that many children are now at home, placing households under extreme pressure to provide meals during the day. To assist with this need, Wärtsilä partnered with CoronaCare, a platform that connects South Africans with organisations working on the ground to support those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. CoronaCare paired energy company Wärtsilä with an NPO called Uthando and the Masibulele Educare Centre.
The Masibulele Educare Centre, which was started in 1995,is based in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. The school has 100 pupils who range from infants to six-year-olds. The school relies only on school fees to cover costs, and since the lockdown regulations, teachers have been struggling as a result of no income. The school also runs a feeding scheme where the children are fed twice a day at school, which is no longer the case during COVID-19.
Responding to the needs of the school, Wärtsilä has donated R50 000 worth of food parcels for the pupils and teachers. Food will also go towards the meals that the school provides to the children during the school day. Wärtsilä will make a further donation towards the school fees and salaries of the learners and educators at Masibulele once the school re-opens, in order to sustain the school for a period of time. The school has prepared for the return of the learners and is awaiting inspection and approval by the department of education that they are COVID ready.
Patrick Borstner Ceballos, Managing Director & Energy Business Director, South and East Africa at Wärtsilä, says, “As Wärtsilä, we acknowledge that we cannot exist without the communities within which we operate. They are important to us, and we are because of them. It is therefore vital, now more than ever, that we provide the necessary support to help minimise the devastating impact of COVID-19 on South Africans.”