Like most Community Action Network’s (CAN), Khanyisa Vedala started the Khayelitsha Site B CAN via a WhatsApp group, which currently has more than 600 members. The members of this collective recently got together to help community members who have been negatively affected by Covid-19 in Khayelitsha.
CAN’s are made of a group of volunteers who vow to take care of each other as a community.In Cape Town, under the umbrella initiative Cape Town Together, more than 150 community action networks (CANs) have sprung up since the pandemic began. More than 100 other CANs have popped up in Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
One of the greatest success stories has been the Khayelitsha Site B CAN. In partnership with other CANs and community organisations, the organisation has worked tirelessly to support the neediest members of the Khayelitsha community. For instance, Constantia CAN partnered with the Khayelitsha Site B CAN from the very beginning.
“I was already working within community development and the COVID-19 crisis meant that the poorest people in the communities needed help. We got the entire community involved, working with different organisations and leaders to make a difference to these people,” said Vedala.
Every day, the soup kitchen set up by the CAN serves food to more than 150 children, while more than 600 people are provided with regular food parcels. In another initiative, more than 1 000 parcels containing sanitary towels were handed out.
“Even people who have very little themselves have been willing to give to others. It has been wonderful to see how the principles of ubuntu are well and truly alive in our communities,” added Vedala.CANs in disadvantaged areas have benefitted from the assistance of other CANs in more affluent areas of Cape Town.
“We can achieve upliftment in South Africa if we all work together to protect the vulnerable members of society,” closed Vedala.