United Way South Africa (UWSA), the non-profit organisation that unites companies and individuals for a common cause, partnered with a number of global multi-national corporations, and the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU), to provide 1 000 COVID-19 relief food packs to vulnerable Cape Town communities.
The initiative received generous donations to the value of R5.3million ($315 000) and countless hours volunteered by the DHL Stormers and local rugby clubs. This enabled UWSA to expand its national footprint, directly impacting 5 000 households and amounting to 30 000 people, in Cape Town’s impoverished townships over a single weekend.
“We’re fortunate to have received the amount of funding that we did, which, together with the amazing volunteers from WPRFU, enabled us to make a sustainable impact in the communities such as Elsies Rivier and migrants who came to Project 21 Church in Wynberg. The Coaches from the 102 Rugby Training Community Clubs collected and distributed to their most vulnerable families across Cape Town. ” said Lynda Bleazard, United Way South Africa’s Executive Director.
The non-profit organisation received donations from various multi-national corporations, including 3M, Cummins and Dell as well as Durapi, Sony Television and United Way Worldwide. These efforts contributed to the distribution of relief packs to the most vulnerable in the Cape Town communities, including migrants who have been unable to access government grants and local female rugby players from underserved areas who couldn’t afford hygiene products.
Each pack contained groceries and hygiene products to feed and sustain a minimum of six people per family for an entire month, helping them survive this tough period and restore their dignity. Players from local rugby clubs were also encouraged to identify 50 families each that were in need, within their communities, and provide them with food hampers.
In addition to partnering with UWSA, the WPRFU also supports 102 clubs in the Cape Flats. The union’s goal is to bring the youth together so that they can get a meal and learn to play a sport.
Identifying this as an opportunity to extend its impact, UWSA is now focused on providing holistic school bursaries to the talented youth who play in the WPRFU’s community-based rugby clubs. The bursary initiative aims to take the children out of the township and place them in a space where they don’t have to worry about food, transport, clothing or education.
These children can then volunteer to become ambassadors for UWSA and make a change by going back into their communities and giving hope to families and individuals.
“By living united, we can facilitate sustainable change, where the children that we lift out of poverty can then go back and lift their families out of poverty and so the whole community benefits,” adds Bleazard. “United Way believes very strongly in living united for a purpose, and that no one is beneath or above anyone else.”
United Way South Africa intends on sustaining the impact it has made by revisiting communities and engaging with locals on the ground to find out what can be done to create lasting change. The non-profit organisation aims to take a holistic approach going forward, one that incorporates mental wellness programmes and enterprise development to help community members gain access to quality education, overcome the stresses they’re faced with and find jobs that will lift them out of poverty. This approach will involve tapping into United Way’s education, enterprise and health programmes, which have been making an impacting in communities throughout the country since 2013.