During these unprecedented times amidst a global pandemic, PeacePlayers South Africa has found a creative way to support their participants and their families. As a result, participants began to look toward the positives that can be achieved if we work together and continue to look out for one another.
It started with a spreadsheet and collaboration between PeacePlayers South Africa’s Area Managers: Thobani Ngubane (uMlazi), Noluthando Msweli (Lamontville & Wentworth), and Sanele Zondi (Durban City). Once in-person programming was temporarily paused after the Republic of South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa announced the National lockdown, these Area Managers worked together to transition to virtual sessions while taking into account the needs of their community.
Knowing the challenges that local participants and coaches face to access technology and data, PeacePlayers South Africa’s Executive Director, Nasiphi Khafu notified coaching staff and participants that their phone accounts were loaded with 1 gigabyte of data and airtime for coaches to check in on participants. Before this point, only some coaches had the means to deliver weekly programming to the few participants who had access to phones and data. The steady increase of the cost of data has been an ongoing topic of discussion in South Africa. Some phone service providers have been accused of unfairly inflating these prices to their citizens. Despite these challenges, Nasiphi and her team have persevered to make cell phone data available to maintain connections between coaches and participants and she adds that: “we will be doing this weekly for as long as we have funds available.”
Alongside Area Managers, Coaches also searched far and wide to contact participants in order to collect data on who had access to phones, data, basketballs, and food. Participants and their families’ essential needs and access to food has been cut short due to so many losing sources of income as a result of COVID-19. Starting by assessing the needs of their participants through this outreach and connection, eventually the financial capacity to deliver on these needs were fulfilled due to generous donations from friends of PeacePlayers.
PeacePlayers’s youth and families receiving basketballs and vouchers for food and other essential supplies.
These times led our PeacePlayers South Africa team to get creative in pulling together supplies from their local office and through making purchases at community stores including Shoprite and SmartCall. With ShopRite being close in proximity to their office, they identify it as one of their favorite stores for essentials. The PeacePlayers South Africa team purchased 38 vouchers for food parcels for families in need. Each voucher provided enough support to feed a family of two adults, one teenager and one young child for up to two weeks. Even though most local participants come from homes with at least nine people living in a single confined space, this small contribution went a long way. In addition to food vouchers, PeacePlayers South Africa’s team worked with donors to secure mobile phone data for 150 youth participants through SmartCall which enables organizations to make one payment to mass deliver data to each phone number on a provided spreadsheet. With the tenacious hard work of the team and Coaches, along with the support of a few donors the delivery was made possible.