NGOs join forces to help xenophobic attacks victims

2015-02-09 00:00

A GROUP of KwaZulu-Natal ­organisations are attempting to raise funds to help the displaced foreign ­nationals whose shops were looted in ­recent xenophobic attacks.

Pietermaritzburg-based Gift of the Givers, Durban-based NGO Grace Aid and the Peace Agency have formed Project Justice — a project that aims to help ­restock every store looted in Soweto ­during the recent attacks, and to help those families that have no option but to stay in South Africa.

Justin Foxton, founder of the Peace Agency and speaking on behalf of Project Justice, said the initiative was borne out of the need to make society more ­proactive.

“We cannot accept that it will take two or three generations for South Africans to become more accepting. There must be the will to change. If we don’t start looking at ourselves now, the type of xenophobic and racist attitudes prevalent in almost all South Africans will be passed on to their children,” he said.

Foxton said South Africans need to challenge themselves and start having conversations that they would otherwise avoid.

“Foreigners were attacked in 2008 and now in 2015. When will the next incident occur and what can we do to prevent it?”

Foxton said the public has been asked to make donations to a specially created fund, which will be funnelled to the affected families through donations of food and stock for their empty shops.

“There will be a number of challenges such as finding foreign shop owners and hoping they are not scared to accept ­support. I approached Gift of the Givers for help because they have the logistical backbone, required infrastructure and ­expertise. The Gift of the Givers, with their on-the-ground and logistical expertise, will source and distribute the stock and ensure that it goes directly to the neediest ­recipients,” said Foxton.

For more information on the initiative, e-mail info@peaceagency.org.za.

• jonathan.erasmus@witness.co.za

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