It’s a humble picture on any given day. Rondavels scattered around the green expanses and dirt roads of the Ufafa Valley villages in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
However, inside the dwellings families are struggling to make ends meet with no idea where their next meal will be coming from.
And with the spread of Covid-19 and lockdown regulations in place, it’s become harder to put food on the table with many of the residents unable to continue working odd jobs.
But an NGO in the area is working tirelessly to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
Founder of Woza Moya Sue Hedden (57) says the organisation has assisted communities in the area for 20 years, but they’ve had to step up their efforts since the start of the lockdown on 26 March.
“The biggest need right now is food. What we’ve been doing since the lockdown is working around the clock to try and find as much emergency relief funding as possible just to keep people fed and alive,” Sue tells YOU.
With the help of a R200 000 donation from Dutch childcare organisation Mamas Alliance, Woza Moya has been able to distribute food parcels of R1 000 each to about 200 families.
The parcels aren’t very exciting, Sue tells us, but at least supply people with basic protein like tinned fish and eggs, along with starches such as maize meal, samp and flour.
“We ask the grocery stores that supply us to put in as much fresh produce that’s in season as possible, but we don’t include fresh meat because we have to consider things like storage and distribution,” she says.
Another project they’re pushing now is the Brazilian-inspired Tippy Tap hands-free handwashing device, which consists of wooden poles and 5-litres bottles of water and antiseptic liquid.
They’ve been rolling out the simple homemade structure for years but have now ramped up their efforts, distributing tons of 5-litre bottles and instruction manuals on how to make the Tippy Tap.
“It’s basically made of two wooden poles locked into the ground one metre apart – you can find poles that have a little fork at the top so you can balance the third pole at the top,” Sue explains.
“The third pole goes through the handle of the bottle to allow the bottle to hang at a slight angle. Then you tie a piece of string to the bottle and to another piece of wood on the ground that acts like a foot pedal.
“You use a nail or a screw to make a hole in the bottle for the water to spout out. When you press down on the bottom piece of wood, the bottle tilts and the water comes out.”
She says with this device they’ve seen a massive reduction in diarrhea among children in rural communities.
Woza Moya’s caregivers have been going door-to-door making sure that people are putting antiseptic liquid in the water bottles and using the Tippy Tap correctly.
The organisation has also partnered with the Department of Health and their teams are involved in Covid-19 screenings in the villages they service.
Woza Moya started out in direct response to the HIV/Aids pandemic during a time when anti-retrovirals and other assistance weren’t available to communities in the Ufafa Valley.
They initially offered counselling and awareness programmes, but later expanded their work to deal with the socio-economic issues confronting the community, including local healthcare, early childhood development, youth development and sustainable livelihood projects.