Over the past weeks, we have witnessed the COVID-19 pandemic growing exponentially in South Africa. This led to increasing the 21-day lockdown. The question is, are we ready for the impact that this will have on the less privileged? What are they eating during this period? What can we do as individuals to help them?
Recently, I started a campaign called Thusa. Thusa aims to provide South Africans in rural areas and townships with vouchers that can be used to purchase groceries during the pandemic.
Why I started a campaign
I come from a village in Limpopo and was raised by a strong woman who lived all her life as a domestic worker, earning R800, just to get me to where I am today. We could hardly afford or eat bread and when my mom finally gave me the money for bread, I would run like I had just won a jackpot.
Thus, starting the Thusa campaign comes from a very deep and personal place.
I started by announcing the idea on social media a week before the crowdfunding campaign was approved. Unfortunately, I got the weakest response I had ever received. This was when I decided to look for other ways to get a higher response.
CQ and crossing boundaries
I attended the streetwise mba last year when I was nominated by my company, ABSA. The programme really played a huge role in starting Thusa. Through it, I learned all about Cultural Intelligence (CQ) and the Core and Flex framework. More importantly, CQ encouraged me to think inclusively and to cross boundaries. I applied this mind-set to get the Thusa campaign off the ground.
I realized that I was not going to achieve this goal by myself or with my own social media network. I decided to send private messages to close to 1,000 people on Instagram to help me advertise the campaign. Doing this brought an immediate increase in responses. We managed to reach R35,000 (USD 1,900) in donations within five hours.
The restrictions of the current lockdown have widened the already existing gap between informal settlement residents and essential resources for immediate needs, particularly those who are unable to earn an income during national self-isolation. Thusa has played a role in that by distributing more than 320 R500 Shoprite grocery vouchers all over South Africa and raising more than R180,000 (USD 9,600) in the span of four weeks.
Not enough grocery vouchers
The impact that Thusa campaign has had over the past four weeks has been very significant. However over the past month, social media engagements have been increasing but not the actual number of donations. Unfortunately, engagement has been dominated by people asking for help, a lot more than the actual vouchers we can distribute.
Thusa aims to distribute 700 vouchers all over South Africa while the pandemic is ongoing. I believe that we can achieve more than that. It is time we join hands and show the South African spirit of Ubuntu regardless of where you are. With a small amount as a R50, we can uplift our communities.
If you would like to help and donate to Thusa, please click here.