The corona virus has impacted our lives for over four months now and there seems to be little respite going forward.
Due to the initial COVID-19 restrictions placed on the Early Childhood Development sector, Feed the Babies Fund had to adjust our service delivery. Whilst we were unable to train our carers, we still needed to ensure that the children were being fed. As such, we continued with our nutritional project by providing cereal to the children in their households and have supported the carers with food parcels during the time of no income for them. The food parcels were made possible by the kind donations of certain items and by diverting training funding to nutrition in order to purchase the necessary items.
We have delivered over 8 tons of food over the past two months.
However, in the same way that Government needs to adjust lockdown restrictions and measures as and when situations arise, so do we need to constantly reassess the service and benefits to our beneficiaries at this time. We also need to consider our restrictive budget and ensure that we remain sustainable whilst still delivering meaningful interventions. This becomes more and more difficult when funders are running out of funds (as the National Lottery Commission amongst others tell us) or are closed during this time.
With the Department of Social Development gazetting on 13 July that pre-schools may reopen subject to having the necessary Covid-19 protocols and measures in place, we have decided to switch focus from providing food parcels for the teachers, to the provision of much-needed personal protection equipment for the educare centres. Once our centres can open, far better control can again be exercised over the feeding of children and our ECD interventions can resume, albeit in a different format to previously.
Pre-schools that receive Government subsidies have been allowed by the Department of Social Development to utilise funding from their subsidies to purchase PPE’s to allow them to comply and reopen. Unfortunately, for the centres that we support, this is not an option. They receive no subsidy and have no other form of income to rely on to purchase these items.
Feed the Babies Fund supports some 150 educare centres that require personal protection equipment and cleaning agents to sanitise their premises and put the necessary Covid-19 measures in place in order to welcome the children back.
Items that are required are: Soap, water spray bottles, paper towels, sanitisers (70% proof), masks and gloves. Any donations of the aforementioned items; or funding to purchase these items is welcomed. If any company that supplies these items can give us a competitive quote, we can request funding from donors to purchase the equipment.