God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Balance is needed and realities appreciated

It is said that in South Africa, it is difficult to find middle ground – it is either black or white, laissez-faire or authoritarian, and looking at measures taken in the country it seems to confirm this observation. Stringent and harsh measures were announced and tried to enforce in the last days leaving behind those whose life reality is so different from those who try to prescribe them. So we saw in many township communities chaos on Friday, the first day of the lock-down: people still had to go to the shops because only when they are paid, they can go shopping. It was clear that government simply forgot to factor in reality.
Videos of aggressive reacting military without any possibility to identify them; police ordering people out of their own yard into their house with doors closed and so demonstrating that they did not understand the rules neither but also township residents defying orders and calling Covid-19 a white man’s disease demonstrated the gaps in dealing with the crisis. On the other hand: it is indeed an overwhelming task to get all citizens to understand the seriousness of this challenge.

Obviously too harsh measures will backfire – and it is noted that e.g. the sale of cigarettes is now allowed in supermarkets – there is no meaning in keeping a smoker 21 days without cigarettes and expect him to feel relaxed at home during lock-down. Government must and should fine-tune measures, but obviously having problematic ministers like Cele running partly the show will make this a challenge for the nation. Especially in a township environment where people really have to struggle every day to survive measures must be coherent, but also understandable and manageable for those living there.
In a situation like ours it would also be good if the President himself is able to reassure the nation on a regular base – people here simply listening rather to him than to compromised ministers or head of departments. State capture has destroyed quite some trust into state organs and this should not be underestimated. It also has widened the gap between those who have or are in charge and those whose life has not changed a lot in the last years still remaining under the poverty line.

There is another aspect which seems important – giving out the figures of confirmed testing does only tell half of the story as we know the virus can come and go without needing hospitalization.  We need antibody tests to find out how many people are already immune and survived the virus without major consequences.  We know that children and younger people are less likely to develop tough symptoms. So knowing the infection rate, but also the immunisation rate can give important indications for the future handling of the pandemic.  It also helps to give people a perspective of what to expect in the next months to come. As important the update of current status is, important is also to give citizens a realistic hope and with that a goal to achieve jointly as society.

Finding a balance after a good start, appreciating realities and work with them – we will see what the next days might bring on fine-tuning measures, transparency in communication and also some more training for SAPS and SANDF so that the service with humility, the president spoke about, becomes a reality. In days like these citizens put their trust in government by allowing the curtailing of civil rights – alone this must be reason of careful consideration how to progress in the fight against Covid-19 in South Africa.

Filed under: Africa, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,

HOPE in the times of lock-down

Since yesterday evening it is official: South Africa will go in a 21-day lock down from Thursday night and all non-essential work will cease, freedom of movement is suspended and police and military will have a watchful eye that all rules and regulations are adhered to in the weeks to come.
For an NGO like HOPE Cape Town those are difficult times on several levels:
Firstly our medical staff will continue to work and give their very best to battle the pandemic and see patients; exposing themselves to the risks of being infected. A constant worry for those responsible in the organisation which otherwise also has to shut down so-called non-essential services. Obviously our definition differs from the one the law prescribes: knowing how much people in various townships depend on assistance it is sometimes difficult to imagine how those less fortunate survive in even more dire circumstances. Believe it or not: this adds to the stress level of those who are not allowed to work in the fields as HOPE Cape Town employees.
And there is a third level of worries: the financial ones. Obviously in this crazy time many people and companies are struggling to keep themselves afloat – donating to a charity is the last on their minds which results in major income losses for NGO’s. And unfortunately, no state has yet acknowledged those financial woes, only companies for gains will receive government assistance. We will see quite some charities closing their doors because the lack of funds, we will see lots of retrenchments as a result of lock-downs and other measures, which mean to save societies from a high number of infections and mortality.

HOPE Cape Town tries to mitigate all negative factors and has till now always found a way to survive challenging times. Even in the times of Covid-19, which is unprecedented the organisation will be able not only to survive but to continue it’s much-needed work medically during the crisis and socially after the lock-down. Obviously it welcomes donations via its web page www.hopecapetown.com or any other sign of solidarity.

Codvid-19 shows us, that we are all in the same boat – that we are part of something much bigger we as humans can only master in parts. It is a strong reminder that the power of humanity has its limitation and that human mankind might have forgotten about it. Economy alone and constant economic progress is no salvation, but becomes part of a problem as shown by a small little virus shutting virtually down this world as we know it.

Covid-19 can be a game-changer of our mindsets, it can make us more aware and more humble, it can point out the faults of our societies and it can raise an awareness, many NGOs embody in their daily work. We as the human race owe each other, and we owe creation in a much deeper way we normally realize. Time to readjust our awareness – a lock-down time is not only a challenge but also an opportunity to reflect and to do better afterwards. Not because we are scared, but because we have learned something for life. And in doing so, we create hope in the times of a lock-down.

Filed under: Africa, General, Medical and Research, Networking, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, South Africa, , , , , , , ,

Looking for a meaningful contribution to South Africa? Look not further…

VOCATIONAL TRAINING IN A HOLISTIC FRAMEWORK: SAGCCI AND HOPE CAPE TOWN PILOT PROJECT

The Hope Cape Town Trust (HOPE) and the SA – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAGCCI) have entered into a MoU to create an integrated socioeconomic project in Delft (WP).
Forging partnerships that will yield the best results for the benefit of the Youth of under-resourced areas of Cape Town are key to our strategy. All stakeholders have to work together to maximize the potential of this training program.

SAGCCI has developed programs that complement and supplement curricula so that trainees are exposed to a variety of content and hands-on practices.

By providing additional academic and social support, HOPE Cape Town prepares the Youth who have the potential to succeed in further developing their analytical and critical thinking skills.
Jointly, the SAGCCI and HOPE Cape Town have developed a curriculum revolution by understanding the Youth from under-resourced communities, building humanizing relationships and enabling the trainees to be the innovators in their learning.

HOPE Cape Town undertakes to establish a separate and autonomous training center in Delft.
SAGCCI will provide TETA accredited tuition to trainees while they obtain their practical work experience under the mentorship of specifically accomplished trainers within nearby Logistics companies.

To achieve this within the desired time frame, HOPE Cape Town undertakes to marshal resources from foundations and the business sector. Furthermore, HOPE Cape Town will provide administration, liaison, security and maintenance for the center. The associated operational costs of running the center will also be born by HOPE Cape Town.

Through their CSI strategies and budgets, companies are invited to participate in the transformation of under-developed communities into sustainable communities by way of a multipronged holistic approach with a focus on a variety of available and accessible interventions and services.

HOPE Cape Town is a registered non-profit organization with PBO and a Level 4 BBBEE status.
Hope will provide you with an 18A certificate for contributions and thereby raise your BBBEE scorecard level for a contribution from your Corporate Social Investment budget towards one of the six focus areas that are aligned with your CSI strategy:

  • HIV and Healthcare Services
  • Social and Outreach Assistance
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Youth and Adult Education
  • Dual Vocational Training and Education
  • Skills Development, Entrepreneurship, Micro-Enterprises

This venture creates a win – win situation for all of us. Please discuss the proposal, which was presented at the Back to Work functions of the Chamber in Cape Town and in Johannesburg, with the relevant colleagues in your company.

FOR MORE DETAILED BACKGROUND ON THE PILOT PROJECT PLEASE CONTACT:

Ms Marlene Whitehead
Hope Cape Town
Phone: 021 507 5757

E-mail: marlene.whitehead@hopecapetown.com
info@hopecapetown.com

Thank you and best regards,

Matthias Boddenberg 
Chief  Executive

Southern African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry NPC
P.O. Box 87078, Houghton 2041
47, Oxford Road, Forest Town, 2193
Johannesburg, South Africa
Tel. +27 (0)11 486 2775
Fax: +27 (0)866 791 206
mboddenberg@germanchamber.co.za
www.germanchamber.co.za
www.africa-business-guide.de

Filed under: Africa, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, SA-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Society and living environment, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Share your Christmas joy (in German language)

Even if the blog is in English, for all my German friends a video spot to invite you considering to share the Christmas joy with some of our South African children battling to have a life

Wer die Weihnachtsfreude noch teilen moechte, dem empfehle ich nicht nur dieses Video, sondern danach auch den Besuch unserer Webseite: www.hopecapetown.com. Teilen erwuenscht. hopecapetown charityfundraising lovewins sharingiscaring africa kinder hiv ecd

More info: http://www.hopecapetown.com in German and English language. Be an ambassador for HOPE in this world.

 

Filed under: Africa, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

South Africa on the edge – and why NGO’s are in this time so important

We have to be honest: Corruption, the inability of freedom fighters turned politicians, sheer greed and no time to develop proper political and social leadership under the pressure and expectations of the new dawn – all those factors have brought South Africa on the edge of disaster – painted nicely in very dark colors yesterday with declaring “Stage 6” of load shedding. A very nice word for mismanagement as well as non existing or minimal maintenance by Eskom officials and the result of a transformation policy kicking out institutional knowledge and beefing up manpower far more than the operations necessitate.

It is felt like a time of crisis, a time of anxiety and a time where people and society feels left alone fighting forces on a daily base they can’t influence – being at the mercy of irrational SOE’s and broken services deliveries and somehow a very bleak future.
In such times the power of NGO’s and civil society organizations are coming to the front: they are often the rescue net for many ordinary citizens – they are able to give hold and a perspective for those feeling powerless, they are passing on the small flame of hope – in the darkness of load shedding a small flame has indeed the power to light up and guide the way.
In such times it becomes clear that politics alone can’t solve a countries problems or cover all the missteps done in the past. Non-governmental organizations, volunteers and all those forces for good are the stabilizing factors making sure that the social fabric of society is not completely broken.

Such times may be a wake-up call for the future that politics recognize more than ever before the need to develop a culture of cooperation, of reliable partnerships to strengthen the service delivery people are deserving on a daily base. In South Africa this culture is still in its infancy – often one has the impression that NGO’s are gap-filler or paid cheap sub-contractors of state entities not living up to the promises of past elections. It is time to elevate those relationships onto an eye-to-eye level.

At the end state entities and NGO’s are serving the same people – they are called to support the dignity of every citizen and enable him / her to live life to fullest as guaranteed by the constitution and the Bills of Rights.

NGO’s can’t replace government run services, but they complement and at times like ours even cushion lack of service and soften the anxiety and fear attached to it. In doing so they also cushion and influence the picture, in this case South Africa is giving to the rest of the world. All a reason more to realize how important NGO’s are in our times.

 

Filed under: Africa, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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