On Wednesday 22 July 2020, the Africa Unite Singamakhalipha team went out to the Europe informal settlement in Gugulethu to hand over hand sanitizers to the people living in the community. In the event, we had community members and leaders, chairperson of the leading committee, Mr. Dyasi Boneka, and secretary Asanda Bikwe. We have conducted the event outside the community hall. They have assisted us in the distribution of the sanitizers and making sure that regulations are maintained and that there was an order or members who were repeating on the taking the items as it was hard to identify when one is the same person since people had masks on. It was easy for them to identify as they were familiar with members of the community.
The aim was to conduct an awareness of the importance of sanitizing hands and how that will benefit one from protecting the spread of the coronavirus. To give the community members access to sanitizers which can often be inaccessible to some people living in disadvantaged communities. In that way, they had an opportunity to experience or experiment with the use of the hand sanitizer and how effortless it is and saves water. To provide an awareness while they were queuing for their turn to access the sanitizer.
The facilitators engaged with community members in discussion while they were in ques to access the sanitizer where they addressed the myths and false information regarding the COVID-19. One of the facilitators randomly asked the members about their knowledge on the Covid-19 and to others about regulations. One of the members shared that for him, he does not believe that it does exist as much as they claim an increase of numbers, he does not have any person that close or he knows who had the virus. Other does not get why they should stay at home will protect them from getting the virus. They appreciated the access of sanitizer as they believe that washing the hands as a source of protection.
We managed to reach out to both the adults and children, we started with the school children aged 7 to 18 as at first were the majority which was organized by the community leaders. Later on, adults joined in and this resulted in the facilitators to split into two teams serving both the adults and children.
When we arrived in the community, we were met by some of the leaders of the community at the local hall, where some children were already eagerly waiting for us to arrive. At first, we introduced ourselves to one of the leaders, who told us that there are mostly children around as the adults are at work. We then proceeded to hand out sanitizers to the children who were between the ages of 7-18, as we were handing these sanitizers to the children, we noticed an increasing number of adults appearing, this resulted in us having to split into two teams, one to continue handing out sanitizers to the children and one to see to the adults. Due to the increase in the number of adults, we had to limit the children’s line to the age group 12 -17, this caused some adults to become disgruntled, as they felt some of their children didn’t benefit from this handout, this issue was swiftly dealt with by the team and we continued our work unhindered.
By the end of the hour we spent in the community, more than 300 people benefited from the handing out of these sanitizers and we managed to help keep more hands germ and virus free. We hope we can continue to help keep our community’s virus free and sanitized, to help combat the spread and continue to maintain good relations with the people living in these communities.