In accordance to the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 is a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that has been confirmed as the causative virus of COVID-19. To date. COVID-19 has become a global pandemic that continues to spread across the globe, it appears to remain largely in refutation about the scale of the COVID-19 crisis, which would once have been unimaginable. Following President Cyril Ramaposa’s national address about COVID-19 and leading to the current 21-day lockdown. As After School Programmes focused in Education intervention we had to make unbelievably difficult, relatively immediate decisions as we all respond responsibly and transparently to the health precautions in curbing the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home and interchange to working remotely.
We have managed to engage with few organizations and we learn that the choices being made fluctuate with various types of organizations and programme structures. A huge cohort of After School programmes had to move their engagement with beneficiaries online as ensuring continuous learning support, especially for Grade 12 learners who will be deskbound for their final October/November examinations.
We all find it very challenging considering our limited budgets to effectively implement virtual learning, more especially that we serve underprivileged communities, where our learners have restricted access to the internet and electronic devices. We learn that philanthropy is not yet acquittal to additional funds and corporations are having problems of their own.
As young driven NGO leaders, we are faced by these issues and it is our responsibility to find innovative ways for us to continue being sustainable during this pandemic times. We don’t just worry only about our organization’s survival and the learners we serve; concerns go also to our staff members who are vital to our effectiveness and the reason we continue supporting learners to access tertiary education and pull themselves and each other out of the cycle of poverty.
Funding Relief has been made available to Small Businesses and recently released by the Small Business Development Department. We have over hundreds of After School programmes serving thousand leaners across the country but still being miscalculated. I think it is high time our government, donors and funders need to sacrifice more deeply than they have for After school programmes for the common good.
We need to stand together to contribute to this contemporary complex situation. The socio-economic challenges faced by South Africa arising from poverty, inequality and unemployment, require communities and civil society organisations to work with the government and private institutions for greater social impact. We seek to explore opportunities to innovate and enhance the After School contributions whilst leading by example in all of our work and embracing principles of a learning organisation.
Bokang Mokoena, Executive Director, PYMA