Creativity in the face of the pandemic - a message from South Africa
COVID19 continues to be a determining factor in our lives in South Africa. Our lifestyle remain those of wearing, masks, sanitizing and maintaining social distance. South Africa has had its unfortunate share of COVID1919 related deaths that effect the communities, and family members across the nation; the families we support are not an exception.
Basic health care and nutrition has long been a challenge for the communities we support and COVID19 has made the hole deeper. The new Coronavirus norm means that everyone is trying to find and recreate themselves as a form of survival - we are all social beings and staying at home is impacting on the mental health of people in way that we are yet to understand too. Our Safe Parks have had repeated episodes of closure and reopening, meaning that we have had to adapt and think creatively in order to maintain a positive impact in the lives of the children we serve in Ekurhuleni.
Social media and access to the internet have proved to be a way for people to interact and remain in contact. We have leaned into this technology to maintain services, creating a Digital Safe Park online platform, where we hence have been able to maintain contact with children, provide them with educational and creative activities which have helped them to explore their experience of lockdown. As the saying goes ‘an idle mind is the devil’s playground!’
We had awarded monthly prizes for the most creative engagement, awarding vouchers for books or anything else that they might need to support their education. This is important given the repeated closure of schools and the children’s need for support when it comes to their studies. Many have seen the space as a chance to push on with their education independently, others have struggled and needed more support through our Digital Safe Park contact.
We remain dedicated to supporting our beneficiaries especially through these trying times for everyone. We all hope and pray that we will reach a time where COVID19 will be a thing of the past but now as we are battling the pandemic, we are dedicated to thinking out of the box to reach the vulnerable children we serve and continue to help them to ensure that their life stories are positive ones.