Never before has our country made a more drastic and costly decision than the current lockdown.  As worrying as the lockdown is, one thing is clear: it’s the right decision.  The sanctity of human life must be prioritised above all else.   There is only one objective: Save lives by preventing infections through SELF-ISOLATION.

In this context, PEN is currently focusing on 2 clear goals:

Protect the homeless

For the pandemic and the lockdown to end, all must self-isolate.  However, this is extremely difficult to achieve for our homeless community who are particularly at risk.  The mix of malnutrition, addiction, TB and HIV are a perfect storm for COVID-19 to manifest in the most severe way.  These people are scared and more desperate than ever.  However, it is extremely difficult to provide any services to the homeless without inadvertently causing hundreds of people to congregate.  A context that is again perfect for the virus to take hold.

PEN, in partnership with the Tshwane Homeless Forum (including NGO’s like TLF), has set up 11 shelters that enable social distancing for nearly 350 homeless people.  Our process ensures that people are screened by a healthcare worker and social worker so that those over 55 years of age, women with children, those with addictions and those with comorbid diseases are accommodated separately.  Clear “house rules” are in place and each person has a sleeping space with a 2m distancing.

We urgently need assistance to keep these fellow South Africans hygienic and COVID free during the lockdown and are calling for donations of the following:

  • 2nd hand clothing (Men, women, children, babies.  NB Underwear and socks)
  • Bedding: blankets, pillows, camping mattresses
  • Toiletries: Bars of soap, facecloths, toothbrushes, toothpaste, vaseline, body lotion
  • Cleaning materials: Domestos, handy andy, dishwashing liquid, auto laundry powder, bathroom cleaner
  • Food: Tin cups, canned products, maize meal, long-life milk, pasta, packet soup, soya mince, oats, rice, coffee, tea, rusks.
  • Medical equipment focussing on basic content for a Medical Aid Kit
  • Financial contributions to cover water, electricity and shelter management costs.

Any excess in-kind donations will be delivered to other sites that are accommodating homeless people or to other PEN projects serving beneficiaries in need.

Support vulnerable young children

Our second focus is to support vulnerable young children and their parents.

We are determined also, to see the opportunities that this crisis brings.  Our socio-economic context means that usually most little people have very little time with their parent/s.  The lockdown brings a beautiful opportunity for families to spend time together.  We are sharing a contextually accessible, culturally relevant, digitally available education program for the 3000 young children, reached by the PEN Pre-school Forum, to have some structure,  stimulation and fun at home with their parents!  If after the lockdown, parent-child relationships are stronger and parents see the results of investing in their child’s development, our families will be stronger, our youth will be stronger, and our nation will be stronger.

Checkout the PEN Preschool Forum Facebook page to see this special initiative in action.

Early spring Breaze

Why not spring clean your toy cupboard during the lockdown?  We are collecting toys, books, puzzles, balls and board games for our young children and youth programme kids to use when they are back at school!

We have partnered with eBlockwatch, National Security and the Breaze app to enable in-kind donations during the lockdown.

All you need to do is download the Breaze app and register; select the “PEN Store”; add the items that you would like to donate to the cart; add your address and submit.  A security vehicle will come to your home to collect the items and deliver them to PEN at no cost to you.