Caring for Children during the SA Lockdown is not business as usual

Abraham Kriel Bambanani continues to care for vulnerable Children and Youth, as we have always done, despite Covid-19 and the current lockdown. But it is most certainly not business as usual.

Until recently we had 600 children and youth in our care programmes in the communities of Soweto and Westbury. Overnight that number has increased almost three-fold to 1 774 in these programmes alone. All the family members with whom our beneficiaries live, are now also dependent upon the food parcels we distribute. This meant an immediate additional expense of R172 000 in April.

Abraham Kriel Bambanani (AKB) provides an essential service. People are dependent upon the organisation for their survival. Under normal conditions, the families of our beneficiaries have some means to supplement that which the children receive by way of a daily cooked meal, bread and fruit. In order to protect both staff and children from infection, we stopped the distribution of daily meals and the visits of children to drop-in centres and replaced it with food parcels. These food parcels were supposed to last for the first 21 days of the lockdown. Halfway through this period, however, the first distress calls started to come through and emergency supplies had to be taken to families in dire need.

Mr Paul Momsen, CEO of Abraham Kriel Bambanani, is firm in his belief that circumstances are unusual and the response has to be in line with what the country requires of the organisation now.

“Right now, we have to offer the best that we can. If we need to serve a bigger portion of the community, we will use all the resources and infrastructure that we have to do that to the best of our ability. We are ready to be of service and grateful to be able to provide relief,” said Mr Momsen.

The organisation is geared to handle the lockdown and to do its part in minimising the spread of the virus. It has 19 houses and a baby unit for children in need of care in children’s homes, where abused, abandoned and neglected children as well as children with special needs live. They are cared for by child care workers. The organisation has thus far been successful in preventing infection of children and staff. This has taken an extraordinary effort from management and care staff, who now also have to take responsibility for home schooling of the children. The carers are exhausted, but the children are thriving on a programme of activities and the additional household responsibilities in the absence of support staff.

However, the organisation now faces a real risk of falling through the cracks when it comes to funding. In April AKB approached a number of donors in the corporate world, who have donated regularly in the past. The majority of them now indicate that they are flooded with requests and cannot help.

“We understand. The crisis is real. Their help is going to the national bodies that, in turn, may fund smaller NGOs.,” notes Momsen.

The general guideline is that an NGO must have a turnover of less than R5 million and no more than 30 staff members in order to qualify for support. AKB’s turnover and staff count exceeds that by a significant margin.

“With the greater turnover and more staff members, we can and do achieve more and we can and do reach more beneficiaries,” says Momsen. Yet, donor funding will not be available for AKB’s programmes.

Abraham Kriel Bambanani is dependent upon donor support for more than 60% of its annual income. Of this, a major portion is income from corporate donors. Apart from the challenges accessing corporate donor funding, AKB has also had to cancel or postpone a variety of fundraising events in line with social distancing guidelines.

“We are exceedingly grateful to the many individuals who support the organisation generously from their own money. This helps and it is a great encouragement to all. However, it cannot replace all the contributions we used to get from corporates in South Africa, which can naturally fund much bigger elements in the budget,” says Momsen.

His final message to is: “We urge decisionmakers to remember both what the bigger organisations like Abraham Kriel Bambanani have to offer, not only during this crisis, but in the long run. We still need to be around when the immediate crisis has passed.

“There will still be children in need that go hungry, that are abused, and that are abandoned. Society will still need the infrastructure, the expertise, and experience we can offer, both to the world of business that wishes to make a meaningful difference and to the NGO sector. We need your support!”

Visit our website www.abrahamkriel.org or call Hilda du Toit on 082  8942458 for more information

 Abraham Kriel Bambanani has been in operation in Greater Johannesburg and the East Rand since 1902. It normally cares for more than 1000 children and youth in two children’s homes, seven group homes, four programmes for orphans and vulnerable children in the communities of Soweto and Westbury, a skills development centre, and an early childhood development centre. Abraham Kriel Bambanani has a reputation as an accountable and transparent organisation with excellent governance systems. For more information on how the organisation deals with the current situation i.r.o.Covid-19, please visit www.abrahamkriel.org

SA is in ‘n Grendelstaat en Abraham Kriel Bambanani voorsien waar hulle kan

Abraham Kriel Bambanani sorg steeds vir kwesbare kinders en jongmense, net soos ons altyd gedoen het, ten spyte van die Corona virus en die huidige grendelstaat. Maar die nood het drasties toegeneem.

Tot onlangs het ons 600 kinders en jeugdiges versorg in ons programme in die gemeenskappe van Soweto en Westbury. Oornag het die getal amper verdriedubbel na 1774. Die gesinslede wat saam met die kinders woon is eensklaps ook afhanklik van die kospakkies wat ons versprei. Dit het ‘n onmiddellike bykomende uitgawe van R172 000 tot gevolg gehad vir April.

Abraham Kriel Bambanani (AKB) se diens is noodsaaklik. Mense is afhanklik van hierdie organisasie vir hulle oorlewing. Onder normale omstandighede het gesinslede van ons begunstigdes tog toegang tot bronne om hulle lewensmiddele aan te vul, bo en behalwe die enkele gekookte ete, brood en vrugte wat ons aan die kinders verskaf. Ten einde personeel én kinders teen infeksie te beskerm, is die lewering van daaglikse etes en besoeke van kinders aan ons ‘drop-in’ sentra gestaak en vervang met kospakkies. Die kospakkies moes 21 dae hou. Halfpad deur die tydperk, het die eerste noodroepe egter begin deurkom en moes noodvoorrade inderhaas na gesinne geneem word.

Mnr Paul Momsen, Uitvoerende Hoof van Abraham Kriel Bambanani, staan vas in sy oortuiging dat die ongewone omstandighede ‘n buitengewone respons vereis. Die organisasie moet reageer inaggenome die behoeftes van die land.

“Nou is die tyd om ons beste te gee. Indien ons ‘n groter proporsie van die gemeenskap moet versorg tydens hulle huidige nood, sal ons die bronne en infrastruktuur waaroor ons beskik, aanwend om dit tot die beste van ons vermoë te doen. Ons is gereed om van diens te wees en dankbaar dat ons dit kan doen,” het Momsen gesê.

Die organisasie het alle reëlings in plek om die grendelstaat te hanteer en sy deel te doen om die verspreiding van die virus te beperk. AKB bedryf 19 huise en ‘n eenheid vir babas wat versorging nodig het. Hier woon kinders wat mishandel, verlaat of verwaarloos is, asook kinders met spesiale behoeftes. Kinderversorgers sien na hulle om. Die organisasie het tot dusver daarin geslaag om infeksies van kinders of personeel te voorkom. Dit het ‘n buitengewone poging vereis van bestuur én personeel, wat nou ook vir kinders moet tuisonderrig gee. Die kinderversorgers is gedaan, maar die kinders vaar verbasend goed met al die aktiwiteite wat aangebied word, asook die addisionele huistake waarvoor hulle verantwoordelik is in die afwesigheid van huisassistente.

Die organisasie loop egter tans die gevaar om grootskaalse befondsing te verloor. Tydens April het AKB verskeie korporatiewe donateurs, wat in die verlede gehelp het, genader vir befondsing. Die oorgrote meerderheid het aangedui dat hulle oorweldig is deur aansoeke en nie sal kan help nie.

“Ons verstaan. Die krisis is ‘n werklikheid. Hulle hulp gaan aan nasionale instansies, wat op hulle beurt weer kleiner nie-regeringsorganisasies befonds,” sê Momsen.

Die algemene riglyn is dat so ‘n organisasie ‘n omset van R5 miljoen of minder moet hê en nie meer as 30 personeellede nie. AKB se omset en personeelgetalle oorskry daardie riglyne.

“Met die groter omset en personeelgetalle kan ons meer doen en bereik ons inderdaad meer en help ons meer mense en kinders,” sê Momsen. Nogtans gaan donateursbefondsing nie beskikbaar wees vir AKB se programme nie.

Abraham Kriel Bambanani is afhanklik van donateurs se ondersteuning vir meer as 60% van sy jaarlikse inkomste. Hiervan is die leeue-aandeel inkomste van korporatiewe donateurs in Suid-Afrika. Buiten hierdie uitdagings, moes die organisasie verskeie fondswerwingsfunksies kanselleer of uitstel as gevolg van die beperking op sosiale interaksie.

“Ons is besonder dankbaar teenoor talle individue wat die organisasie mildelik ondersteun met hulle eie geld. Dit help en is baie bemoedigend vir almal in die organisasie. Dit kan egter nie die bydraes van die korporatiewe sektor vervang nie. Uit die aard van die saak is maatskappye in staat om veel groter elemente van die begroting te befonds,” sê Momsen.

Sy finale boodskap is: “Ons vra besluitnemers om die volgende in ag te neem: Groter organisasies soos Abraham Kriel Bambanani het veel te bied, nie net tydens hierdie krisis nie, maar ook op die lang duur. Dit is belangrik dat ons steeds daar sal wees, ook wanneer die krisis verby is.

“Daar sal steeds kinders wees wat honger ly, wat mishandel word, of wat bloot net verlaat word. Die samelewing sal steeds die infrastruktuur, die kundigheid en die ervaring wat ons kan bied, benodig. Dit geld vir besighede, wat graag ‘n betekenisvolle verskil wil maak én die nie-regeringsektor. Ons het u steun nodig!”

Besoek ons webblad www.abrahamkriel.org of skakel Hilda du Toit by 082 894 2458 vir meer inligting.

Abraham Kriel Bambanani funksioneer sedert 1902 in Groter Johannesburg en die Oos-Rand. Normaalweg versorg die instansie 1 000+ kinders en jeug in twee kinderhuise, sewe groephuise en vier programme vir wees- en kwesbare kinders in die gemeenskappe van Soweto en Westbury, ’n vaardigheidsentrum in Emdeni en ’n vroeë kinderontwikkelingsentrum. Abraham Kriel Bambanani het ’n reputasie as ’n verantwoordbare en deursigtige organisasie met uitstekende beheerstelsels. Vir meer inligting oor hoe die organisasie die huidige Covid-19 situasie hanteer, besoek gerus www.abrahamkriel.org