We have several new projects in the pipeline, covering a wide array of human need. Most require either skills or funding. We invite local businesses, schools and individuals to get behind these ideas to help build a better South Africa.
Sight to the Blind
Many underprivileged people don’t even realise their vision is poor. All they know is that they have difficulty reading documents or filling out forms correctly – or that they keep making errors at work. Even those who know their eyesight is poor don’t realise that a pair of reading glasses can instantly solve the problem. Providing reading glasses to poor and needy people is a simple and cost effective intervention that will make a huge difference to their quality of life.
South Africa has thousands of homeless, jobless people who are unable to support themselves, or even put food on the table. We want to help these people become productive market gardeners and subsistence farmers. It’s an ambitious project; we only have to look beyond our northern borders for the perfect example of how not to do it! In most cases, new farmers fail because they lack resources and skills. But if we can encourage established farms to ‘twin’ with these mini farmers … share their knowledge and allow access to farming implements … it could open the door to food security for thousands.
Adopt a street/intersection
We’ve all seen beggars and informal traders scratching a living on our city streets. Imagine if these people had the opportunity to learn skills or relocate to twinned mini-farms that offer hope of a more secure and stable income. The idea is to get the intersections ‘sponsored’ by businesses for a monthly fee that would go towards the cost of running new income generating projects. In addition, motorists who normally support the beggars could deposit donations into a fund to provide a better alternative for these people.
High nutrition food/drink for school children
We all know that ‘you can’t teach a hungry child’. But the reality is that there are millions of undernourished children in South Africa, who are struggling to learn because they can’t concentrate. If we could provide them with supplementary nutrition, it would make all the difference. Not only would they do better in class, their whole future would look a lot brighter. We want to partner with food suppliers to develop SSvP branded nutrition packs, which would be handed out in schools where there are high numbers of malnourished children. In addition, we’d encourage schools in more affluent areas to ‘twin’ with their less fortunate peers to ensure that all children get the right start in life.
Low cost housing
Decent housing is a huge need for South Africa’s ever increasing population. Government low cost housing projects are often undertaken on an ad hoc basis, resulting in inferior quality structures at inflated prices. And yet there are many small construction companies that could easily tackle this kind of basic building work. With planning and suitable design and building partners, it should be possible to provide simple housing of a good standard for a low fixed cost.
Basic skills training and education
SSvP conferences are often approached by students looking for help with fees or additional tutoring. Given that most students will need support for years, the cost of helping them mounts up alarmingly. Since it’s impossible to help them all, assistance is usually given on a first come, first served basis. In other cases, the decision to help is based on a personal relationship with one of our SSvP members. If we are going to continue providing student support, we need to develop guidelines at national level relating to the type, level and cost limits of the support we provide. For example we may limit our support to primary, matric or university level – or support students who need job skills training.
Estimates vary, but it seems that around 50% of working age people in South Africa are unemployed. Individuals often approach us for help in finding work. Many of these job seekers are poorly qualified, making the task more difficult. And again, it is difficult to decide who we can help. If we are going to provide job search assistance it should be on the basis of a national project.