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Closed 29/02/2024
The Marwyn Trust

Sumbandila and Covid-19

Like you, and many all over the world, we a reeling from the effects of Covid-19. Suddenly the world has turned upside down and like so many, the world over, we are in crisis and our core focus has shifted.
by 4 supporters
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Closed on 29/02/2024
RCN 1128276

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Below are the major challenges we face and what we are doing;

1. Our children do not have access to computers in their homes. Moreover, whilst Riverdale (a USA school) so kindly donated laptops and iPads to us, they are redundant in the villages where our children cannot afford Wi-Fi and often electricity is also too expensive. Yet another concern is, is that these devices are a security risk in their village homes.

2. Our students all have mobile phones but data in this country is prohibitively expensive and there is no such thing as free Wi Fi in their villages. Often there is inadequate signal for cell phones, even for text messages.

3. They live in extremely cramped situations, where social distancing is impossible, and studying in private, or at night, is not an option.

4. Our Residential students have had to leave the comfort of the Sumbandila hostel, where they are given three meals a day and go home to families that have meagre supplies and even water is a challenge in some homes.

5. Many of our 129 university students have had to leave the comfort of the university residences and return home where they will face the same challenges.

6. Our Saturday school and holiday school programmes have had to be cancelled. Not only were they critical academic support to 113 students, but they also provided familial support, food, recreation and fun.

7. Many people have already lost their jobs and there are many more job losses to come. Our students, by definition, come from low income families so mercifully many of them survive on government grants but ironically it is those who were employed, that will suffer most.

8. Most critically, we do not have adequate hospitals in the deep rural areas, and the old and the frail are most at risk.

9. Unlike Western society, the grandmothers in particular, play a vital role in the survival of the village. In many homes the grandmothers are the primary caregivers for two or three generations of children and their meagre pensions are the sole income of the entire family.

What can Sumbandila do?

1. We are setting up a toll free help line for our students.

2. We are hoping to open the hostel as a home after 14th April, where children will get proper nutrition and Wi-Fi to continue their studies.

3. We have two university hostels in Pretoria where students have access to Wi-Fi and can continue studying.

4. We have and will continue to provide wood, food, water and sanitising kits to our students in the villages as long as our resources last.

5. We have educated our students about the virus and asked them to be agents of support in their communities and homes. We have explained how important it is to protect their grandparents as best they can and have handed out a supply of vitamin C for those over 70.

6. We have stocked up on hand sanitizer and tinned food.

7. We will keep regularly in touch and do our best to assist academically, nutritionally but most importantly psychologically. Our children are frightened.

About the charity

The Marwyn Trust

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RCN 1128276
Supporting Sumbandila to provide scholarships to private schools and educational outreach programs to children in rural areas in South Africa, to transform the lives of underprivileged children, creating entrepreneurs and leaders who will make significant contributions to the future of South Africa.

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