South Africa: when kids go hungry – Elsenburg’s women fill the food parcel ‘gap’

A young child being measured for signs of malnutrition (file photo).

In the Winelands district of the Western Cape, one community has taken COVID-19 humanitarian relief into their own hands.

Throughout lockdown, residents of the small farming community of Elsenburg outside Stellenbosch watched on their television screens how people in the more urban areas fought for government food parcels. Community members say they never got any of these parcels.

So, a local community organisation, Ubuntu Rural Women and Youth Movement, stepped up and took action. The organisation provided food parcels and meals to the most vulnerable in their own and neighbouring communities.

During the hard lockdown, many women in this community lost their jobs as farm workers, but did everything in their power to shield their children from facing extreme hunger.

Ouma Magrieta Van Rooyen is one of them.

As the summer sun beats down on the brick houses of the small farm community her smile spills over the upper corners of her mask. She tells Spotlight about a young boy who goes door to door asking for food, but as the lockdown got longer, his meal requests became more specific. If she gave him bread with jam, he wanted it with peanut butter; she says laughing. Or if she gave the bread with peanut butter, he had the cheek to ask for cheese and tomato; she adds. No matter the case – be it jam or peanut butter- Van Rooyen like the other women in this community, always ensure that the children are fed. Read more…

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