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"Recounting the hardships impoverished South African families had to go through over these past few months is a near-impossible task", says FXB South Africa's country director Stevie Megens.
From the principals who discovered their schools had been vandalized and burgled, to children forced to stay in quarantine often from dysfunctional and abusive households; to township residents living with HIV, cancer and other life-threatening diseases who had to forego medical help, either by necessity or from fear of contracting the virus. This to name only a few heart-breaking accounts in a population that has already suffered so much.
But that’s not the takeaway Stevie wants to insist upon. “What struck us the most was the resilience shown by the families during lockdown. Parents exhibited such positivity and optimism, despite many of them having lost their jobs and their main concern being how they were going to feed their children”, she says. “They were always so incredibly welcoming, and so happy to take part in the various activities we supplied or asked the children to do, like playing games or reading stories and even filming their children reciting poems they wrote during lockdown or displaying the face-masks they had been challenged to make.”
“There are so many stories that touched our hearts. And seeing how grateful everyone was for the food parcels we distributed and psycho-social support we offered, as well as how we were able, despite all the struggles, to bring some comfort and relief into their homes, due to the unwavering support of our donors, this is really what keeps us going in times like this”, she says.