African Bank is striving to relieve the plight of the hungry during the coronavirus crisis and is also working hard to make sure that the bright future that South African students were looking forward to, is not interrupted through its involvement with key partners.
“The nature of the coronavirus epidemic means that it has impacted on every single area of our lives; not just our health and mental wellbeing, but also the economies of our households and even education,” comments African Bank’s Senior Manager: CSI, Kennedy Dembetembe. “There are so many ways in which we could help, but we decided that African Bank stood to make the most impact if we focused on providing food relief to vulnerable communities, especially since there are so many people whose livelihoods have been affected by the lockdown.” Dembetembe adds that the bank is also supporting students whose futures may otherwise be disrupted.
In an effort to amplify its efforts, African Bank has joined forces with Rise Against Hunger and Afrika Tikkun to reduce the number of households that go without meals during lockdown. “We chose these organisations specifically because both place emphasis on communities living in extreme poverty. More importantly, both have a strong accent on providing assistance to households comprising women, youth, and persons with disabilities,” Dembetembe explains. At the same time, the spread between both charities ensures that African Bank is able to reach out to South Africans in both rural and urban areas, as Rise Against Hunger has targeted the former, while Afrika Tikkun serves the latter in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
When it comes to providing student support, African Bank’s partners include the Yenze Foundation, the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Cape Town. “We’re making it possible for vulnerable final year students to access data and resources so that they are able to complete this vital academic year,” Dembetembe says. Funding provided by African Bank is making it possible for the institutions to furnish students with laptops: UCT is aiming to distribute 4 000 laptops, while WITS’s target stands at 5 000 students who either qualify for NSFAS funding or form part of the missing middle. Meanwhile, the Yenze Foundation is making data available directly to students from the Tshwane University of Technology, the Vaal University of Technology, North West University and the University of Limpopo. “This ensures students are able to access online lessons,” Dembetembe points out.
Added to this, African Bank is driving an internal campaign, encouraging staff – and senior staff, especially – to make their own donation to a charitable cause.
“There is always a positive to be derived from even the most dire situations, and in this case, it’s the fact that South Africa has been united as we fight against a common enemy: the coronavirus. African Bank is exceptionally proud to be able to make a contribution, and one which we believe really counts,” Dembetembe concludes.