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Sunshine in times of COVID-19

It is with a heavy heart and desperate plea that we send out this message on behalf of the people of Wolwerivier and your beloved Sunshine children.

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc worldwide but nowhere has it created such desperate poverty as in South Africa. Since 27th of March we have been in hard lock down with the vast majority of industries closed from any economic activity. Small businesses are closing, people are being laid off and the few that are able to work are doing so with a severely reduced income.

The South African government put aside R5Billion in aid to support people financially during this time but the full amount has been plundered and wasted by corrupt officials, leaving the people in desperate hunger. Grants of a mere R350 per person was promised and never delivered. Middle class families are loosing their homes and cannot put food on the table.

As you are aware, the residents of Wolwerivier rely almost entirely on jobs such as domestic work, farm work and other minimum wage labour jobs. The farms are mainly wine farms and due to the ban on alcohol sales, wine farms have been unable to operate. Several are facing permanent closure. So those who had seasonal work on farms, were unable to get employment. The middle class economic melt down has left the majority of domestic staff without employment as their employers cannot afford them.

This has left Sunshine trying to fend for an entire community of people who would otherwise have almost no food. Already impoverished children who were reliant on the cooked meals they received at school, would be left with nothing. As a result, we have been cooking food daily for over 1000 people as opposed to the 58 children we fed before this pandemic struck. We cook up to 16 commercial sized pots of food every time.

We are currently in week 20 of this lock down and there is still no end in sight.

We desperately and urgently need your help to continue. The ingredients alone are around R15 000 per week. The gas for our stove is R500 per week. The fuel to deliver the food daily is a further R500 per week. We are unable to do this on the sponsorship we currently receive and humbly ask for people to assist. Our COVID crisis in South Africa is far from over, positive cases are still rising with the townships and settlements being the main hotspots due to the difficulty of social distancing and a lack of personal protection equipment. Wolwerivier has had two confirmed COVID deaths and we are sure there are many positive cases there.

The people need nutrition now, more than ever. Their immune systems will not withstand this virus without it.

We would like to encourage people to participate not only by making donations (which we would humbly appreciate) but by being active in assisting us with fundraising. Without it, Sunshine just cannot continue this fight for survival. We are already personally in extreme debt as a result of this but we have nothing more to put in.

A further issue to our food concern is our bus. We only have the one vehicle which travels a very challenging road. Our vehicle is 3 years old and has never had new tyres. Our tyres are worn and the thread is becoming dangerously low. We are going to need new tyres very soon or we will no longer be able to deliver food. We cannot have the food prepared in Wolwerivier as we cannot control the conditions under which it is prepared. We personally cook to ensure proper sterilization and food preparation, especially as there are confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wolwerivier and we cannot control exposure so we ourselves do not know who all are infected.

In the history of Sunshine, we have never had to resort to mass emails and begging to survive but this is unprecedented times and we cannot stand by whilst children go hungry. Unfortunately there is only so much we can do and we desperately need your help.

These children are the most happy children we’ve all met in our lives. Every time we are in Wolwe dropping the food, they run to the car, jump up and down with joy and shout our names. Their love and happiness hasn’t changed a bit during the last 20 weeks and they keep asking every day when they can come back to Sunshine. There is nothing else in the world we would want right now than to keep doing what we are doing. Because of the pandemic you are not able to be here with us and with the children, but by helping us fundraise you can be part of the solution and we can make the lives of these children a little bit better every day!

How you can help?

·       Share our message with your friends and family! Try adding a personalised message about your experience here with us.

·       Talk to your church, community, school or work to do a fundraiser on our behalf. For example: have a raffle or cake sale, invite your friends for a dinner and charge them per plate.

Any amount will help us, even small amounts can make a big difference! Visit our website (http://sunshineschool.co.za/get-involved/donations/) to access our bank details and Paypal link.

If you want or need any extra information or help with your fundraiser, please do not hesitate to contact Marileen. You can reply to this email or whatsapp me on +27 79 245 1242.

Warmest Sunshine regards,

Nikki and Marileen

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