Rays of Hope’s Ithemba Labantwana project, which works with orphaned and vulnerable children and their caregivers, and Rose-Act, a Saturday school for grade 4-9 learners, have defied the odds in continuing to provide care for some of Alexandra’s most vulnerable children and families.

Rays of Hope spoke to Bertha Muchadeyi, Programme Manager for Ithemba Labantwana and Bafana Mohale, the Head of Rose-Act Saturday School, to find out how these programmes have kept the well-being of the community at heart during the country’s tough lockdown conditions.

How has the lockdown affected operations at Ithemba Labantwana and Rose-Act?
The programme is strengthened by our ability to conduct home visits and build relationships, which can only happen when we interact face-to-face with families. However, we’ve lost touch with some families because physical family visits are no longer happening. We now interact with children and families over the phone. We’ve had to halt most of our activities
Bertha
The lockdown has affected Rose-Act’s ability to reach out to the learners and the community because the school has been forced to temporarily close its doors until normality has been restored throughout the country.
Bafana
How have the Rays of Hope programmes adapted to continue operating during the lockdown?
Ithemba Labantwana has continued printing and delivering educational material to all the children under its care during the lockdown. Worksheets, maths tables and reading material has been distributed to ensure the children’s minds are stimulated. We’re offering telephonic counselling and psychosocial support and the team of Auxiliary Social Workers, who are field workers, have maintained contact with families and children during this period.
Bertha
Rose-Act staff members have bridged the learning gap that’s been created as a result of the lockdown. The school introduced WhatsApp classes for the different grades, which we use to send out Mathematics and English worksheets on Mondays and Wednesdays. We’re currently on Week five of our lessons.
Bafana
What is Rays of Hope doing to assist the community during the lockdown?
We’re still playing our part to keep orphaned and vulnerable children and families in the community safe and well looked after during the lockdown. To do this, we’re distributing pamphlets, in various languages to community members detailing how the coronavirus is spread and safety measures that need to be introduced in homes. We’ve also identified ways to deliver schoolwork to the children every week to try and keep them at home and not out on the streets, and we are delivering food to children’s homes so that they have enough to eat.
Bertha
The #HopeForAlex campaign, run by Rays of Hope, has offered food parcels to our learners’ families, and thousands more in the community, to ensure they’re well-fed during the lockdown.
Bafana
How can people be a part of the positive change that Ithemba Labantwana and Rose-Act are making in the lives of the children and families of Alexandra?  
During this tough period, orphaned and vulnerable children in the community, as well as their families, are hit the hardest. Through people’s generous donations, we can buy food and sanitary products that we can then distribute across Alexandra to those who need them most.
Bertha
Given the limited resources available to learners who are confined to their homes until schools reopen – people can make a difference in the community by donating additional learning resources and material that learners can use while they are at home.
Bafana