It started with a spreadsheet and collaboration between PeacePlayers South Africa’s Area Managers: Thobani Ngubane (uMlazi), Noluthando Msweli (Lamontville & Wentworth), and Sanele Zondi (Durban City). Once in-person programming was temporarily paused after the Republic of South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa announced the National lockdown, these Area Managers worked together to transition to virtual sessions while taking into account the needs of their community.
Knowing the challenges that local participants and coaches face to access technology and data, PeacePlayers South Africa’s Executive Director, Nasiphi Khafu notified coaching staff and participants that their phone accounts were loaded with 1 gigabyte of data and airtime for coaches to check in on participants. Before this point, only some coaches had the means to deliver weekly programming to the few participants who had access to phones and data. The steady increase of the cost of data has been an ongoing topic of discussion in South Africa. Some phone service providers have been accused of unfairly inflating these prices to their citizens. Despite these challenges, Nasiphi and her team have persevered to make cell phone data available to maintain connections between coaches and participants and she adds that: “we will be doing this weekly for as long as we have funds available.”
Alongside Area Managers, Coaches also searched far and wide to contact participants in order to collect data on who had access to phones, data, basketballs, and food. Participants and their families’ essential needs and access to food has been cut short due to so many losing sources of income as a result of COVID-19. Starting by assessing the needs of their participants through this outreach and connection, eventually the financial capacity to deliver on these needs were fulfilled due to generous donations from friends of PeacePlayers.
These times led our PeacePlayers South Africa team to get creative in pulling together supplies from their local office and through making purchases at community stores including Shoprite and SmartCall. With ShopRite being close in proximity to their office, they identify it as one of their favorite stores for essentials. The PeacePlayers South Africa team purchased 38 vouchers for food parcels for families in need. Each voucher provided enough support to feed a family of two adults, one teenager and one young child for up to two weeks. Even though most local participants come from homes with at least nine people living in a single confined space, this small contribution went a long way. In addition to food vouchers, PeacePlayers South Africa’s team worked with donors to secure mobile phone data for 150 youth participants through SmartCall which enables organizations to make one payment to mass deliver data to each phone number on a provided spreadsheet. With the tenacious hard work of the team and Coaches, along with the support of a few donors the delivery was made possible.
The deliveries didn’t stop there. Sifiso Mthembu, Head of Programmes spent time pumping up basketballs at the office prior to delivery day. On delivery day, so many participants were overwhelmed with joy and fulfillment to have PeacePlayers bring food vouchers and basketballs to their communities. Coach Sizwe Blose shared that he “received a lot of emotional calls from appreciative and happy parents that literally had no means of income and now have something to keep them going. “I’m more than happy to be a part of this organization and the impact it is having in our communities. A little goes a long way. I’m glad this was yet another reminder that we are doing something way bigger than ourselves.” Many fellow coaches such as Sinenhlanhla “Maud” Mthembu agreed that Sizwe spoke for them all in being thankful to be a part of such a humbling movement.
As PeacePlayers South Africa adjusts the way they deliver content to participants, their core values of inside out transformation, seeing people as people and culture of collaboration will be the guide to achieve those programmatic goals. PeacePlayers South Africa wants to continue giving hope to participants and their families who could be feeling helpless under these circumstances. Nasiphi feels that “it’s important they know we see them as people first and that their health and well being is our main priority.”
An overwhelming sense of pride and joy has come from these participants being able to purchase food for their family thanks to the generosity of their PeacePlayers South Africa family. PeacePlayers South Africa is glad to be a part of making their lives easier this month. PeacePlayers South Africa’s Leadership Development Programme participant, Lindani Mzobe even sent a picture of his groceries to show his gratitude.
PeacePlayers South Africa hopes to continue this giving to see smiles on more faces if funding permits. We encourage you to join in and support by visiting peaceplayers.networkforgood.com and by watching the highlight video from this day which details how your donation will be utilized at the conclusion of the video. Data for weekly virtual sessions and food vouchers for families in dire need are priority. Despite not being able to deliver vouchers to all families in need, PeacePlayers South Africa is glad they were able to support those who could be reached.
Isn’t it amazing what we can achieve together when looking out for each other? All with a little, yet powerful round ball. Thank you to all who made this possible!