The focus of the engagement was on supporting these youths to develop response strategies to the crisis. They undertook a mapping exercise where resources were identified in the form of sewing machines, seamstresses, printers, social workers, leaders, garden spaces, business mentors, local traders, people willing to cook, stoves, pots, available spaces and existing community kitchens. A fundraising campaign was established, food distribution systems set up and in the course of 4 weeks, the group “Vrygrond United 4 Change” was formed, and 10 new kitchens were up and running in an attempt to ensure everyone had access to at least one meal a day, relatively close to home.
The response to Covid-19 brought to light extraordinary individuals who pulled together, pooling skills, resources and time, to build relationship with each other and collectively respond to a very unknown circumstance. The complexity of navigating broken systems, in an incredibly unjust world, in the middle of a pandemic can be overwhelming, but we believe that if we can come together the way we did on the arrival of the pandemic, we can indeed make positive change that lasts long beyond Covid.
The youth leaders of this movement are in the process of transitioning from emergency response mode into long term resilience thinking. This has resulted in the formation of the Spaza Hub – with the vision of offering a safe and inspiring learning space for the community to support each other’s dreams and visions for a better future.