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Fatima Sookharia | 17 August 2021

If we are to make a lasting impact in closing the poverty gap in South Africa, we must begin to move people out of the food queues, sooner rather than later.

While there is a space and need for a strategy that involves people standing in lines for packets of staple needs, it is no sense of achievement if we see these lines getting longer and longer with each passing year. And the ability to continue raising funds to feed this growing need, is no achievement either.

The reality of this has never been starker than now as we begin to count the cost of the unrest that rocked South Africa just a month ago.

We must realise and accept that the combined humanitarian efforts of all NGO’s in South Africa could not deal with the explosion of basic needs as a result of the riots and violence.

Despite Salaam Foundation being a provider of direct food parcels through our farming projects, we must self critique, and in the process look at alternative ways of supporting communities in the long run.

In the short term perhaps the situation in KZN provides us with opportunity to practice on new models.

Teaming up with local NGO’s, we have taken the decision to assist in terms of business support instead of trying to fulfill the never-ending needs of people standing in food hamper queues.

Make no mistake, we are at the very forefront of understanding the need of the food hamper project, but let us be realistic. For how long can we sustain this? Will we be there next month, and the following month? Will we reach the neighbouring community?

Perhaps a mixed strategy of assisting destroyed businesses to restart while providing immediate hamper relief for a short period will result in the money spent turning into a greater return on investment. Multiplying the benefit of people’s money and rewards in the hereafter is what we seek to do.

It’s the longer route. It’s the tougher journey. It’s the proverbial less travelled road.

But you be the judge:

A million rand to re-establish 10 businesses that pays wages to 100 people who in turn support 800 to 1000 others and they then spend those same rands in other businesses resulting in an economic upliftment cycle versus 1000 hampers worth R1000 each that hardly reaches the end of the first month.

The moment is now. The #KZNunrest should force us to rethink how we as a sector are spending charitable funding.

In this light Salaam Foundation, partnering with Ummah Heart, has already funded 12 businesses in Stanger and Empangeni working with locally based organisation, SADICS.

You can still be a part of this sustainable ongoing business recovery plan


Azhar Vadi: 081 706 4622

Fatima Sookharia: 072 122 8400

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