SWEEPSOUTH LAUNCHES FUND TO HELP DOMESTIC WORKERS SURVIVE NATIONAL LOCKDOWN AND BEYOND
- At least R4 million per month will be needed to help SweepStars and their families cover the cost of basic essentials during lockdown and beyond when social distancing measures might continue to threaten their ability to work
- Corporates and the public can contribute to a fund to prevent vulnerable families from being unable to meet their basic needs during this difficult and unprecedented time
- The public can contribute to the fund via the official SweepSouth Thundafund Project in return for discounted offers by visiting the SweepSouth website.
- Contributions towards the fund can be made here: https://bit.ly/2UNLcrX
6 April 2020, CapeTown: SweepSouth, the online cleaning platform connecting domestic workers with employers, is launching a fund to help provide domestic workers with food and other basic essentials during the national lockdown which will see the service, and those SweepStars who use its platform for earnings opportunities, unable to operate until 17 April at least.
SweepSouth co-founder and CEO Aisha Pandor says at least R4 million a month will be needed to ensure that SweepStars and their families are able to eat and at least meet day-to-day living costs during a lockdown: “Like everyone else, domestic workers in South Africa rely on their income to put food on the table for them and their dependants. But of course, the cost of basic necessities such as electricity and other utility expenses all add up. Our research suggests that most domestic workers (over 70%) are single mothers, and that many (over 80%) are primary breadwinners. Our annual survey shows that domestic workers spend on average R1 100 on monthly groceries. If these workers aren’t paid during the lockdown, they face worsening poverty and mountaining debt. We simply cannot allow SweepStars and their children to be left to this fate.”
SweepSouth has seeded the fund which aims to provide food and necessities to active SweepStars and their families and is also negotiating with corporate backers to contribute. “We are stepping into the breach to help these vulnerable families in retaining their dignity during a testing time for the whole nation, and we appeal to both the public and corporate entities to support us in doing this,” Pandor added.
The launch of the fund has been aided by a R6,000,000 contribution from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, which invested in SweepSouth in 2019. The aim of the investment into SweepSouth was to promote better family economic stability in South Africa by backing an organisation providing broad access to work opportunities. This initial injection of funds will enable SweepStars to receive weekly financial support in the form of top-ups between R150 and R450 during the COVID-19 lockdown period. Building on this injection of funds, Pandor insists that SweepSouth’s ambitions extend significantly further, “our aim is to raise up to R12,000,000 in order to contribute to SweepStars’ living costs for a three-month period. Their financial difficulties will extend far beyond the 21-day lockdown, so it’s important to mitigate this as much as possible. We’re calling on all businesses and able individuals across South Africa to join us urgently in helping these domestic workers.”
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation aims to provide economic stability for South Africans living in underserved communities. Dean Villet, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation country director in South Africa, said the initiative couldn’t have come at a more vital time. “Having access to work opportunities with SweepSouth is imperative for the SweepStars to provide not only basic necessities for their families, but to continue toward the ultimate goal of achieving better education and opportunities for their children. The loss of income during this time will be detrimental, making SweepSouth’s fund critical to the communities we serve.”
Pandor says their platform is negotiating with retailers to secure bulk buying discounts on basic food staples to maximise the buying power of the funds they have available to them. “The issues run deeper than only being able to provide food for these families. We are also gravely concerned about the lack of clean running water and adequate hygiene infrastructure in some communities in which domestic workers live, further posing risk and increasing susceptibility to COVID-19, so it is incumbent on the wider community to support in any way that they can.”
The SweepSouth platform is geared to allow customers to continue contributing to domestic workers during lockdown. The response has been positive, with over 40% of customers choosing to continue to provide support to SweepStars. As a result, SweepSouth customers have contributed in excess of R100,000 so far. Pandor thanks SweepSouth customers for their generosity and calls on them, as well as all private employers of domestic workers, to continue helping to support those in our society who are the most economically vulnerable. “Any member of the public who is financially able to assist in keeping these families healthy and fed during this time of national crisis is asked to contribute to the fund via our app. Moreover, if you employ a domestic worker privately, please do your bit and continue to pay her/him during lockdown – you will have the gratitude of thousands.”
You are welcome find out more about The SweepSouth COVID-19 SweepStar fund here: https://bit.ly/2UNLcrX