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COVID-19 Relief Projects in Cape Town

Humanitarian photographer Anna Lusty documents nonprofit initiatives.


COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on South Africa. Not only is the virus spreading fast, particularly in township areas, the pandemic has also caused an economic crisis in communities that were already dealing with substandard living conditions and financial precarity. Food shortages are a vital emergency in urban townships and many impoverished rural communities around the city, and homelessness is on the rise. Humanitarian photographer Anna Lusty has been documenting the work of nonprofit initiatives that are offering vital relief work in these communities. Here are five of these projects.

-Images by Anna Lusty


Somerset West Family Shelter Project


The Somerset West Family Shelter located in the City of Cape Town is an organisation that provides temporary shelter, rehabilitation opportunities, social welfare services, family reunification services, physical care and support to adult people living on the streets. It is the only family-focused shelter in South Africa's Western Cape. But recently, given the adversities the pandemic had brought upon the communities, the organisation has newly created a shelter to offer a safe space and security to families that have become homeless during lockdown. Several renovations had been done, proper routines were developed which enabled a host of support services. This was and continues to be the first and only family shelter in the Western Cape. It is now providing vital services, including meals, clothing, counselling, and interim schooling for the children. Find out more or donate


The Clothing Bank Project 


The Clothing Bank is an organisation which tackles lack of education in poor neighbourhoods, unemployment and gender-based violence. Recently, they have initiated a disaster relief program which focuses on supplying food to people affected by the pandemic. They need to provide food parcels to over 1000 families facing severe lack of food. Communities have faced insufficient income due to Covid19 which in turn has left children and elderly with malnutrition. One parcel contains essentials such as rice, oil, peanut butter, pasta, peas, flour, tea, sugar, maize lentils, fish, peas, pasta, peas, flour, tea, sugar, maize and beans This will feed a family of four for a week. Find out more and support


Pebbles Project - Pebbles Kitchen


The main emphasis of the Pebbles Project is education. They aim to enrich the lives of disadvantaged children and families in the agricultural communities of the Western Cape. Based in the Winelands of South Africa's Western Cape, Pebbles Project is now providing meals and food packages to vulnerable children and communities during the COVID-19 crisis. Pebbles Project is also distributing masks. To find out more about their work, or to donate.


Genadendal Soup Kitchen Project (affiliated to Child Welfare)


This soup kitchen has been operating for close to 16 years in their community. In this area of the Western Cape, workers are needed only on a seasonal basis which leaves families with little or no income for months of the year. The soup kitchen strives to serve a hot meal every week day during these harsh circumstances. The meals are prepared and cooked by women of the community. The soup kitchen has become much more than a feeding mechanism and is very much part of the community story.


The Bizweni Centre for Children Project


The Bizweni Centre for Children with Disabilities in Somerset West, Cape Town, offers a safe environment for children with disabilities and work with the belief that every child, irrespective of their circumstances should have access to education and healthcare. This incredible school has been a massive support to the community. However, due to the lockdown, the children have been unable to go to the centre. This has put a huge strain on their families since most children are from underprivileged background. To overcome this situation and assist these families, the Bizweni team visiting the families each week to drop off food and educational packs. Contribute to the Bizweni team work here.


Through Anna Lusty’s photography one is able to see how these township communities are being affected by the Covid19 crisis, but it is also spreading word about the small NGOs who are making endless efforts to help their people. Now, more than ever, these organisations need our help and humanitarian photography is a powerful tool which can help these charities. Most of these organisations do not have ample funds to spread the word nor the capacity to help as many people as they want. Without this exposure through photography it becomes increasingly hard to reach out to sponsors. As a result, photography is a great way to document their initiatives. Furthermore sharing these on social media can gain more awareness and attract donations.


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