How your neighbours can help build a better future

Despite the heartache, loneliness, and sadness that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it, there have also been stories of love, hope and happiness. In fact, as ironic as it sounds, the pandemic has brought many people and communities closer together.

Helping heroes

As the pandemic sunk its teeth into South Africa, local heroes stepped up to the challenge 3.8 pob 다운로드. Sandra Tshisa, for example, worried about the children in her street going hungry, so started to cook for them from her own kitchen in Khayelitsha. From helping a handful of neighbours at the start of the pandemic in March, she was catering to over 60 children each day by the end of June.

Dumisani Sevias found himself in dire straits not able to feed himself or his family, so reached out on Facebook to appeal for help. A stranger stepped up to his plea, and with a full belly, Dumisani realised that he needed to return the favour to someone else. The feeling of being helped by a stranger encouraged him to act himself. He now works with the Diepsloot Community Action network which helps to feed and clothe community members.

Inspired by the kindness of strangers while suffering from breast cancer, Landy Yeatman became an active member in her community facilitating the distribution of clothes, food and emotional support to those in need. During lockdown Landy embarked on a massive maize drive, collecting more than half a ton of maize meal to distribute to the vulnerable.

Lockdown legends like these don’t have necessarily have fancy degrees or loads of money. What they do have is a belief in the strength of community, and the motivation to get out there and do something. This is a great example of how a small ripple of care can cause a massive wave of support.

Being a good neighbour

“Community” doesn’t only refer to your physical neighbours. It can refer to “neighbours” who share the same religion, job, ethnicity, or, an online group, such as a Facebook support group. Community can mean shared rights of access (a community park, for example), or it can mean a feeling of sharing and belonging, “sense of community”. At the very core of community though is people looking out for each other.

The support people give to others in their community is priceless and can often mean the difference between growth or hardship. So where do you start? Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

  1. Sharing your time, energy and skills to a local organisation is a great way to give back to your community. Choose a charity or organisation that means something to you and that you are passionate about. It doesn’t have to take up a huge chunk of your time – an hour a month is an hour that they did not have before.
  2. Donate blood. A single unit of blood can save up to 3 lives. Every single donation makes a difference in someone’s life. What greater gift could you give?
  3. Shop local – this invests in your community. Spending money locally supports the local economy and your neighbours — by keeping money in your neighbourhood, where it can be reinvested again through other shops and services. It’s a cycle that keeps on giving
  4. Adopt a Neighbour. Take time to meet your neighbours, find out what concerns and issues they are having, and even lend a hand when you can Whether it’s the widow who lives down the road, or the single mom of 3 next door, there are people close by who need help. You could help pick up something from the shop, or offer to take out the garbage. It doesn’t really matter what you do at all, as long as you show you care..
  5. Not only do you make a difference to the environment, but recycling helps create more employment opportunities for the local economy, both in the recycling industry and manufacturing
  6. Every community needs donations to support some activity, project, or fund. Find out what your community needs and where your donations can best be spent. There may even be a need for something that you already own but do not use.
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Pay it forward

The simple act of helping someone else can inspire others to do the same, and in this way, entire communities can be changed for good. What is more, giving to others without expectation of anything in return can improve your health. One study, for example, found that those who volunteered for two or more organisations had a 44% reduction in mortality over five years, even after accounting for factors like differences in health status. The main reason? Giving makes you feel happy. In this way it lowers stress and improves your resilience to it, meaning you’re more likely to want to keep on helping!