The work of the PMB & District Community Chest is firstly informed by recognizing 4 key social issues that colour the South African socio-political landscape and secondly, by identifying critical community impact partners (CIPs), all of whom work at grassroots level within the community to add to the impact required to bring about social transformation for the better in our community.
The PMB & District Community Chest team are instrumental in galvanizing members of our community to give of their resources – both financial and in-kind, which the Community Chest then allocates on an annual basis to its CIPs (100% donated is 100% distributed!) which together with the CIPs own resource mobilisation efforts enables the CIPs to deliver their services to those in our community who are in need of such.
An added and critical element of the Community Chest’s work is to support the professional development other NPOs and CBOs within our community, thereby ensuring that over time, our NPO/CBO Sector offers only professional and high quality service to our community.
4 KEY SOCIAL INTERVENTIONS (as identified by the Community Chest)
Since the dawn of a democratic dispensation 1994, South Africa has taken great strides in political, economic and social transformation, leading us out of apartheid and into a constitutional and human-rights based democracy.
The challenges we face are many. The challenges are deep (often having generational impact) and wide (often affecting the overwhelming majority of our people). Likewise, the solutions are not always easy to find or implement nor is the impact always immediately felt.
Yet we all hold to the belief that a better world is possible and persevere in every way possible to make an impact and a positive difference in the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.
There are 4 key social issues we believe, that if addressed in both systemic and specific ways, can be levers by which meaningful social, economic and even political transformation can take place.
Sadly, for the most part, our public schooling system is failing us. In almost every dimension, from the curriculum, to the quality of teaching, to school management, parent involvement, to learner discipline, teenage pregnancy, academic performance, career guidance and preparation for citizenship, we are, for the most part failing our children and our country.
Long-term, systemic solutions point towards emphasising early childhood development (ECD) strategies; yet we also have to recognise that here and now we are faced with un- and under-qualified teachers; ECD care-givers who are often illiterate or semi-literate grannies or teenaged school drop-outs.
Our public health system cannot cope with the demands placed upon it. Unhealthy lifestyles, driven by economic poverty on the one hand or the over-consumption of non-nutritious fast-foods on the other, result in a nation that is undernourished. Colouring this backdrop are the on-going pandemics of HIV/AIDS and TB; the alarming prevalence of cancer and the as yet undermentioned scourge of diabetes.
Systemic solutions tie back to a better education system, to secure work opportunities and to safe communities in which to live, thereby enabling lifestyle changes that promote healthy living. Yet, in the here and now, toddlers attend day care centres on a hungry stomach. Eating a balanced diet is beyond the economic reach of most families and the cycle of poor nutrition leading to poor health is perpetuated.
3. STABLE INCOME-GENERATION
According to the Statistician General, poverty in South Africa since 2006 was on the decline, but sadly, since 2011, the trend is in reverse – from 53.2% in 2011 to 55.5% in 2015. The official unemployment rate stands at 27.7% (36.4% on an expanded definition) at the end of 2017, with the NEET (youth in the 15 to 24 age range who are Not in Employment, Education or Training) figure at 30%. This is alarming, if we believe that the youth are the key to building and sustaining a brighter future for South Africa.
Systemic solutions to establish stable income-generation opportunities for all lie in the realm of a restructuring of the economy; redefinitions of the concepts of work and mind shifts which put people before consumerism, consumption or profit. Here and now, to “hustle” and “make a quick buck”, sometimes even by illegal means, become attractive options in a game of survival. The NEETs must be given reasons to continue to hope for a better and brighter future before they succumb to numbing the pain of reality, through alcohol and drugs and a life of criminal activities in order to feed their needs, wants and unhealthy addictions.
As a community, the apartheid system left us divided, exploiting concepts of “race”, gender, social class, religion, etc to fuel it unholy lies. Even today, even though by law, it is a crime to discriminate one person from another on any of the above concepts, we still encounter examples of these, sadly even amongst our children who are the post-1994 generations.
Apartheid was rooted in an exploitative economic system and reinforced by unequal education and social benefits, so systemic solutions to rebuilding our community tie back to addressing the challenges within our education system and economic system. Here and now, we need to begin to consciously respect each other more; recognise that humanity is one; appreciate that “difference” is a good thing; practice more of the golden rule of loving God and loving your neighbour as yourself and reaching out to others to discover more of our oneness in the differences.