Jennifer Crossley’s heart is warmed with the knowledge that dozens of local families will have a solid meal to eat before bed each night as they face the economic devastation of COVID-19 that has led to an income crisis for most of South Africa’s families.
Crossley, founder of GROW Generations Educare in Kensington, Cape Town, is both humbled and delighted that the families of the 60 children who attend her crèche have benefitted from food parcels made possible by donors like Paxful.
An entrepreneur with a Grade R teaching background, Crossley founded the crèche with her life savings and built it up from humble beginnings to a highly respected institution with the support of GROW Educare Centres (GROW). Most of her pupils come from poverty-stricken and working-class families who rely on the creche for at least 2 meals a day. With schools closed and economic activity largely halted by COVID-19, many families are worried about putting food on the table.
“I understand the reasons for the lockdown. Unfortunately, the impact of the halt to the economy has been difficult for my community and many others to live through,” she said of the national lockdown. But it was her children and their families she was most worried about. Not long into the lockdown, she started receiving desperate messages from her pupils’ families who told her they were running short of money for food, electricity, and other necessities.
Bitcoin marketplace responds to a lockdown crisis
Help arrived at ECD Centres like Jennifer’s through the generosity of members of the public, businesses and an unlikely source – the bitcoin-economy. Passionate about the education sector and entrepreneurship, global bitcoin-marketplace Paxful jumped at the opportunity to donate food to GROW Centres and assist in shining a spotlight on the severe challenges faced by the ECD sector in South Africa as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Crossley is not alone. It is estimated that just over 2.7 million children access an ECD programme in South Africa – mainly serving the most vulnerable communities whose household incomes have been severely constrained by the crisis.
“When I heard that food had been donated, it was a miracle at the right moment. There was one Dad who told me the same morning that he had wondered what he was going to cook for his children and then I put on the group that grows has food parcels, and he was very thankful. This morning I saw him on the stoep outside and he said he still has food left,” Crossley said.
“I am very thankful for these generous donations that came just in time. It felt great that my school could be a part of this – making a difference – because every little bit helps,” she said.
Paxful’s #BuiltWithBitcoin charitable initiative has a long history of encouraging the bitcoin community to support charitable initiatives around the world. In the midst of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, Paxful is expanding the initiative with the launch of its Africa Fund, which aims to use bitcoin donations to support charities who are tackling the impact of the pandemic on underserved communities. Paxful is kicking off the Fund with an R270 000 donation, and matching any additional donations, up to R270 000, submitted to the Fund by members of the community in bitcoin.
“There has never been a more important time to support micro-enterprises and young children. Not only are ECD Centres vital in the educational, social and emotional development of children, but they are also key contributors to well-functioning communities. The crypto-currency sector is developing a track record of supporting worthy causes and we’re encouraging our peers and customers to support charities like GROW ECD on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19,” says Ray Youssef, CEO of Paxful.
Urgent action required for children in need
Still, in its inception phase, Paxful’s Africa Fund has already provided 8,400 meals across South Africa facilitated by GROW Educare Centres and its parent organization The Clothing Bank; 6,100 masks for frontline workers in Kenya; as well as essential items such as food, vitamin C, sanitizer, face masks, diapers, etc. issued to 1,000 underserved people in Nigeria.
“We are incredibly grateful for Paxful and our other donors’ contributions to our hunger relief efforts. The need for food is dire in all the most vulnerable communities across South Africa during these trying times. Many of the children who attend our Educare Centres are dependent on the nutritional meals provided to them daily at our Centres, and with schools closed, in some cases, children are going hungry. Paxful’s donation will have a positive impact on children in need, their families, and under-served communities at large,” says Tracey Chambers, CEO of GROW.
“Urgent action is needed, and our organization has acquired the necessary permits to utilize their facilities and capabilities to initiate fundraising and pack food parcels. Any contribution goes a long way as we need all the help that we can get to feed our communities and reach as many people as possible,” concludes Chambers.