2020 has been challenging for South African’s at large. Last year saw a meteoric rise in societal pressures, of various nature, well documented in the media across the nation. This, in large part, is a direct result of the global COVID19 health pandemic that has affected and continues to affect South Africans and nations across the globe today. Amidst the chaos, however, there are moments of light- a true reflection of the South African spirit- that remind us of the power of community and collaboration within communities.
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
Siyakunakekela’s mission is to effect tangible change in South Africa in the areas of Health, Education, and Humanitarian Outreach. Founded by a collective of regular South African citizens who care, the organisation has committed to providing health and safety solutions for sanitation at schools and communities most in need. Built on the cornerstone of dignity, the organisation addresses societal crisis with 3 major pillars of solutions:
Gender based violence
1: Gender Based Violence
While gender-based violence is not something unique to South Africa, the problems the country faces with increased rates of reported cases and deaths as a result are something no one can ignore. Adding to this, is the well-known fact that most crimes against women are done by people they trust, people they know or people that are within their close circle. Siyakunakekela seeks to address this at a grassroots level with the intention of making a real and tangible change.
The organization seeks to ensure that local youth get the benefit of a good start to their lives through empowerment and education. This, all stemming from the premise that the problem cannot solely be solved by only teaching young females how to defend themselves, but in recognizing the real need of mentoring young boys to prevent or attend to the exhibition of violence against women and children. The two-pronged approach is believed to help raise a new generation that is empowered, educated and is more aware of deep-rooted problems.
The answer? Fempower- a collaborative effort made up of certified individuals including a self defence crew, mentors or ‘big brother/ big sisters. From grade 7 to matric, the boys complete 18 mentoring sessions with strong leaders to help them navigate through their teenage years in preparation to adulthood and contributing positively as members of society.
2. Feminine hygiene.
There is also an ongoing need to address the lack of menstrual hygiene products available freely to women and girls in impoverished communities. Among the issues being the fact that girls continue to experience menstrual cycles with little to no clean materials to manage the period in a dignified manner. Cultural stigma and contributions make this a burden young women and girls learn to live with- to their detriment.
Thousands of young girls are reported having to stay away from school as they do not have these basic products- not only disrupting their academic year, but negatively affecting self–esteem and confidence. Red Badge Courage provides for the sanitary requirements of women and children from orphanages, places of safety, hospital patients, community centres and schools. The pads, completely biodegradable, also assist in addressing the hygiene challenges faced by communities in need.
Statistics show that more than 11 million people in South Africa do not have access to improved sanitation, including informal settlements, rural areas, and schools. The continued use of pit latrines, bucket systems and septic tanks is an alarming reality, and still contributing toward thousands of people becoming ill, being hospitalized and in unfortunate cases others losing their lives. All avoidable when exposure to harmful bacteria is decreased or eliminated altogether.
To date there are 1.5 million + recorded cases of diarrhea largely as a result of the aforementioned challenge. Siyakunakekela has, with their innovation partner, created the Eco Friendly Digestor. The digester is a multi-strain blend of microorganisms, enzymes, and proprietary ingredients, designed as a cost-effective, ready-to-use product to treat wastewater, effluent, septic tanks, and sewage spills. The bacterial strains aid in the biodegradation of not only human waste, but also fat, starch, protein, and cellulose.
With a proven complete degradation of effluent all the way to carbon dioxide and water, it also reduces odours associated with septic systems and pit latrines with hours of application. Regular dosing keeps drain lines clear and free-flowing preventing negative impact on the physical function of the septic system and pit latrines. It is designed for use in portable toilets, septic tanks, pit latrines and cesspits. In addition, it can be used for sludge reduction, general waste treatment and odour control. Siyakunakekela is providing this solution for free to communities in need, starting in Diepsloot.
How to get involved in the movement
“We really believe that if we, the regular 99% all help just a little bit we will make a difference more than the privileged 1%. If every working person donated R25 per month we would be able to change South Africa for the better,” comments Business Development Manager Darren Langbein.
The Ubuntu-based model requires a monthly contribution of R25 per month. This is a guarantee that a young woman will not be subjected to the indignity of GBV, not affording sanitary solutions, or living amongst septic waste.
Visit http://www.siyakunakekela.africa to find out more information and get involved.