Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference

Good Shepherd Center in Madidi, South Africa, Serves COVID-19 Victims

Outreach by Sisters of Good Shepherd

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In different ways, people of goodwill have gone all out to extend a hand of charity to the needy of our society, especially during this time when COVID-19 has added another blow of poverty to many disadvantaged of our society.

Since the beginning of lockdown in South Africa, we have witnessed many charity works by different institutions, churches, faith-based organizations, and individual people, responding to the needs of the poor, mostly by distributing food parcels to them.

Some donors have been going the extra mile, by not only catering for food parcels but also catering for other basic necessities.

On the 19th May 2020, one of the impoverished communities in the North-Western Province of South Africa, Madidi Community, experienced a hand of charity from Good-Shepherd Learning Centre, which is run by Sisters of Good Shepherd.  Some members of the community received food parcels which were organized by Sr Colleen Simpson, the director, and the members of the founding pioneers of the center. Among the distributed items, other than food parcels, were sanitary towels and clothes.

According to Sr Colleen, the organized food parcels were meant to cover only 50 persons but hundreds of people joined in the queue for receiving food parcels. She said it was hard for her to return them empty-handed because of knowing their poverty. The center had to go the extra mile in making sure more people go back home with something in the hand.  Sr Colleen has worked with the community of Madidi since 1990.

Despite the number of people who received parcels more people from the community kept on coming to join the queue.  In the end many people had to be returned back home empty-handed. Sr Colleen Simpson promised that more food parcels will be organized soon for people who were returned back home with nothing.

The day was graced by the presence of representatives from the Government Social Development Department from Madibeng Municipality, who also helped in the distribution of parcels. South African Polices Services (SAPS) were also present to make sure safety precautions against COVID-19 are adhered to by gathered people.

Ms. Henrietta Poo, the Director of Social Development Department in the Madibeng Municipality said as the members of the department they appreciate very much the good work the Good Shepherd Centre has been doing to the impoverished people of Madidi.

Ms. Poo added that the center is the arm of the department in outreaching the people of Madidi and the surrounding areas. The gesture of distribution of food parcels means a lot to the people, especially during this time of COVID-19 misfortunes. When people have something to eat in the house they would stay home and help in curbing the spread of Coronavirus. She said since COVID-19 lockdown it is the first time that the outreach of such magnitude is organized for Madidi Community.

The Councillor of Madidi, Mr. Malatse, was also present to make sure that everything goes well.  He said more than 75% of the people of Madidi are relying on social grants for survival and it makes life in the area very hard.  He added that many people who succeed in the area do not prefer to stay in the area. They go and live in other better places. They only come back to the community during special occasions. This leaves community Madidi with the majority of poor people and children.

Article republished from the website of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference

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Paul Tatu

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