The Durban hub of the Global Shapers Community – an initiative of the World Economic Forum staffed by UKZN students, alumni and others – is spearheading a COVID-19 response campaign dubbed “ShapersCare” to distribute food and hygiene hampers to the most vulnerable within the eThekwini municipality during lockdown.

This initiative includes partners the Domino Foundation, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and the Disaster Management team of the eThekwini Municipality.

The initiative aims to deliver about a 100 000 food and hygiene hampers to augment the food supply of the vulnerable whose livelihoods have been badly affected by the lockdown.

Global Shapers have delivered food and hygiene hampers to folk in Umlazi, Ntuzuma, KwaMashu, Clermont and Durban Central with the content of each hamper deemed enough to feed four people in a household for about three weeks. Together with partners Global Shapers have handed out more than 4 000 hampers since the beginning of the lockdown.

Hampers include a 20-litre bucket branded with COVID-19 graphics and educational information in isiZulu, and then filled with basic hygiene and non-perishable food items, including bleach (750ml), four soap bars (175g), four toilet paper rolls, a box of tissues, maize (5kg), sugar, Instant Amabele Baby’s soft porridge, cooking oil, a bag of potatoes, and a bag of butternut.

Discussing what motivated the initiative, “ShapersCare”, the team lead of the initiative and UKZN student Mr Clement Agoni, said: ‘Not everyone can afford a three-course meal during the lockdown, especially when the restrictions have prevented many from working, so we decided to do something about the situation. We believe one of the ways to fight COVID-19 is to be each other’s keeper in these trying times. We cannot do it alone, so we are open for further partnerships and donations to enable us to extend a helping hand to many more who will be in need.’

Leading the health team of the Durban hub are current students and alumni of UKZN. They include Mr Clement Agoni who is a doctoral student in the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Miss Yanga Mdleleni, a PhD candidate in the School of Laboratory Medicine. Alumni include; Dr Cindy Sibusisiwe Nkosi and Dr Thandeka Maphumulo-Ngcobo of the UKZN Medical School.

Founded by the World Economic Forum in 2011, the Global Shapers Community (https://www.globalshapers.org/) is a network of young leaders working together to address local, regional and global challenges. With more than 9 686 members worldwide, the network has representatives at 423 city-based hubs in 150 countries around the world.

 In each city, Shapers create initiatives to meet the needs of their community whether responding to disasters, fighting climate change or combating poverty. The Durban Hub (https://www.globalshapers.org/hubs/durban-hub) is one of the many across the globe.

Words: Ndabaonline

Photographs: Supplied by Global Shapers Communications team