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The rapidly changing landscape of South Africa’s economy, mindset and stability over the past 18 months, since the pandemic outbreak, and now the recent looting—has resulted in most focussing on survivability with very little room, if any, for charitable causes or organisations.
Now almost two years later, with community support at an all-time low, on the back of dwindling aid before 2020, Lions President Nicolette Baney explains they simply don’t know at this stage what is going to happen. “At the moment, we can’t get members, due to people not always having the time to get involved.” Additionally, as Newcastle Crisis Centre’s Mary Dobbie points out, the economy is also not helping the situation. “If the economy does not pick up, a lot of service providers, such as mine, will close.”
However, optimistic about the future, President of Majuba Rotary, Christo Brockmann, explains, “I think it is human nature to have an innate need to help others.” Due to this, Brockmann says that organisations, associations, and charities will continue building relationships and helping others once the current obstacles have been overcome. “I don’t think this will be a dead-end, as there is a need for organisations, associations and charities.”
Edwin Fouche of the Round Table states that while there was a bit of dip and uncertainty during the initial lockdown, the future still looks relatively good for Round Table and other organisations. “We have seen more involvement from the community, and I think this has opened people’s eyes to see there is a need for such organisations.”
Yet, due to the recent activity locally and nationally, it appears that these service providers do not receive the support they once did.
Explaining the device creating the issue, Nicolette Baney says one of the reasons for the decline in support is the inability to hold fund-raising initiatives. She highlights, “We still have people donating to our cause, but people generally prefer supporting events.”
This, she says, allows them to be more involved and know what is going on.
Some charities are in a better position than others, having larger pools to pull on. As pointed out by Christo Brockmann, while local support is not what it should be, the local Rotary branch is fortunate to still have the backing of Rotary International and a few die-hard supporters who believe in their cause.
Furthermore, Mary Dobbie counters by stating that the interest in supporting community-based organisations, charities, and associations has not dwindled. “I have always said the Newcastle community is amazing and supportive. Unfortunately, the necessary resources are just not available at the moment.”
Brockmann agrees, stating that people’s lives have simply changed and have less time. But, he assures the relevant associations are now looking at ways to up their game to guarantee that the community is educated on what they stand for and their functions. This, coupled with people getting involved, not necessarily monetary, but rather time, will see the said organisations progress.
Fouche responds that Round Table has actually noted more support from the community and business sectors and has attracted more members over the past few months. “People want to assist and get involved. People want to join organisations, associations, and charities, but they don’t know the necessary framework and where to begin.”
However, Baney feels there has been a decline in interest. She says, “People have become distrustful, because of certain people. But we will just keep swimming, as we know we help a lot of people.”
As these organisations find themselves still dedicated to their core mission, refusing to give up, what are your thoughts?
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