The Trevor Noah Foundation’s primary mandate is education; however, we cannot meaningfully engage with learning without addressing Food Security. Even if every child has access to education, hunger negatively impacts a child’s ability to learn, perform, and succeed.
In South Africa, food security is a growing concern due to the difficult socio-economic conditions faced by the country. Statistics show that at least 28.3% of the South African population is at risk of hunger. In 2019, food insecurity affected 1.7 million households across the country. COVID-19 has further increased the number of youth being left without their basic needs being met, as families lose their income and livelihoods.
Shortly after the launch of the Trevor Noah Foundation in 2018, we realised that the youth from our Khulani Schools Programme who live in Child Youth Care Centre’s (CYCC) in Johannesburg struggled with access to consistent proper nutrition. To provide relief, we partnered with Food Forward SA (FFSA) to ensure that children at the CYCCs don’t go to bed hungry.
FFSA provides surplus food stock from large retailers to beneficiary organisations, which in turn offer prepared meals to 255,000 individuals in centres across the country each month. Together, over the past two years, we have helped to provide food to CYCC learners and their families. The Trevor Noah Foundation also supports FoodForward SA’s R50 million COVID-19 Food Security Appeal in response to the food challenge that has been worsened by the pandemic. By contributing to their fund, we supported FFSA’s efforts to scale and provide food to even more vulnerable communities across the community.
For many learners, the school-based National School Nutrition Programme is the only meal they receive per day. Our Khulani Schools are based in low-income communities which suffer from high rates of poverty and unemployment. To ensure that address our learners’ urgent needs, we recently partnered with the Each 1 Feed 1 campaign in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Kolisi Foundation and others. The campaign has been a pioneer in creating food distribution networks to deliver food hampers to support vulnerable families for a minimum of three months.
The Khulani Schools Programme, in partnership with the Each 1 Feed 1 campaign, provides relief to vulnerable learners and their families at risk of food insecurity. Each parcel thoughtfully sustains a family of six people for three months by including critical hygiene, sanitary, and cleaning items in addition to healthy food.
The first Khulani School to receive these parcels was Willow Crescent Secondary in Eldorado Park. Families were overwhelmed with gratitude for the food relief, knowing it will help carry their needs during this challenging time.
The next school that received food parcels was Siyabonga Secondary School in Braamfischerville. Both parents and learners were emotional. One of the learners even said
“This food parcel was the best surprise. It is so big, I will need help to carry it home. I feel like a breadwinner!”
As we reflect on these challenging times, there is a silver lining. We’re reminded that school leadership and learners are resilient and remain hopeful despite the odds. We’re reminded of the spirit of ubuntu and the importance of taking care of our neighbour. If the Trevor Noah Foundation has contributed to the spirit of ubuntu and a sense of hope, then we are proud to do our part.